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At Fractl, a content marketing agency, I lead a team of researchers whose goal it is to conduct studies that will help us further refine our content production and promotions processes. Our research spans from data analysis of 2.6 billion social shares, to in-depth consumer surveys of thousands to people, to viral emotion heat mapping and beyond.

Over the last few years, we've executed close to 30 research projects that are redefining how the marketing industry gains brand awareness, earns consumer engagement, and increases organic search rankings. Our studies have been published on the Harvard Business Review, Inc, Marketing Land, The Next Web, Fast Company, and dozens of other reputable sites.

In an effort to inform and refine your 2016 marketing strategies, I've summarized XXX key takeaways that will help you achieve your goals in the new year. Fastrack to our marketing research white papers here, or dive into the individual takeaways below:

I. The Emotions That Make Marketing Campaigns Go Viral

In order to understand the best emotional drivers to use in the content we create, we looked at 50 of the top 100 images of the year from Imgur, as voted on Reddit - a community of 9.4 million content voters. We then plotted the most common and strongest emotions using Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotion.

1. The strength of the emotional impact was a great indicator for the popularity of the content on Reddit. The top four most popular posts on Reddit also had the top four highest aggregate emotionality scores - the sum of the emotional strength scores.

2. The top 10 emotions were: amusement, interest, surprise, happiness, delight, pleasure, joy, hope, affection and excitement.

3. The bottom 10 emotions were: anger, politeness, frustration, doubt, embarrassment, despair, hurt, guilt, contempt, shame

4. 98% of the images spurred a positive emotion, while only 2% were negative.

5. Contrasting emotions increased the emotional impact. In the cases where negative emotions were present, they seemed to directly contrast positive emotions, enhancing the emotionality of the image through contrast.

6. Empathy acts as an emotional multiplier for content that elicits negative emotions.

7. Interest, surprise, and amusement act as emotional multipliers for positive emotions.

8. Admiration was very commonly found in highly shared content.

II. Consumer Survey on Effectiveness of Outbound vs Inbound Marketing

Fractl conducted an online survey of more than 1,000 people. Participants were asked 13 questions regarding their opinions on and recent engagement with various marketing media and tactics.

9. Close to 90% of people said they used online search to seek out more information about a company, and over 80% said they visit the company's website.

10. A whopping 93.2% used online search to find information about a company within the last week, and almost 90% had read an article about a company.

11. 54% said mobile app ads have a negative influence on their buying decisions.

12. Close to 60% of the people we surveyed used some form of ad blockers while browsing the web.

13. 54% of people reported they had not clicked on any ads within a week of being surveyed.

14. 77% are more likely to buy your product or service after learning about it through online search.

15. 57% are positively influenced by online articles--47.4% are slightly more likely to buy something they hear about via online articles.

16. Email marketing was most likely to negatively impact buying decisions, with 44% of respondents slightly less likely to buy something they hear about via email marketing.

17. 48% of people said "Appearing in search results when I'm looking for something I need or want," is one of the most effective ways for a company to attract the consumer's business.

18. Direct mail positively impacts buying decisions for just over 30%.

III. Reach, Engagement, and ROI of Content Marketing vs Native Advertising

We surveyed over 30 different content marketing agencies and analyzed native advertising cost data from close to 600 digital publishers.

19. 72% of clients have asked their content marketing agencies about native advertising.

20. The average cost of launching a native advertising program with a top-tier news publisher is $54,014.29. The highest cost was $200,000.

21. When we expanded our analysis to include all publishers who have a DA greater than 80, we found the average cost of launching a native advertising program was $35,482.50.

22. When we evaluate all publishers and blogs below a DA of 80, we see the less valuable publishers (lower reach) offer a significantly reduced cost. For sites with a DA less than 80, the highest cost was $20,000 and the lowest cost was $10.

23. 70% of content marketing agencies offer monthly retainers.

24. 48% of clients measure content marketing success by the number of leads, high-quality links, and total social shares generated by each campaign.

25. 39% use DA to evaluate the authority of a link.

26. Retainers tend to fall into four buckets: $1,000-$5,000, $5,000-$10,000, $10,000-$50,000, and $50,000-$100,000.

27. On average, 65% of agencies produce between 1 and 10 campaigns per month for each client.

28. Articles and infographics represent almost 60% of production, with case studies, interactive graphics, and videos accounting for close to 30% of production.

29. Excluding outliers, the average content marketing campaign earns 27 links.

30. The average for each agency's "most successful campaign" is 422 links and the median is 150 links.

IV. 500 Top-Tier Publishers Tell How To Get Press

We surveyed over 500 top-tier writers from sites like TIME, Huffington Post, and cNet to discover what they want from content creators and promoters.

31. Only 5% of writers wish they saw more press releases.

32. 64% of writers wish they saw more infographics, mixed-media, data visualizations, images, videos and interactive maps.

33. 39% of writers want campaigns that have exclusive research.

34. 27% of writers want a campaign that has breaking news.

35. 15% of writers want to publish a campaign that has high-arousal emotions.

36. 70% of writers would rather collaborate on an idea instead of getting pitched a finished asset.

37. On average, 45% of writers publish one story per day.

38. 40% of writers get pitched 20 times per day, while 8% of publishers in highly competitive verticals get pitched more than 100 times per day.

39. 10 verticals receive more than 300 pitches per day, with lifestyle receiving the bulk of the pitches at 26.1%.

40. Lifestyle, entertainment and technology verticals combined attract more than 50% of all high-volume pitches.

41. Editors receive more than 68% of all pitches, 7x more than bloggers or writers.

42. Only 5% of writers "never" write a story based on something that was sent through a pitch.

43. 64% of writers think it's important that you establish a personal connection before sending a pitch.

44. 66% of writers said they'd be more likely to open a pitch if you indicated a previous relationship in your subject line.

45. 81% of writers prefer that you send your pitch via email.

46. Less than 10% of writers said they prefer to be pitched on social media.

47. Only 5% of writers want you to call them with your pitch, and most of these writers were small blog owners.

48. 69% of writers prefer to be pitched in the morning hours.

49. 88% of writers want your pitch to be less than 200 words.

50. More than 85% of writers want the campaign's raw data to be included in your pitch.

51. 85% of writers said they would delete your pitch based on a spelling/grammar errors, regardless of your campaign's quality.

52. 85% of writers open an email based on its subject line.

53. More than 50% of writers want a subject line that is descriptive, specific, and tailored to their beat.

54. Almost 100% of respondents told us they were against sensationalist tones such as "This is incredible!" or "You won't believe what we found!".

55. 75% of writers want your subject line to be fewer than 10 words.

56. 42% of writers want your subject line to define the content format and title of what you're pitching, "The Selfie Phenomenon [Parallax]".

57. 29% of writers say a personalized subject line catches their attention the most, "You Have a Beer Chine, We Have Cowbell - RE: Exclusive Study".

