Dr Brian's SmartaMarketing 2

Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Month: August, 2012

Understanding Content Curation

Content Curation is becoming ubiquitous.  Unfortunatly  it is also becoming monotonous within certain media.  Informational content is picked up by someone who wants to promote their website and then using software, sending it out via selected social media.  In those media, audiences are seeing the same information over and over, unless the meduim or group is well moderated.

Generally, Content Curation (CC) is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter. It is a form of media curation and is a trend toward integrating media content.

Because a number of gurus have said that audiences are attracted to “content” (information they want to know about), rather than just stuff about what the author (of their firm) is doing and that it imporoves Search Engine Optimization (SEO), CC  has now becoming the staple for many posters to Social media.

Curata’s 2012 Content Curation Adoption Survey of more than 400 marketers found that the vast majority are utilising content curation as a key component of their content marketing strategy. Ninety-five percent of respondents said they have curated content in the past six months

Unlike content marketing, content curation does usually include generating any original content, but instead, collecting content (via sotware often) from a variety of external sources, and delivering it under the name/banner of the poster. A content curator just looks for and collects relevant content pertaining to a specific category and makes this information to readers – often in a mash-up style.

Content marketing” is a term that describes the process of creating and sharing relevant brand information in hopes of engaging current consumers and attracting new ones. Also referred to as branded content and custom publishing, in the internet age, content marketing is the act of relaying this valuable information, Content marketers believe that sharing specialized content leads to a better informed consumer, and a better informed consumer yields more profitable results.

Mashup refers to a digital media file containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video, and animation, which recombines and modifies existing digital works to create a derivative work

Content curation can take the form of an RSS feed, links posted on blogs, social media feeds, or an online news Mashup. It can include video, articles, pictures, music, songs, or any piece of online digital content that can be shared can be curated.

Anyone who is involved with Social Media (such as a Facebook feed or a Twitter stream or Linked In group has seen content curation. Many of us have been participating in content curation for years (MAANZ does it with their Newsletter for example)  it. first hand.

There is a lot of information on the internet. To be successful with content curation in a business setting, it is important to display only the best, most relevant content possible. Most readers are turning to content curation to help them sift through the information overload, and are only looking for the top pieces of content surrounding subjects which are important to them, and will side step additional, erroneous information.

For many firms, CC is simply about driving Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A company that links multiple pieces of content about a specific subject increases its exposure when that topic is searched. Many use CC tools that help find, organize and share content online to ensure that their site is constantly delivering updated, highly topical, keyword-rich content, making it a natural winner in the battle of Search Engine Optimization.” Sites that use content curation usually update rather frequently, and search engines tend to reward these up-to-date sites by indexing them more often. In addition CC for your chosen topic will automatically include the most popular search terms within your websites area of interest

However simply relying only on CC instead of mixing with original content (ie “Content marketing”)  is not good policy Forbes.com recommends mixing original content with curated content to have the most success when using CC to drive SEO.
Good CC is about differentiation.  If competitors are sourcing and distributing the same content then the idea becomes very weak.

Mind you much of CC is done primarily to attract visitors to a website to improve SEO overall and is not as much about servicing a target market.

Advertisements

Persuasion

The Process of Persuasion

Other kinds of writing may have a variety of purposes, but copywriting in Promotion (Advertising; Sales Promotion Marketing Public Relations) has one main aim -persuasion.  There is a logical order to persuasive advertising that carries the audience to the point of favourable action.  Various authorities on the art of persuasion have advanced numerous formulas for this process, but they are all fundamentally variations on a relatively simple theory-AIDA.  The AIDA theory suggests that in order to persuade, an advertisement must first attract attention, then create interest, next stimulate desire, and finally get action.  There has been some criticism of the AIDA principle on the grounds that it is too academic and assumes that the reader of advertisements is a rational man.  Undoubtedly, the sophisticated copywriter recognises that writing advertisements is not always so simple; still, this process is basic to the art of persuasion.  Only after learning it can the copywriter go beyond it.

Attention

If we are going to persuade the reader  to  buy  our  product, we must attract his or her attention.  The best of advertisements are useless if nobody notices them.  There are two general types of attention-getting devices.  One includes external factors over which the copywriter has little or no control and the other involves internal factors which are to a large degree directly under his control.

