What do we all have in store – marketing wise – for 2014 …. Adobe predicts with the help of 2500 marketing people and Econsultancy

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Recently Adobe, in partnership with Econsultancy, kicked off a global survey of more than 2,500 marketers and Internet professionals, in hopes of better understanding what companies and agencies alike are prioritising in 2014.

The 60 page report made for some interesting reading – here are the main points of it all compiled by a digital media, digital marketing, and analytics strategist, Mark is president of Adobe EMEA and resides in the UK with his wife and two children.

Here’s a sneak peek at the meat inside this report: For the whole thing click here. 

  • Customer experience is the single most exciting opportunity for in-house marketers in 2014, above mobile and content marketing.
  • In the world of B2B, content marketing is king. For B2C marketers, however, mobile sits in at the top of the priority pile. We say AMEN to this – not only as I am now working for a taxi fare comparison app (which is 100% mobile) but as I have been ranting about mobile for many a year.
  • 2014 is a year of experimentation and agility. Does your company culture instil a fear of failure? The inability to test, learn, and rejigger an approach is holding many companies back from digital success.
  • Consumer expectations outpace corporate innovations. There is no doubt about it—consumers are in control. And aside from grabbing consumer attention, customer stickiness has become increasingly difficult as personalized offers and information from other brands increases at a staggering rate.
  • Evolving role for email as marketers seek to engage with millennials. Over 90% of businesses use email as a cheap and powerful way of both broadcasting news and providing personal, 1:1 communication. However the debate of emails effectiveness in reaching a younger, social-minded audience continues.
  • Technology brings efficiency and immediacy to display advertising in what has been a historically chaotic landscape for media buying. And as the efficiency of television advertising dwindles, brands should be able to effectively cobble together large audiences comprised of the right people—albeit from many different sources.
  • Marketers fit for the future need to find the balance between extremes. More so than ever, marketing has become a combination of art and science—and the need for left-brained engineers who will eat, sleep and breathe technology into their marketing teams is just as prevalent as the call for creative geniuses. Breaking down organisational silos and balancing these two extremes continues to be a challenge.
  • Companies focus on harmonising cross-channel messaging and experience. As technology evolves so too do marketing channels—consider Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and other channels that have surged into popularity. Managing these multiple channels with consistency has become an increasingly crucial discipline for marketers. (And finding the time…)
  • Mobile has won—the time for procrastination is over. There couldn’t be a safer bet than to predict that mobile will continue to grow in significance for businesses, as more customers adopt tablets, smartphones and wearable technology. 2014 will continue to see businesses work harder to improve the mobile experience, and to understand what mobile means for their customers.
  • Content, mobile and social will become business as usual. While the vast majority of marketers understand that improving the customer experience must be one of the sole focuses of digital marketing, most companies are still gathering the right tools for their toolbox in order to create such experiences. But as marketing technology moves into a more integrated set of solutions, these functions should bring greater value in the year to come.

May this full report help enable us all to better understand the mindset, needs and concerns of today’s digital marketing professionals—so that the technology, process and people will continue to evolve.

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A wonderful article by Danyl Bosomworth on how Red Bull really did do it again!

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I was debating writing this, after all there’s been so much written about the Red Bull Stratos mission in the past few days since it was finally completed. Yet I’ve not seen much written about how the event supports branding and marketing. I think there are certainly learnings for marketers like us, most of us whom aren’t multimillion pound brands.

So, what are the practical marketing ideas that we can really take from all of this? Here are our four lessons from the Stratos mission…

Success comes from committing to the hard work

Red Bull included, was this easy? No way. The Stratos project took SEVEN YEARS to plan and execute with ex-Nasa engineers which means that Red Bull started doing the work seriously as early as 2005. We may think that Red Bull has all the resources, that they can ‘afford it’ and ‘it’s easy for them’. But two years is something that very few brands will commit to, let alone seven. It tells us everything that we need to know. That is serious commitment to plan to see through. Imagine the cost and energy expended by the team over seven years. Red Bull has to be equally connected and committed internally, from the CEO down, it’s clearly not a marketing side project, or a late tactical campaign to drive extra sales units. I certainly doubt that Red Bull worry about PPC, sponsored tweets, Facebook advertising or ‘SEO’. They worry about what inspires their customer, and commit to it. The rest looks after itself.

Big, consistent ideas that move fans

Red Bull gives you wings — we all know it from years of above-the-line advertising, the difference is Red Bull lives its positioning. Even as far as ‘winged’ ideas go, it’s not everyday that somebody breaks the sound barrier in a spacesuit whilst 24 miles above the earth, and not many brands enable you be so close to seeing it. Let’s face it, this idea is out there. And yet this is a long line of pretty ground breaking executions that have included stunt plane, skate, motor cross, ski, snow-boarding, rapids or F1 concepts, sponsorship deals and events are all orientated around what their consumer wants. They did all that while working on Stratos. By making it about their tribe, you can’t help but ‘feel’ something for Red Bull. I don’t even drink Red Bull yet I’ve come to love the brand as it’s begun to spin out into creating amazing content that I want to watch and talk about. The Art of Flight movie is a must buy for anyone into snow sports and art. It speaks to me.