58. 19% of writers say a statistic-based subject line catches their attention the most, "Kylie Jenner posted 451 selfies to Instagram [Celebrity Selfie Study]".

59. Only 10% of writers want you to mention their name in their subject line, "Hi [Name], I thought you might like this].

60. 87% of writers agree you should send one or two follow-up emails at most.

V. What 2.6 Billion Shares Reveals the Platforms and Publishers Dominating Social

We partnered with BuzzSumo to analyze the 1 million most-shared articles within a six-month timeframe. Collectively, these articles generated more than 2.6 billion shares on five social platforms.

61. The top million articles showed that the most engaged platforms, in order, were: 1. Facebook 2. Twitter 3. Google+ 4. Pinterest 5. LinkedIn

62. Facebook dominated both network size and engagement, generating more than 2.18 billion shares of the articles in our study--81% of the total shares generated.

63. Using Alchemy API, we determined that Pinterest and LinkedIn's content had the most positive sentiment, Twitter and Google+ had the most even distribution of emotions, and Facebook was the most negative when you removed publisher outliers.

64. BuzzFeed represented more than 400 million total shares, earning nearly 150 million more shares than second-place publisher Huffington Post.

65. 88% of publishers earned less than 25 million shares for all their top articles in the first half of the year--less than 1/16th of BuzzFeed's share volume.

66. Mashable, Forbes, and The New York Times were among the five most-shared publishers on three different networks; BuzzFeed and CNN each earned top-five spots on two different networks. No other publishers earned enough shares to rank in the top five of more than one network.

67. Most publishers averaged less than 5,000 shares per article, but Upworthy and ViralNova garnered an average of more than 60,000 shares per article.

VI. How to Build a Content Strategy to Earn more Social Shares

We analyzed 220 high- and low-engagement websites from 11 major verticals that produce content.

68. Business publications see the most shares on Tuesday.

69. Food followers share the most on Mondays.

70. Health peaks on Friday for high-engagement publishers, but Tuesday for low-engagement publishers.

71. LinkedIn earned 21% of shares for high-engagement publications in the business vertical.

72. Twitter earned 11% of shares for high-engagement tech publications, and 20-34% of shares for low-engagement business, finance, tech, and entertainment publications.

73. Pinterest ranked second for a mix of high- and low-engagement publishers in health, lifestyle, food, and education.

VII. How Individual Identity Influences What We Share

To get an idea of how people view and construct their identity through sharing on social media, we surveyed more than 1,000 people about different aspects of their online sharing habits and motivations with regard to personal identity.

74. 68% of women expect 11 or more likes or comments on their Facebook posts, compared with 61% of men.

75. 84% of respondents said "relationships" and "being a good friend to those I care about" are important to them when considering what content they share online--more than 20% said these factors are "extremely important."

76. 63% of respondents ranked their personal values and moral standards as "very" or "extremely important" when they shared content online.

77. 68% of participants said they had posted on social media between 1-7 times in the past week.

78. 42% said 1-3 of their posts were articles or media from third-party online publishers.

79. Millennials ranked their dreams, imagination, and goals higher than their older counterparts.

80. 41% of men said social identity was at least somewhat important, compared with 37% of women.

81. Millennials and Generation X (ages 18-50) placed more importance on their physical appearance, while the oldest age groups (ages 51 and above) gave it very little importance.

82. Fewer than 35% said their possessions--the things they own--were important in their content sharing.

IX. The Inbound Marketing Economy

We analyzed 75,315 inbound marketing job listings posted on Indeed.com during June 2015.

83. The number of profiles containing "content marketing" has seen the largest growth, with a 168% increase since 2013.

84. "PPC" returned the smallest number of results, with only 3.8% of listings containing this term.

85. "Social media" appears on a significantly higher volume of profiles than the other keywords, with more than 2.2 million profiles containing some mention of social media.

86. Although "SEO" has not seen as much growth as the other keywords, it still has the second-highest volume with it appearing in 630,717 profiles.

87. Digital marketing job listings have seen substantial growth since 2009, when it accounted for less than 0.1% of Indeed.com search results. In January 2015, this number had climbed to nearly 0.3%.

88. Jobs containing "digital marketing" or "inbound marketing" had the highest average salary of $84,000.

89. Jobs containing "SEO" and "Google Analytics" are tied for second with $76,000 as the average salary.

90. Massachusetts led the U.S. with the most jobs per capita for digital marketing, content marketing, SEO, and Google Analytics.

Source : http://www.inc.com/kelsey-libert/90-research-backed-tips-to-fuel-your-2016-marketing-strategy.html

Categorized in Market Research

In this episode of Marketing Nerds, Danielle Antosz and Kelsey Jones of Search Engine Journal discuss different ways to find clients through referrals, platforms like Upwork, and prospecting through job boards. They discuss their own experiences through those channels and share what successful for them, including their favorite websites and tools for finding freelance clients and jobs.

Here are a few transcribed excerpts from their discussion, but make sure to listen to the podcast to hear everything:

Three Methods of Client Aquisition

One, obviously is the dream, is just all referrals, which makes life easy. Then the other two ways are through platforms, Upwork. The other way is prospecting. Looking on job boards, stuff like that.

Upwork and Elance are the kind of platforms where people post jobs. They can come hire you. You can create your profile. It’s really good when you’re starting out, especially if you looking for some of those lower paying jobs just to start. We’ve talked about this before, we don’t recommend doing that long-term.

To get the first couple of gigs, it’s an easy way to get started. Once you kind of build up your background, and whatnot, it doesn’t make sense to go for those low paying jobs that tend to be on those platforms. Keep in mind, when you set a ridiculously low rate, you’re affecting everyone else in the industry.

If you’re just starting out and you don’t even know where to start, or where to get clients, or what to even price yourselves, then platforms are a good way to get an idea of what you want to offer and how you want to charge. A lot of times you can look at what other people are charging for the same work you want to do.

Could a Freelancer Make 6 Figures on Freelancing Platforms?

Supposedly yes, it’s possible. Compare it to, say someone who runs an Etsy shop, versus someone who takes that and builds their own website, and sells that way. At some point, you’ve got to grow past platforms.

With freelancing, you’re always hustling, and getting that growth, because you don’t want to be stagnant. Platforms make that a lot easier, because there’s already people who are looking for jobs, and all you have to do is throw your name into the hat. It just makes it a lot easier until you get the hang of selling yourself.

There’s also the trust factor from both ends. You enter in your bank account information. The buyer enters in their credit card, you’re going to get to paid. You have somewhere to go if they try to screw you over. Again, when you’re starting out, that’s really important because those mistakes that you make with billing and choosing the wrong clients, those are really expensive mistakes. When you work on a platform, you don’t have to worry about that nearly as much.

Prospecting Clients

That’s like being more proactive. So instead of logging onto a dashboard and viewing available jobs and requests for quotes, it’s more like you either are cold calling people, or you’re finding positions and then sending an email proposal with an attached PDF and what your rates are.