The external factors include such things as the medium in which the advertisement appears and the size and position of the advertisement.  For example, the readers of some magazines regard advertising as editorial matter.  A  Voguereader, for example, is interested in the fashions the various advertisers are showing.  When advertising is closely related to editorial content, considerable attention is likely to be paid to the advertisements.  On the other hand, in general editorial magazines, in which there is little relation between the advertisements and the editorial content, advertisements elicit little spontaneous interest from readers and there is need for stronger attention-getting devices.

Size is another external factor influencing attention.  Obviously, the larger the advertisement, the more likely the reader will be to notice it.  Likewise, position affects attention.  An advertisement appearing on the fourth (back) cover of a magazine will attract greater attention than that same advertisement appearing in an run of press position.

The copywriter himself has two principal attention-getting devices, the headline and the illustration.  The effectiveness of either is to some degree dictated by the layout which can emphasise either or both to gain maximum attention.

A word of caution must be given about attention-getting devices.  Attention is simply a means of attracting readers to read the whole advertisement.  Therefore, these devices should be related to the rest of the advertisements. The reader whose attention is attracted by a headline, only to find that it has little or no relation to the rest of the advertisement, is apt to be resentful.  Using an illustration of a scantily clad girl in an advertisement for office furniture will disappoint the reader and may make him lose interest in the copy.

Because few persons read advertisements in their entirety,  the attention-getting devices  should try to include as many of the other AIDA factors as possible.  If a headline, in addition to gaining attention, can also promise some benefit to the consumer and identify the advertiser, it is likely that more people seeing the advertisement will get the message.  In addition, the illustration can be used to call attention to the product and the package.

Interest

Ideally, the attention-getting devices should lead the reader to the body copy, and hold his interest.  There is no better way  of stimulating interest than by appealing to the reader’s self-interest. All too often, the copywriter writes in terms of   the advertiser instead of the consumer.  The approach needed is what is referred to as the “you” attitude.  The consumer is not interested in how wonderful the company is; he wants to know what the product will do for him.

Desire

Each step in the persuasion process is important, but none is so important that it can stand alone.  Having stimulated interest, the advertisement’s next task is to stimulate  the reader’s desire for the product.  The easiest way to stimulate desire is to show that the product will benefit the reader, show that he will not be as well off without it, and prove it.  Again, the emphasis should be on consumer self-interest.  Claims may be met with scepticism, so it is necessary to convince the reader that the advertisement’s claims are valid.  Not only should they be substantiated, but they must be believable.

Action

No advertisement can be complete unless it “asks for the order” orasks the reader to take the required objective action.  This may be stated directly: “Try it soon and see,” or “Get some soon.   In some cases the urge to action is implied in the copy without being explicitly stated.

Creative Ideas Need Words

Creative ideas are vitally important, but they are only the start.  The idea must be translated into words and pictures-the right words and pictures.  Only then is the creative idea of any value to the advertiser.  John Pullen aptly explained the importance of words and pictures when he said

The idea is only the beginning.  A good idea can be obscured by a beautiful smoke screen of ungoverned “creativity.” It can be dropped before it has had time to penetrate.  Or it can be expressed so poorly that the value of the idea is lost.

The selling idea is the framework.  But words give it flesh and blood, make it live and breathe in direct proportion to the vitality of a quality that seems to be inherent in words themselves.

As proof of this, you can start with a selling idea and assign it to six writers.  One will produce a great campaign, while the score for the others will be perhaps four good and one average.  The idea is the same, but there are astonishing differences in the way it springs to life.

“Cease motion, observe carefully and note sound of approaching train” can’t compare

with “Stop, look and listen !”

“We won’t let them get by” is a pale substitute for “They shall not pass ”

“A diamond will last forever” would not last long in comparison with “A diamond is forever. . . .”

The Bible says that a word fitly spoken is like apple silver.  It is also like gold in the pocket of an advertiser.’

Leo Burnett was paying appropriate tribute to the importance of the writer when he said:

After all the meetings are over, the phones have stopped ringing and the vocalising has died down, somebody has to get out an ad, often after hours.  Somebody has to stare at a blank piece of paper.  Probably nothing was ever more bleak.  This is probably the very height of lonesomeness.  He is one person and he is alone-all by himself alone.  Out of the recesses of his mind must come words which interest, words which persuade, words which inspire, words which sell.