Brands are publishers as well as marketers

Red Bull has its own media division, Red Bull Media House, and it knows how to promote it, how is that for joined-up marketing? Is the Stratos stunt worth £100m in equivalent ad spend? Who knows. Logically the eight million people worldwide who watched YouTube’s live stream on Sunday are pretty expensive to buy. They were just the ones who cared enough to watch live, the “influencers” we might say. What about the additional 40 TV stations and 130 digital outlets (in the US alone, according to ABC News). Red Bull’s Facebook photo post of a jumping Baumgartner gained almost 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and over 29,000 shares in just 40 minutes, that’s notwithstanding half the worldwide trending topics on Twitter were related to Red Bull Stratos. No matter how you cut it, that’s one serious return on investment in just two days. But what about the other measurable and immeasurable benefits, the way that people feel about the brand, the volume of people who decide to try or re-try the product, or even decide to just look at their Facebook page and learn more about what else Red Bull does, the countless people who discussed the campaign from postponed launch (PR stun to drive more conversation and attention, maybe!) to the eventual event. Content on the quality scale of Red Bull has the ability to win hearts as well as minds, it creates conversation and connects people to each other. Where are Coca-Cola in all this? Still advertising, sponsoring some safe stuff, maybe.

Hub and spoke

Aside from the Red Bull Stratos website, and Redbull.com, Red Bull has a dedicated ‘Content Pool’, yep. It’s largely a blog to you and I, one shaped to house all of their stories in one place. A place where they can control the perspective that you enter into their world, complete with media room for the, err, less proactive journalists who they want to guide and shape. One trip to their hub site and you’re immediately educated that Stratos is no one-trick event, Red Bull are into all kinds. The Content Pool also enables data capture as well as purchase of content. You get exactly the same story, albeit in a different guise, on their, YouTube, Twitter account and Facebook page. Red Bull make it easy to see the breadth of their offering aside from Stratos, including Psy of ‘Gangnam Style’ teaching their F1 team to dance, through to dirt bikes and a Red Bull energy cell for your iPhone. With great content, Red Bull’s marketers know their out-posts, and how to use them.

Red Bull changing marketing?

In its own way, there’s no shadow of a doubt. And yet my sense is that this is not anything like the marketing or sponsorship genius that I’m hearing, it’s much simpler than that. Since day one Red Bull has lived its own brand, born in Austria with guys throwing themselves down the slopes on boards and skis, the brand has remained true to its roots. Red Bull is a consistently growing story that’s based on knowing their tribe’s passions. It’s so close to its consumers that knows exciting ideas as easily as anyone else, then confidently commits to doing the hard work of executing on it. Red Bull personify content marketing because it creates stuff worth liking, sharing and commenting on. It’s that simple, and that difficult.

Danyl Bosomworth is author of the Smart Insights guide to content marketing strategy

And this article is taken (hook, book, each line and sinker – from iMediaconnection – so I remember to think about it for my clients.)

It’s all about the gaming… especially on mobile :0

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I was at The Web Summit last week – an amazing time – meeting people like Amer Mohammed who makes Healthy Heroes over in Sweden. A mobile game which gamifies health and action. An idea I had in a drunken row (heated discussion) with someone in Manchester about 5 years ago.Read on…

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I love this – s…

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I love this – so I pop it here so I can look at it in more depth later on in my life.

It is taken from Andrew Chen’s work.

His Roadmap goals

  • “output-driven” roadmap for going from zero to product/market fit
  • for small hackerish teams building consumer internet products
  • the intention is to create a scalable startup that is going after a huge market, and generate huge returns for venture capital investors
  • goal is to get to P/M fit in shortest time possible, defer everything else
    • defers monetization
    • defers marketing
    • defers scaling
    • (this is all by design)
  • P/M fit takes a non-deterministic amount of time to get there, insanely hard, you’ll probably fail anyway
  • the problem is 90% contextual, make up your own rules as you go

Concept prototype

Picking a product and market

  • build for yourself (start with intuition)
  • have a long-term vision
  • base it off something that’s already big and already working
    • big makes it easy to test and collect feedback
    • already working means you have a good sense for minimum product
    • also, there’s pre-existing distribution channels as well
  • figure out the options for competitive differentiation – this is the core design intention
    • talk to a lot of users, do a lot of research, compare a lot of products in the space
  • dimensions for competitive differentiation
    • competitive dimensions
    • vertical audience
    • design intention
    • cheaper/niche
    • targeting rejectors
  • validating that there’s LOTS of pre-existing “pull” for the market
    • search keywords
    • app leaderboards
  • ideal goal: simple product with fundamentally different core design intention for large pre-existing market
    • bonus points for baked-in distribution, monetization, etc. but don’t let this lead the idea!!!
    • usually one killer feature (not a bunch of features)
  • prototype: Landing page
    • what’s a good landing page experiment?
    • headlines, copywriting, hero shot, etc.
    • unique URLs
  • anti-patterns:
    • “someone’s already done this” (desire for originality)
    • monetization/strategy-driven product ideas
    • technology in search of a market
    • “Wall Street” markets
    • lumping yourself into an aspirational market
    • comprehensive featureset done poorly