It’s more independent and self-managed, and it takes a lot more work to find leads.

We had mentioned talking about some of the tricks for finding stuff on Craigslist. The best tip is to look at how it’s written. If it seems to good to be true, then it might be shady, or there might be something they haven’t told you.

Don’ t forget social media.

There’s a Facebook group called Social Media Jobs, and all kinds of people are posting jobs. Mostly social media, there’s been some copy writing. Look in your industry, like maybe programming jobs, and look for groups on Facebook. LinkedIn probably has some. That might be a hidden way to find leads.

Utilize hashtags on Twitter—especially if you do like #contentmarketing, #hiring. Sometimes those are the tags that they’ll use. Also, just make sure you’re following a bunch of different companies, because a lot of times they’ll post on places like that.

Getting Clients Through Referrals

For any freelancer, referrals are just the best thing ever. They’re pretty much gold. Generally, you don’t have to sell yourself and there’s already a little bit of built-in trust, both ways hopefully.

I think when people trust you, they are more willing to throw your name out there. Instead of becoming friends with someone just because you think they might refer you, really work on building up that relationship. Don’t come across as desperate, because people think that you’re trying to get something from them, and that’s not a good feeling.

Why You Shouldn’t Burn Bridges

If you’ve parted ways from your last employer, or even your employers before them, and you need work, it might worth, not just keeping that relationship open, but reaching out and being like “Hey, if you guys have any back work that needs to be filled, I’m available.”

Even if you guys want to go out completely on your own, if there’s ever a time where your old employer might need something, that is usually worth pursuing.

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/find-clients-freelancers-forum-8/166023/

Categorized in Market Research

I am not a trained marketer. Yet I've been the chief marketer and run major teams for major brands. At my last in-house role, I took a company from 45 million to 100 million users, and was on the executive team during its acquisition for nearly half a billion dollars.

As a result, I recently had the honor of being asked to give the commencement address at my alma mater. As I was thinking about the advice I would give to my younger self, I couldn’t help but think of the career advice I give over and over again to early-career leaders, entrepreneurs and executives, in marketing and otherwise.

I thought I’d share.

What makes me great as a marketer is that I am fixated on being a great leader. I used to be a Lone Ranger type. As I matured, I realized that as a marketing leader -- as a business leader, period -- you can’t do anything big without an on-fire, whip-smart team. So I study, then practice and practice and practice, everything about leading and inspiring brilliant people. I study and practice creating conditions conducive to their brains doing their best work, and creating cultures that attract the geniuses I work with. I urge you to do the same. And to read "Boundaries for Leaders."

Do not become one of those bitter marketers or “creatives” constantly railing against data and metrics. Don't fight the waves. Learn to surf. Beautiful, sensual, emotional stories without outcomes and data? That's called art. I love art. But that's not marketing. 

Learn about business. Study Lean Methodology and apply it to your content and marketing programs. Read "The Lean Startup." Get very conversant in data -- especially content performance data. Cut through the noise and figure out what few data points really matter in understanding how your programs are moving the business.

Learn how to interpret them to get insight into what makes your Customers do what they do. Then constantly tweak and align your marketing to your Customers and what they want. Not what they should want, or what you want them to want. What they actually want to have happen in their real lives. Seriously, read "The Lean Startup."

Exercise Buddhist detachment from your content, your programs, even tough work relationships. Do more of what works, what inspires, what transforms. When it's not working, fix it fast or stop doing it. Acknowledge, commemorate and keep it moving. Get those resources back and reinvest them into the programs, campaigns or people that bear fruit.

Learn how to make business cases. If you can't ever get the resources to do what you need to do, you will get frustrated and bitter and you won't get the results you want. I was a consultant for much of my career, and the skill of making the business case for everything I propose to do helped become a clear, thoughtful thinker and strategist. This served me exceedingly well as an executive and in my in-house roles. Learning how to sell in your work and how to get is a necessary part of being a great marketer. Read "The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals."

Learn about humanity. Behavior change. Why people do what they do. Study behavioral economics. Neuroplasticity. How people get stuck. How they get unstuck. How they stay unstuck. Read "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business." Read "Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength." Read "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness."

Become an expert on story and narrative. Literally study it, don't just use the word "story" all the time. Understand character, plot, conflict, climax. Take James Patterson's MasterClass on Writing. Read "The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories." 

Don't fixate on the channel. It's not about Instagram or Snapchat. Getting to product-market fit, getting people to care about what you do, that’s never about the channel. And, in fact, there will always be a new channel. If you understand human motivation, story and business strategy, you will be able to create products and content people care about, regardless of what the new digital channel of the day is.

Prioritize ruthlessly. Almost no one can work on three, really big, important priorities at a time. Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is almost always a signal to revisit and double-down on prioritization. This mostly means making hard decisions that you can’t do awesome things you would love to do, because that would distract or take resources away from The Actual Most Important Thing.

Don't work on products or for companies that you don't find interesting. And really, by that I mean work only for companies you believe are out to solve real, human-scale problems that would make the world work better for your customers, even if the product itself isn't quite there yet or if you aren't personally the target audience for the product. If I don't leave the first meeting with a company talking to my friends about how intriguing the product or the vision or the people are, I generally don't work on it. 

Don't work for people you don't find inspiring or don't think you can learn from. You don't necessarily have to like them. But you should believe working with them will expand your capacity for greatness and your skills.

On the other hand, don’t overrule gut misgivings about hiring people, either. You should be excited about learning from those who report to you, too. And don’t expect others to work with you unless you will help them grow, too.

Make it your goal to leave the people in your wake -- your employees, teammates, peers, bosses and especially your customers, better off than than they were when they came into contact with you. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. It can be as small as saying something encouraging at every opportunity. (Without blowing smoke.)

Study integrity. Decide to do whatever it takes to be a whole person with the capacity to face and handle the real facts of every situation. Read Henry Cloud’s "Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality."

If you work in marketing or product, understand your brief as a starting point in the conversation about what you should be working on. Don’t just accept a brief that doesn’t make sense (or isn’t appropriately resourced) from the start. In particular, push back if what you’ve been asked to do is not the thing that will actually solve the business issue. Don’t just push back, though, propose what will solve the issue and be able to explain your thinking as to why -- even if it’s never been done before.

Develop the practice of being still and thoughtful every day, for a moment. If you can journal or walk every day, that’s even better. Allow yourself to listen to that still, small voice that comes up all the time -- the more you honor it, the more it will whisper creativity, energy, wisdom and clear direction your way.

Occasionally, in times of transition, it will also whisper “I’m scared” or “I don’t know how to do this next thing” or “Wow I feel like an imposter in this situation.” Build the habit of interpreting that as a signal that you’re on the right track. 