 

Service Product Distribution

All organisations – whether producing tangibles or intangibles – are concerned with place decisions.  That is how to make their offerings available and accessible to users.  Even where a service or other intangible is marketed there are physical problems.  All are associated, somewhere or other, with tangible elements requiring physical handling, storage and transportation

The subject of place decisions for services is confused as people grapple with the concept of a ‘distribution channel’ for items which are intangible, often inseparable from the person performing the service and perishable, in the sense that inventory cannot be carried.  The subject is further confused because the generalisations made about services (e.g. no inventory carried) do not always apply in specific situations.

Methods of distributing services

A distribution channel for services is the sequence of firms involved in moving a service from producer to consumer.  The usual generalisation made about service distribution is that direct sale is the most common method and that channels are short.

Direct sale certainly is common in some services markets (e.g. professional services); but many service channels contain one or more intermediaries.  It would be incorrect to suggest that direct sale is the only method of distribution in services markets.

Intermediaries are quite common.  Some of these intermediaries assume ownership risks; some perform roles that change ownership (e.g. purchasing); some perform roles that enable physical movement (e.g. transporting).

Tips Effective Marketing Communication

Some guidelines for effective, persuasive communication.

  • Approach everything from the viewpoint of the audience’s interest. What is on its mind? What is in it for each person?
  • Make the subject matter part of the atmosphere in which audience members live—what they talk about, what they hear from others. That means tailoring the message to their channels of communication.
  • Communicate with people, not at them. Communication that approaches the audience as a target makes people put up defenses against it.
  • Localize—get the message conveyed as close to the individual’s own setting as possible.
  • Use a number of communication channels, not just one or two. The impact is far greater when a message reaches people in a number of different forms.
  • Maintain consistency so that the basic content is the same regardless of audience or context. Then tailor that content to the specific audience as much as possible.
  • Don’t propagandise, but be sure you make your point. Drawing conclusions in the information itself is more effective than letting the audience draw its own conclusions.
  • Maintain credibility—which is essential for all these points to be effective.

Adoption and Diffusion in Marketing Communication

The diffusion theory was developed in the 1930s and expanded on by Professor Everett Rogers of Stanford University. It holds that there are five steps in the process of acquiring new ideas:

Awareness—the person discovers the idea or product.

Interest—the person tries to get more information.

Trial—the person tries the idea on others or samples the product.

Evaluation—the person decides whether the idea works for his or her own self-interest.

Adoption—the person incorporates the idea into his or her opinion or begins to use the product.

In this model, the marcomms writer is most influential at the awareness and interest stages of the process. People often become aware of a product, service, or idea through traditional mass outlets such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Indeed, the primary purpose of advertising in the mass media is to create awareness, the first step in moving people toward the purchase of a product or sup-port of an idea.

At the interest stage, people seek more detailed information from such sources as pamphlets, brochures, direct mail, videotape presentations, meetings, and symposia. That is why initial publicity to create awareness often includes an 800 number or an address that people can use to request more information.

Family, peers and associates become influential in the trial and evaluation stages of the adoption model. Mass media, at this point, serves primarily to reinforce messages and predispositions.

It is important to realise that a person does not necessarily go through all five stages of adoption with any given idea or product.. A number of factors affect the adoption process. There are at least five.

Relative advantage—is the idea better than the one it replaces?

Compatibility  is the idea consistent with the person’s existing values and needs?

Complexity     is the innovation difficult to understand and use?

Trialability       can the innovation be used on a trial basis?

Observability—are the results of the innovation visible to others?

You should be aware of these factors and try to overcome as many of them as possible. Repeating a message in various ways, reducing its complexity, taking competing messages into account, and structuring the message to the needs of the audience are ways to do this.

Social Media users not just passive couch potatoes!

Media Uses and Gratification

Recipients of communication are not just passive couch potatoes. The basic premise of uses and gratification theory is that the communication process is interactive. The communicator wants to inform and, ultimately, motivate people to act on the information. Recipients want to be entertained, informed, or alerted to opportunities that can fulfill their needs.

 

Thus, people make highly intelligent choices about what messages require their attention and meet their needs. That is why people are very selective about what articles they will read in the local daily. The role of the public relations writer, then, is to tailor messages that are meaningful to the audience. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which will be discussed shortly, relates to the basic needs of individuals.

How Well do you Know your Customers?

How well do you really know your customers?

Doyou know the answers to these questions?

— What is really important to the customer?

— What is the customer’s connection with the product?

— What does the customer really want?

— How are customers motivated to buy?

— How do customers talk about the product?

To achieve successful differentiation in the marketplace, the complete picture must be captured.