Paper/Wireframe prototype

Designing the initial product

  • go for the minimum desirable product
    • might work :-)
    • the central design intention drives the product design
    • supports only the core use case, as minimum as possible
    • core UX should be 2-3 pages
    • limited functionality, done well. “Less but better”
    • Should build bare bone prototype in less than 2 weeks (really!)
    • flow-based product design
    • user quotes, then fill in with UI
  • low-fidelity prototyping tools
    • easier and cheaper to make changes
    • fix defects earlier (Toyota lean manufacturing model)
    • engineers always want to prototype in code, but then sunk-cost fallacy
    • get feedback from people and iterate
  • prototype: Core user flows, mocked up and ready to build
  • anti-patterns:
    • “database-up” design
    • feature creep and low product self-esteem (v1 should look like a feature!)
    • comprehensive featureset all of it done poorly
    • lots of pet features that don’t fit into the core design intention

Code prototype

Coding the initial product

  • build the prototype as fast as possible
  • fill in any blanks left out of the prototype
  • use the product yourself, iterate on it while keeping with the core design intention
  • focus on key flows and prioritize over ancillary ones
  • don’t worry about corner cases
  • get it ready to be used by other people
  • prototype: Live product, usable by other people
  • anti-patterns:
    • taking too long
    • losing focus of the central design intention
    • not adjusting based on intuition and usage
    • overarchitecting, trying to make it scalable or modular or future-proofing in general

Friends and family alpha testing

  • private beta goals
    • clean up core experience
    • make product usable over multiple visits
    • validate the core design intention
    • not scalable
  • recruiting friends and family
    • focus on retention
    • are users coming back?
  • recruiting random people
    • Find people from the existing market, rejectors, and outside the market
    • Learn from extreme users
    • Craigslist
    • Usertesting
  • user testing
    • do they get it?
    • how would you describe this to a friend?
    • usability – remove the friction
    • would they switch? (for existing market users)
    • Net promotor score
  • interpreting user feedback and learning to say “no”
    • which users fall into the target market? Hear them out
    • which users don’t? It’s OK (and maybe even good!) to have them reject
    • try not to add new features unless absolutely necessary
    • what features can you remove that aren’t part of the core?
  • prototype: Simple product, polished by real use
  • anti-patterns
    • Delusion- it’s not working but you think it is
    • Melancholy from user testing
    • Adding features without interpreting
    • Adding features that violate core design intention
    • Listening to out-of-market users
  • is it working?
    • people understand the product
    • some subset of your users like it and use it
    • you like it :-)

Random people beta testing

  • traffic testing goals
    • start polishing your onboarding flow
    • develop options for distribution
    • build some basic stats infrastructure
    • not meant to be scalable
  • User acquisition tactics
    • ads
    • PR + launch page + slow stream
    • partnerships
    • power through it
  • Collecting feedback
    • surveys
    • help and problems
    • recruit users to talk to
  • prototype: Spreadsheet for signup flow, more polished signup flow
  • is it working?
    • signups are happening
    • people are going through the core flow
    • retention/recurring usage from target users
    • product still works for you, and your friends/family

User flow optimization

  • model your usage and figure out your core drivers
    • this is completely product specific
    • two examples- daily deal versus a chat site
    • whats your “metric of love?”
  • prototype your funnel – explore!
    • flow chart
    • excel
    • SQL
    • formalize/finalize with dashboards
  • identify major bottlenecks for why the product’s not working
    • start at the beginning of the flow
    • fix bottlenecks with A/B tests
  • is it working?
    • how do the metrics compare to the usage model?
    • 10% signup
    • +1 day retention and +1 week retention
    • DAU/MAU
  • anti-patterns:
    • trying to fix problems in core UX when signup is the problem
    • over-architecting stats infrastructure
    • trying to use a generic analytics product to answer situational questions

Ready to scale?

  • Hopefully the major checkboxes are checked – at this point you’d have:
    • Huge market
    • Differentiated product
    • Product makes sense to normal people
    • Product is working for IRL people
    • Product is working for non-IRL people
    • Well-understood and optimized user flows
    • Ready to scale up
  • Non-scaleable marketing, tech, and otherwise- that’s fine
  • Now scale everything else :-)

Crisis, terror, and melancholy

  • Is it good enough?
  • Nobody likes my product!
  • My product is a mess!
  • It’s taking too long!
  • Investors hate my product!
  • I’m iterating in circles!
  • When to work on a completely new idea?
  • Iterations are getting diminishing returns and people still don’t love the product