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276228 

Categorized in Market Research

Success with content marketing goes well beyond research, writing, and publishing. Measuring the impact of your content marketing is the only way to know that what you’re doing is working.

A content strategy with clearly-defined goals is a must. Without well-defined goals, the content you’re producing is little more than noise – and it’s not going to satisfy the needs of your customers.

 While content goals are highly individualized, there are five goals that every content marketer should keep in mind when creating and publishing content.

1. Developing Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is one of the most common goals for content marketing – businesses want their audience to see the valuable content and follow it back to them.

And it plays a major role in building revenue: a report from Oracle and Aberdeen Group showed that 74% of CMOs list increasing brand awareness as a top priority.

That’s because quality, authoritative content showcases the expertise of your company, and leaves the audience asking, “Who made this?”

Content and KPIs for Brand Awareness
Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

Funny, entertaining, or engaging videos

Ebooks and webinars

Infographics

Data sheets and SlideShare decks about popular industry topics

Common KPIs for branding campaigns often target the views and social shares tied to content, as well as those that might come from partnership audiences.

Measuring Performance for Branding Goals

Brand awareness is one of the hardest goals to measure. There are a few ways you can begin pulling the data together to show campaign performance and (hopefully) growth.

Measure Growth Through Surveys

Surveys can be conducted in a number of ways: ask customers how they heard about you, or select a group of people familiar with your brand and ask a similar question. You can also select a random group and ask if they’re familiar with your brand.

Use Website Traffic

Analytics can provide insight into brand awareness, alongside specific content campaigns you’re running.

The “Direct” channel in Google Analytics will show you the number of people who arrived at your site by entering your URL directly into the address bar, used a bookmark, or used an email link that wasn’t tracked. 

The 5 Goals Every Content Marketer Needs to Have to Drive Massive ROI 

Search Volume Data

Reviewing the volume of branded searches for your company name using a tool like the Adwords Keyword Planner or running Google Trends against your name can help you see if search volume is increasing over time.

Be mindful that if you have a generic brand name, the data is going to be fairly skewed with irrelevant searches.

Set Up Listening Posts

Look into brand mentions across social channels, especially where you target the promotion of your content. It’s an opportunity to listen to unsolicited opinions, as opposed to dealing with response bias that can occur with surveys.

2. Driving Traffic to a Website

While brand awareness is a broader goal of content marketing, driving traffic is a goal centered on pushing traffic into the top-level cycle of your sales funnel.

You’re creating content with the intent to drive people to your site, nurture the relationship with valuable content, and warm the lead towards the end of the sales funnel.

Content and KPIs for Generating Traffic
Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

Social media content that links back to your website

Videos that push traffic to a relevant landing page

Blogs and articles with a call to action that moves readers to an opt-in or landing page

KPIs for this type of campaign are often based on the number of visits the content receives, the number of visits to the website or target page per month, time on site, and the conversion rates of the content.

Measuring Traffic Generation in Content Marketing

How you measure the traffic generated by your content marketing will vary a bit depending on where you place your content.

Off-site Articles and Blogs

For off-site content, it’s easiest to track referral traffic using the “Referrals” data provided in Google Analytics. Under “All Referrals,” you’ll be able to see the amount of traffic generated by specific pieces of content, as well as the landing pages where referral traffic is funneling in.

search engine journal 2

 This is a great way to see which topics and types of content generate more traffic so you can revise your strategy and trim out what’s not working.

 

Inbound Content Campaigns

Referrals from sources like email or webinars can be difficult to track – it’s what’s called “dark traffic.”

Here, you can utilize Google UTM parameters, which allow you to append any URL with data, including source, medium, content type, and the name of a campaign. That data is then fed into your analytics so the source can be easily identified.

 

3. Generating Sales Leads

A primary goal for most businesses is to have qualified leads come in as a result of content marketing. You want to convert that blog and website traffic into leads that you then begin to nurture as part of your sales cycle.

This is the stage in which potential leads fill out some kind of form to gain access to your content.

Content and KPIs for Generating Sales Leads
Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

Ebooks, case studies, and white papers

Solution demos

Tools and resources such as checklists, worksheets, or courses

The two KPIs that marketers focus on are the number of leads generated from individual pieces of content, and the conversion rates of landing pages.

Measuring Lead Generation in Content Marketing

Measuring the number of leads is as simple as counting the leads you acquire in your CRM or email platform and comparing it to your benchmark.

For the conversion rates, turn to your analytics. In Google Analytics, simply define the conversion goal:

Go to your Google Analytics standard reports
Click on the “Admin” button
Click on “Goals”
From one of the “Goal” sets, click “+Goal”
The focus here is the “Event” goal. Event tracking is a powerful way to identify specific actions on your site, particularly for conversions around downloads, video views, or buttons for opt-ins. Analytics allows you to use these events as conversion goals. 

  

Events are a little more complex to set up because you have to identify the specific event you want to track – that requires a little bit of JavaScript within the element you’re tracking.

Google provides a complete walk-through on setting up Event Goals.

By tracking your conversion rate by goals, along with the number of actual leads acquired, you can tweak different aspects of your content so that you’re losing less traffic and improving that conversion rate over the life of your campaign.

4. Converting Leads into Customers

This is a goal that relies heavily on the quality of your content marketing. The content you create has brought the lead in, and now your continued efforts turn toward generating revenue from the lead in your database.

You’re nurturing that lead in hopes of closing the deal and making a sale.

Content and KPIs for Lead Conversion
Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

Case studies

Trials and demonstration videos

Eye-catching ads as part of retargeting campaigns

Infographics

Value-driven content that positions solutions to match the issues of the lead

Typical KPIs at this stage are the lead-to-conversion rate for each specific content campaign or piece of content being delivered, along with the average time to close new customers.

Measuring Lead Conversion in Content Marketing

With a content-focused sales funnel, track conversions in the same manner as the lead generation step above. Content should pull the lead to highly-targeted landing pages or encourage a phone call to sign up with a unique number that can be tracked.

Using the same “Event” goal tracking above – in comparison to when a lead enters that final conversion stage – you’ll know the percentage of converting leads.

When tied into a CRM for lead and customer management, you’ll be able to accurately track the amount of time it takes to make the lead-to-customer conversion.

5. Improving Retention and Driving Upsells

Once the customer is yours, the content marketing shouldn’t end. This is the stage where you’re creating custom content specific to your existing customers in order to reduce churn, nurture relationships and keep them coming back for more.

Content and KPIs for Customer Retention

Examples of relevant content for this goal include:

Blog posts on industry trends

Exclusive offers and deals sent via email list segments

Free, exclusive content for customers

Video tutorials for new product launches

KPIs can vary at this stage, depending on the content, customer retention rates, revenue growth from upsells, and percentage of repeat customers.

Measuring Retention and Upsells in Content Marketing

With retention, the measurement of the goal will vary based on the offers and type of content you put out.

For example:

Use UTM parameters and unique tracking URLs for email offers and retargeting ads
Create unique coupon codes for exclusive offers that go out in specific pieces of content
Create unique event goals for products and promotions targeting existing customers to track conversions
Review traffic data and social shares for video and blog content in relation to conversion rates of targeted landing pages 

search engine journal 4

 Putting the idea of metrics aside for a moment, the ultimate goal of your content marketing strategy should be to delight your customers.

It’s nice to track everything by the numbers, but believe it or not, the metrics will follow if you focus on the customer.

When customers are happy with what you provide, especially your communication efforts via content, it becomes much easier to drive loyalty and improve your revenue. 

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/the-5-goals-every-content-marketer-needs-to-have-to-drive-massive-roi/164607/

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to getting major influencers to help with your marketing efforts, you can be embarking down a treacherous path. While it’s crucial to on-board folks who have a lot of sway with your market, you have to be careful not to rub them the wrong way.

In some cases, it can be just as easy to either get ignored by the influencers altogether, or goad them into giving you the wrong kind of marketing. With that in mind, here are four do’s and four don’t’s to pay attention to when you are trying to get influencers to help market your product.

1. Do choose your influencers wisely.

First, and probably most importantly, is to choose the right influencers to reach out to. You want to make sure their following is actually part of your market. That way, your message gets conveyed to people who will actually have an interest in what you’re promoting.

For example, in 2010 when author Shel Horowitz published his 10th book, "Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green," he quickly identified that the appropriate influencers for his market would be newsletter publishers, bloggers, best-selling authors and the like. He reached out to these influencers, and saw tremendous results from the campaign.

Based on a Google search showing 1,070,000 responses for an exact-match search for the book title, I estimate that at least 5,000,000 people were exposed to the campaign (that would be a very low average of five people seeing each page).

Also, remember that bigger isn’t always better. Victor Ricci of Trend Pie says that “targeting the big name social celebrities is nice but doesn’t always have the best results. When looking to get the lowest CPI, engagement is much more important than follower count.”

2. Do amplify influencer messages.

Influencers are often under tremendous pressure to drive traffic to their message, so anything you can do to help them do that will be noticed and greatly appreciated. You should find an influencer you greatly admire, and start amplifying their content by sharing it on your own social media networks. Be sure to tag the influencer so he or she knows what you’re doing.

Digital marketing entrepreneur Spencer X. Smith found out just how powerful this courtship could be when he began sharing articles by Cheryl Conner of Forbes. He would share her stories on LinkedIn and Twitter, always providing his own thoughts about the piece and how his audience might use it. As a result of his efforts, Conner actually contacted Smith to be the subject of a feature article at Forbes.

3. Do offer influencers something to entice them.

Sometimes, just building the relationship might not be enough. Many influencers need something a bit more tangible than just you sharing their message, so you need to entice them. This could take the form of a charitable donation in the influencer’s name or something more along the lines of helping the influencer get even more exposure.

For example, Cloudways struggled at first to get influencers to promote its new cloud hosting management platform. They pitched a list of influencers one at a time, and were either ignored or told they were being too pushy. While part of this might be a lack of relationship-building first, what finally worked for Cloudways tells “the rest of the story.”

Cloudways reached out to influencers again, this time inviting them to be interviewed for the company’s blog. This got the attention of several influencers, especially mid-level ones and the response was strong enough that Cloudways has published more than 120 interviews and has created a community that loves the company’s product and talks about it often.

4. Do use an evangelical approach.

Remember who you’re approaching. Top influencers respond to a different kind of value propositions than regular users. While regular users respond to quantitative value propositions like “cheaper,” “smaller,” or “faster,” top influencers are more interested in qualitative value propositions. This is where you’ll use words like “revolutionary,” “breakthrough,” and “game-changing.” Influencers want to be involved in exciting ventures, so you need to attract their attention with engaging text.

Rick Carlile, the founder of Aegora.com, the Professional Marketplace, used a very evangelical approach in trying to attract influencers to come on board. As a result of his influencer marketing campaign, Aegora.com was able to attract around 500 high-quality signups to the site, a tremendous number in a highly competitive niche.

5. Don’t spam influencers with follow ups.

Yes, you should follow up with your influencer, but don’t be obnoxious about it. This means having a bit of patience, since most influencers are very busy people and may not have an opportunity to reply to your email in just a day or two. If you don’t hear back from the influencer within a week, then it’s probably safe to send a follow up email.

Adarsh Thampy, CEO of LeadFerry, points out that you have to walk a fine line between persistence and pushiness. Thampy suggests you should send no more than two follow ups, with at least a week’s gap in between, to maximize your chances of success. Remember, though, not to be pushy:

It goes without saying. But influencers are humans too. Do you feel like doing something if someone you barely know acts pushy? No. When you face resistance, let it go.

6. Don’t forget to build influencer relationships.

Remember our suggestion in the do’s section about courting your influencer? This is crucial, because it builds a relationship with them before you even think about asking them for help. Failing to build that relationship first will mean you come across as being spammy and pushy.

Chris Boulas, the founder and president of digital marketing firm Formulytic, has built businesses from $5 million to more than $30 million in revenue, largely on the back of influencer marketing. Boulas points out how you can go about developing a relationship first:

Business is about give and take, so don’t approach influencers with a take-only mindset. Be ready to provide value in return. Do you have a skill, idea or feedback on an influencer’s business? Apply your skill or share your ideas for free and provide value upfront first. 

7. Don’t forget to set influencer guidelines.

How does your influencer reach out to his or her following? Through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or some other medium? Make sure you have specific guidelines in place for how you should be promoted and especially tagged, to generate the maximum exposure possible.

For example, Lindsay White of Lot801 Marketing points out that Instagram has recently made it possible to tag images. As a result of that, many influencers are only tagging people in the images when they are working with brands. This is a major problem, White points out:

"No one taps on the photo anymore to see who they tagged. But, they will read the captions. If your influencers aren’t tagging you in the caption, you’re missing out on some serious sales and social media followers. Since we’ve made this a requirement when working with any influencers, our sales are about 30 percent higher than if they didn’t tag us in both the caption and photo… along with an increase of about 50 percent in sales."

8. Don’t rely solely on the influencer for buzz.

Marketing almost has to take a multi pronged approach, so make sure you don’t get tunnel vision. You cannot rely just on the influencer to generate the buzz that will make your campaign successful. Consider the influencer just a piece of the puzzle, albeit a possibly big piece.

Marc Nashaat, of Powered by Search, stresses the importance of this multifaceted approach. He points out that at the same time you are building your influencer network, you should also be identifying the people or publications that cover your campaign topic or the engagements of your influencer. Do outreach to them to help “seed” your influencer-based marketing campaign.

Run a great influencer marketing campaign.

With these tips under your belt, you should be able to successfully attract the right influencers to help you with your marketing efforts. Just remember to be yourself, and follow the advice of folks who have been doing influencer marketing with great success for many years. 

Source:   https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/275923

 

Increased use of social media and online marketing techniques gives companies a chance to engage with their customers, and brands are quickly catching on to the practice of reputation marketing. The potential downside is that this kind of interaction means customers are also free to publish reviews, complaints and comments that may negatively affect your brand.

 

This is where reputation marketing comes into play. Last year at Pubcon search conference, I ran into Shai Aharony from Reboot Online that summed it up well when he said "reputation marketing tools allow you to analyze, track, monitor and engage online activity, giving you the power to directly respond to customer complaints and turn potentially damaging feedback into a positive experience."

In order to best manage your brand’s online reputation and make customer engagement a part of your marketing strategy, your team needs to have the very best tools at your disposal.

I’ve identified the top 10 tools for reputation marketing that I've used in the past so you can see a real impact as you invest more in your brand’s reputation:

1. ConsumerAffairs

With over 5,000 listed brands and more than a million consumer reviews, ConsumerAffairs offers brands some of the most diverse and advanced features to build a strong online reputation and generate increased revenue. The consumer advocacy group’s website offers free and unpaid business plans and their third-party accreditation program coupled with a powerful software as a service (SaaS) platform offers brands a variety of resources to convert customer engagement into additional revenue.

2. BazaarVoice

Best for larger companies with deeper budgets, BazaarVoice was created to extend the online marketing potential of customers’ voices to shopping portals, offline channels and natural search. Customers are able to leave reviews, ratings, questions, answers and other customer-generated content on client websites, which BazaarVoice then shares on social media and across the internet.

3. Better Business Bureau

Founded in 1912, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is the elder statesman of consumer reviews. The non-profit group serves as an intermediary to help resolve disputes between customers and brands, and with reviews for over 4 million companies, the BBB website is one of the most popular and trusted consumer resources available. Ideal for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to personally interact with their customers, the BBB offers a variety of networking opportunities at a convenient price.

4. Yotpo

Yotpo is a powerful plug-and-play solution for ecommerce with a sleek, mobile-first design. Customers who make purchases on sites using Yotpo receive an email after their purchase asking them to review the product(s) they received. This Mail After Purchase (MAP) technique leads to more reviews, and since the requests go directly to the consumer, all of the reviews are automatically verified.

5. Cision

Unlike the previous tools that focus primarily on consumer reviews and feedback, Cision is a powerful public relations resource that gives brands the tools they need to get their message out. With more than 1.6 million contacts and outlets, Cision provides the perfect opportunity to connect your brand with crucial journalists, bloggers and social influencers who might otherwise be inaccessible.

6. Percolate

Managing all of your brand’s marketing efforts in one place is easy with software from Percolate, whether it’s planning campaigns, storing files, collaborating or content creation. The planner takes into account all your details, such as your target audience, brand identity guidelines and business objectives. Percolate provides a cross channel marketing calendar that helps you plan accordingly and is designed to make it easy to share content with consumers across social media, the Web and other traditional methods.

7. Reputation Loop

Designed to empower small business owners and allow them to expand their businesses, Reputation Loop is similar to Yotpo in that it works primarily by automatically contacting recent customers for reviews. But additional features like real-time reporting and review monitoring on sites like Yelp and Google+ provide valuable tools for brand managers.

8. TinyTorch

A social platform that helps brands build their online profile through social influencers and user-generated content (UGC), TinyTorch allows brands identify, monitor and manage their online presence. This platform helps find your best, most influential customers and cultivates their stories and photos to redistribute across multiple marketing channels.

9. HootSuite

HootSuite is a social media management platform that allows brands to monitor and sync all of their social media accounts in one simple interface. With support for popular networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more, HootSuite makes it easy to share content across multiple accounts and schedule posts in advance for blanketed marketing. From a reputation management standpoint, brands can use HootSuite to monitor customer feedback posted to their social media accounts and share positive reviews and comments across multiple social media networks simultaneously.

10. TrustPilot

Like other third-party review websites, TrustPilot allows users to leave reviews for businesses on its website, while offering both free and paid listings for brands. More than 100,000 companies are listed and more than 13 million reviews are currently available -- with more than 500,000 added each month. With its simple, easily navigated site and a basic assortment of analytics and engagement tools, TrustPilot is a good pick for businesses seeking simpler options.

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/277197

 

Different retailers have different priorities when it comes to their marketing budgets, but the most valuable brands – Amazon and Apple – are banking on search.

We all know Amazon is the undisputed king of ecommerce. From November 2014 to November 2015, the company raked in more than $71 billion in online sales, which is more than Walmart, Apple, Macy’s, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Costco, Target, Gap Inc., Williams-Sonoma, Sears and Kohl’s sold. Combined.

What is Amazon doing that the others aren’t?

According to Fractl, a Florida-based content marketing agency which analyzed the marketing spend of these massive retailers, search gets the lion’s share of Amazon’s budget. During that year period, the ecommerce giant spent $8 million on TV and radio, a number that sounds very high in isolation. However, Amazon spent $54 million on print and $1.35 billion on search.

 

Among the other retailers, only Apple – called the most valuable brand in the world last year – and Etsy prioritize search to such a degree. Apple spent far more on TV and outdoor advertising than Amazon, though search still made up 86 percent of its spend. Search was an even higher percentage for Etsy: 91 percent, with 1.39 million going to search and $90,000 to other digital channels.

The Etsy finding was the most interesting to Lillian Podlog, project manager at Fractl, who noted that Etsy doesn’t have the same juggernaut status as Apple and Amazon.

“With Amazon and Apple, you can ask what came first, their success or where they put their marketing dollars. Maybe at this point, they can do anything, but Etsy has the same tactic and if you look at organic search rankings, it’s doing really well,” she says.

Etsy saw among the highest ROI in the study. For every $1 spent on marketing, the online marketplace saw $1,600 in sales. Additionally, Etsy, along with Apple and Amazon, had a disproportionately high SEMrush rankings compared with the others, which means they saw higher organic traffic.

That’s a common correlation among the brands analyzed by Fractl. Most of those with larger search spends have higher SEMrush rankings.

“So many people use ad blockers, so many people have blindness to display ads. Investing in search, whether its paid or building your SEO, requires you to really think about what kind of content you’re putting on the Internet that would appeal to users and boost your SEO,” says Podlog. “It requires you to be more thoughtful and considerate about what the customer really wants.”

Among the only exceptions to that rule are Williams-Sonoma and The Home Depot. Digital makes up 51 percent of sales – and 57 percent of the marketing budget – for the former. Nearly a quarter of that budget goes to search, but Williams-Sonoma still doesn’t rank particularly high. On the other hand, The Home Depot does, despite only spending 11 percent on search, instead prioritizing TV and radio. 

homedepot-spend

Where do some of the other major players put their money?

Best Buy puts the majority of its dollars in TV and digital, favoring network channels and display advertising over cable and search.

Costco, on the other hand, largely eschews TV. Instead, the warehouse retailer allocates 57 percent of its marketing dollars to display and nearly all the rest to magazines and newspapers.
Macy’s is another one with a heavy print focus. The brand spends $16 million on display and $32 million on search, which sounds like a lot of money, but is just a drop in the bucket by comparison. Macy’s spends 5.5 times as much on TV and more than 8 times as much on print. 

macys-spend“Macy’s is one of those companies that has an established name and an established consumer base, but if it wants to take some of Amazon’s chunk of online retail, it has to invest more in those other channels,” says Podlog. “Macy’s has been around for so long, but I personally think that unless it changes the shape of its spending, it’s going to suffer.”

Nordstrom’s priority is similarly on print – $27 million on magazines, compared with $6 million on search, $4 million on display, $5 million on TV and $2 million on outdoor – but the strategy is a bit different from that of Macy’s. While Macy’s spends most of its money on newspapers, Nordstrom goes for magazines, a medium that meshes better with the brand’s luxury focus.

Netflix, despite being heralded as one of the premier digital disruptors, doesn’t spend nearly as much money on digital advertising as one would assume. The streaming giant spends $1 million each on display and online video, and $17 million on TV with a particularly heavy focus on network. It makes to sense to Podlog, who points out that “people are watching TV, they’re not on Netflix.”

Target’s marketing budget is probably the most balanced. The retailer spends 46 on TV, 22 on print and 28 percent on digital. The majority of that digital spend is allocated to search, but $23 million is still set aside for online video. 

Source:  https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/06/06/where-do-the-biggest-brands-spend-their-marketing-dollars/ 

SEO is a long-term strategy

 

You have to work hard to develop a body of highly optimized content for readers, and then you have to make efforts off-site to prove the relevance and authority of your website to search engines.

 

For the impatient marketer just starting out with their SEO strategy, the task can seem less than worthwhile. If this sounds familiar – and you need some quick SEO wins – this blog post is for you.

 

Here’s an eight-step SEO game plan for impatient marketers.

 

Step 1: Make Sure You’re Optimized for Mobile
First things first:

 

Is your site mobile-compatible? If not, this is one of your most important SEO tasks.

If you’re not sure, you can check right now using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test:

 

Mobile Friendly Test Website Screenshot

 

 

 

Just enter your URL and Google will tell you in seconds.

 

Optimizing for mobile is a really important step to get quick gains in SEO. For one, people in the US are now spending 61% of their time online using a mobile device. If someone accesses your site through mobile, and it’s not optimized, they’re much more likely to bounce, which is going to affect your results in SERPs.

 

And have you heard of Mobilegeddon? This is what marketers are calling Google’s April 2015 ranking algorithm update – one that was designed to boost the rank of mobile-friendly pages in search.

 

Step 2: Create a Site Map


If you’re already mobile-compatible, then the next step is making sure you have a sitemap.

A sitemap gives search engines detailed information about what pages are on your website, which will make it easier for them to crawl it. You can create one using XML Sitemaps for free (up to 500 pages).

 

XML Website Screenshot

 

 

 

If you use WordPress, there are simple plugins you can use to build a sitemap, such as Yoast. Otherwise, take your XML Sitemap and upload it to the root file of your site like this: /sitemap.xml.

 

Step 3: Get Set up With Search Console


If you haven’t already, you should sign up for Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, and verify your website.

 

Then you can submit your sitemap to each search engine. Here are the instructions for Google, and here are the ones for Bing.

 

On Search Console, just go to your dashboard, click ‘Crawl’ on the side navigation, then ‘Sitemaps.’ You’ll then see the option to ‘Add/Test Sitemap.’

 

Google Search Console Screenshot

 

 

 

Then just follow the prompts to get it set up.

 

Step 4: Check Your Site Speed


Now that you’re on Webmaster Tools, it’s really easy to check your site speed. In Google Analytics, click the “Reporting” tab in the top navigation.

 

Then, in the side toolbar, click Behavior > Site Speed > Overview to see your data.

 

Site Speed Menu Screenshot

 

 

 

Site speed is an important rank factor for SERPs, and it affects your bounce rate. People are impatient – the slower your website loads, the more likely they are to leave. In fact, 47% of consumers expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less.

 

Site speed also has an impact on your conversions—a 1-second loading delay can cause up to a 7% loss in conversions. This means you should do everything you can to make sure your website runs as fast as possible.

 

Google offers its own speed suggestions in the Site Speed drop-down menu. You can also look into different site speed fixes based on your platform (WordPress, Weebly, etc.). Here are some other common ways your content or setup can slow down your site speed.

 

 

Step 5: Make Sure Google is Crawling Your Website Properly


It’s important to make sure that Google is crawling your site properly – if it’s not, your content might not appear in search results at all.

 

If you’ve already submitted your sitemap to Search Console, check their Crawl Errors Report to see if they had problems crawling any of your pages. You should check back with this often as your website grows.

 

If you don’t already have one, create a robots.txt file in Google Analytics. If you have one already, check and make sure it’s not blocking any important URLs.

 

There are also many external tools to help you crawl your website, including:

Screaming Frog
SEO Chat
Webmaster World


Step 6: Check for Missing and Duplicate Data


Next, you should run your own crawler to identify any missing or duplicate data. Most of the crawling tools out there are paid, but Screaming Frog will give you a free trial for up to 500 URLs.

 

Here’s what you should be looking out for:

 

Missing ALT tags
Missing (or duplicate) meta descriptions
Missing (or duplicate) H1 and H2 tags
Duplicate pages
404 errors


Use this information to go back through and fill in any gaps in your website’s data.

Google doesn’t like websites with duplicate content, so it’s important to either block duplicate pages with your robots.txt file, or make the content unique.

 

Step 7: Start Optimizing for Local Search


Google is increasingly favoring locally optimized results for SERPs.

For example, if I search for “phone accessories,” Google doesn’t show me online retailers:

 

Google Search Screenshot for Cell Phone Accessories

 

 

 

Google used my IP address to highlight phone accessory options near me, before the first organic result.

So if you want some quick SEO wins, focus on local.

 

First, add your business to Google My Business. Add your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) and make sure the information is accurate.

 

Google compares your My Business NAP to your other NAP listings around the web. If there are discrepancies, it will affect your rank.

 

Next, you should go to the other popular search data providers and make sure your NAP is available for Google to find. Check Yelp, Bing, Yellow Pages, and other listings relevant to your industry.

 

You need to make sure your NAP is correct everywhere it appears. Moz Local can help you find your other listings using just your business name and zip code:

 

Moz Local Screenshot

 

 

 

For incorrect NAPs, either update it yourself or contact the website to tell them the information is wrong.

 

Step 8: Look for Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities


At this point, you’ve sorted out most of the technical issues that can really affect your SEO. Now, you have no choice but to move on to keyword optimization.

 

Still, there are some ways to get quick wins when trying to rank for keywords. The best one is looking for long-tail keywords.

 

Ranking for the most popular keywords in your industry can take years – or it could never happen at all – but if you find the right long-tail keywords to optimize for, you can shoot to the top of rankings.

 

According to Moz, a huge portion (70%) of keywords have relatively low demand.

Long-tail keywords are discovered by thinking about user intent. When your audience sits down at the search engine, what are they typing in?

 

For example, say I’m an online retailer of phone accessories. Ranking for keywords like “iphone case” or “screen protectors” will be difficult — you’d be going up against the biggest brands:

 

 

Google Search Screenshot for phone cases

 

 

But a lot of the time, your audience wants something specific. “Fast charge wireless charging pad” or “Galaxy Note 5 Flip Cover Case” are long-tail keywords that would have much less rank competition.

 

Finding good long-tail keywords is mostly about imagining user intent. Once you come up with some options, you can determine how relevant and competitive they are using Google Adwords.

 

If you’re searching for long-tail keywords in particular, I recommend using Keyword Tool Dominator. It uses Google autocomplete to help find relevant long-tail keywords right from search:

 

 

Keyword Tool Dominator Website Screenshot

 

 

 

Conclusion


There’s no getting around the long-haul optimization strategies if you want to get and maintain the highest rank possible. But if you’re just starting out with SEO, there are a lot of quick tricks you can use to jumpstart your efforts.

Follow the eight steps above to start your SEO game plan for impatient marketers.

 

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/serps-success-seo-game-plan-impatient-marketers/158977/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commissioning market research implies a formality and time-frame that is no longer applicable to the current insights market argues ZappiStore's Christophe Ovaere.

Language matters. When you speak a certain way or use certain words, it means something. It creates an impression. Then why is it we are not mindful of the impressions we create when using jargon or specialised vocabulary during our professional life in market research.

My example today is the verb we have been using to talk about buying a research project: we commission it. Talk about keeping us in a restrictive and claustrophobic frame of mind.

If you asked a person what they thought of when they heard the word 'commission', they would probably tell you about 18th century portraits, architectural blueprints, luxury yachts or even haute couture. Because commissioning implies a great deal of formality around the purchase itself, a longer time span and an association with artisanal craftsmanship.

Back in the old days when market research was the main source of consumer data, there was a sense of formality and connotation that longer timescales could only lead to unquestionably impeccable results.

Those days are gone and the pace at which businesses operate today is crazy. Nowadays, insights are closer to a commodity and there is about as much formality to purchasing them as ordering a takeaway. Any suggestion of commissioning work implies that time is not important and makes the user look ignorant of the need for speed.

Not only is this vintage jargon disconnected from current dynamics in our industry, it creates an old fashioned impression of participants in these processes and fails to acknowledge the pace of evolution in the market research value chain.

In no way do I mean to say that there is no craftsmanship or skill in our industry. There is tonnes. However, I believe that for most research, the real value lies in the design of methodology and strategic consultancy – where, for the majority of research projects, the ‘supply chain’ in between can be powered by technology.

There is little value or craftsmanship in the operational side of research. Here we cannot compete with the machines. Now the challenge of leveraging tech to deliver speed while retaining quality is our problem – not the client’s. I say out with the sweatshop practices and in with the KanBan lean supply chain approach to produce raw insights.

When speaking about our industry and the dynamic between clients and agencies, we should use language that empathises with a client’s need for results today and be a data navigator to guide them based on the insights generated.

Let’s stop commissioning research and starting running a study.

Source:  https://www.research-live.com/article/opinion/for-modern-market-research-we-need-modern-terminology/id/5007662

Categorized in Market Research

The application backlogs in nearly every organization are expanding exponentially as companies try to keep pace with competitors and their own internal needs. How can you improve the time-to-market of your applications so they can be inserted into production quicker? Here are some suggestions.

1: Collaborate

Agile development methodologies, like scrum, encourage ongoing collaboration in application requirements definition and development between end users and IT. The more you can keep end users actively engaged in the application development process, the less you will have to worry about the application drifting from what the business expected. When you meet business expectations dead-on the first time, your applications can be placed into production without delay.

More about Innovation

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A decade ago, the PayPal Mafia played a major role in revitalizing the tech industry in Silicon Valley. The story behind this group of leaders proves that their success is more than just luck.

2: Prototype often

Application developers now have app prototyping tools that enable users and developers to see the flows and the looks of applications as the apps are being built. This is important in terms of user acceptance and ultimate app readiness. Every time you incorporate a new application element, create a working prototype for end users to test drive and comment on. It is easier to make adjustments in earlier stages of app development than right before the app is scheduled to be moved into production.

3: Virtualize development and test environments

It takes time to configure physical hardware and software for application testing and development. A better approach is to use a cloud service or to virtualize your own development and test environments so that your developers can have dedicated test and development systems. With virtualization, the strain on your DBA and system programmers will also be reduced, since configuration and deployment of virtual systems is quicker.

4: Hold users accountable

Users get busy, too—so there is always a tendency for them to walk away from the development and testing process after they feel they have given IT all their app requirements. Don't let this happen. Ensuring that applications stay on course with requirements during development should be as much of an end-business responsibility as it is an IT responsibility.

5: Work on usability as much as you work on features and functions

You'd be surprised at how many data errors and end user trouble reports are generated because of poor navigation and screen or report design. Giving equal time to usability as well as to technical design can go a long way toward ensuring that apps are accepted and placed into production the first time.

6: Implement a standard library of routines you can reuse

The easiest way to ensure app compatibility with other software you use is to standardize routines (e.g., a date routine) so that they can be pulled from a common library and used over and over again.

7: Don't forget quality assurance

It is important to thoroughly QA an application—from both a usability and a technical performance standpoint. Organizations are still seeing 50% of IT's programming time being committed to software maintenance—which happens because apps fail or don't do what they are supposed to do. You can help prevent this by designing apps that work correctly the first time and every time, thereby freeing up maintenance staff so you can redirect those resources into more new development.

8: Regression test for performance

Organizations continue to unit test applications and then try to rush them into production without performing a full regression test to ensure that the new app will handle the transaction load it is supposed to be able to handle—or that it is compatible with all the other software it must run with. When an app breakdown occurs in production because regression testing wasn't done, it can become a major embarrassment for a company.

9: Train your support staff and your users

User training should be a project task for any new application. If business users aren't trained in how to use an app, they will get frustrated and end up calling your support staff. Before any app goes live, the IT support staff should also be thoroughly trained. If they're not knowledgeable and can't respond to user questions quickly, it could reflect negatively on an application to the point where it must be pulled from production.

10: Design for simplicity

Applications should always use a modular design structure. This enables developers to test and debug individual routines without having to read through an entire program.

Source:  http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-ways-to-improve-time-to-market-for-your-applications/

Categorized in Market Research
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