The key is to understand the customer (their wants, needs, motivations, emotions and values) and evaluate the marketplace (looking for gaps, opportunities and unmet wants and needs) before embarking on the development of a new product concept or product extension.

Understanding the voice of the customer

Understanding your customer means understanding the your offer (product – both goods and services) through the consumer’s eyes — this means placing more emphasis on the consumer’s words than the opinions of management, R&D, engineering, marketing and all other “internal” folks.

Understanding is accomplished by:

  • focusing on root wants/needs/benefits of usage; and
  • understanding consumer language.

Understanding what your customer seeks as the important benefits

Understanding root benefits resides in the following questions:

  • What need(s) does the customer wish to fulfill with the product?
  • What problem is the customer attempting to solve through use?
  • What benefits does the customer wish to receive?

Sample Marketing Plan Outline

Marketing Plan Outline

Title Page – date and who developed it.

Version (updates)

Executive Summary (less than 1 page – write it last!)

Identified Need

Market/Product

Success Factors

Contents Page – think of it as the road map.  What is missing?

Situation:

Business Goals and specific objectives

Organisational/Marketing Goals/Objectives Outline

Target Market (Identified Need/Behaviour/Market Research)

and

Product Identification(link to Target Market)

A different approach/plan for each different Target Market is expected

Competitive Offerings

Marketing Environment/Situation Analysis

Macro (Economy, Political. Legal, Cultural)

Market (Competition)

Task (Suppliers)

Internal

SWOT Analysis

Overall Strategic Marketing Approach/Method

Product

Details

Features/Benefits

Packaging

Service

Competitive Offerings

Product Requirements

Product Development

Name/Brand

Product Line

Design

Placement Strategy

Intermediaries

Timing

Price (think in terms of the target market – “Payment”)

Pricing strategy

Pricing Objectives

Value

Competitive Pricing

Costs

Promotion

Promotional Objectives

Publicity/PR

Advertising

Online media/Social Media Marketing/Website

Personal Negotiation/Personal selling

Promotional Materials (Sales Promotion)

Sales Projections

Budgets

Project Management

Scheduling

Dates

Responsibilities

The Marketing Plan

Planning can be regarded as the systematic and informed application of marketing resources to achieve marketing objectives.

Planning is, or should be, therefore a continuous activity of marketing management, rather than an irregular act.

Although most of the literature on marketing planning portrays the process as a series of discrete steps, the process is, in fact, a continuous interplay of assumptions, objectives, strategies, programmes and budgets, with a constant movement backwards and forwards, from the general to the specific, and with some stages occurring concurrently rather than consecutively.”

It is important to note, however, that the frequency, focus intensity and type of marketing planning actually undertaken by firms may vary both between firms and, over time, within a particular firm.

In the earlier stages, major attention will be placed on broad strategic matters, such as market targeting and positioning, the proper integration and co-ordination of individual mix elements, the development of appropriate and timely management information systems, and so forth.

During the more mature phases, attention is likely to be directed towards more tactical issues, such as product line extensions/deletions, price/promotion/distribution modifications or realignments, etc., and/or corporate and organisational issues, such as takeovers or mergers, devolution of decision- making responsibilities, the appointment of support staff, etc.

Notwithstanding such variations in frequency, focus, intensity or type of planning, there are certain benefits which any exercise of planning is capable of delivering.  At base level, the major benefit of marketing planning should be better utilisation of limited resources  Similarly, it has been stated that ‘the marketing plan’s … purpose is to establish priorities the allocation of marketing resources, primarily by specifying the marketing mix focussed on a specific market segment.’

Every company is the scene of continuous decision-making and problem-solving, but this should not be confused with marketing planning and control.  The latter is a separate and higher-order activity which often rewards the company with improved sales and profit.

Benefits of Planning

Many companies operate without the benefit of a formal planning system, choosing to solve various problems was they arise.

In the case of newer companies, their managers are often so busy solving existing problems that they have no time for planning.

In the case of mature companies, many managers argue that they have done well without formal planning and therefore it cannot be too important.  They resist the idea of taking time to prepare a written statement of objectives, strategies and action programmes:  much preliminary work would be required, and the document itself would be too revealing of both the condition of the business and the quality (or lack of quality) of the responsible person’s thinking.

Many managers argue that their marketplace changes too fast for a plan to be useful or relevant; many also argue that planning becomes an annual ritual entered into half heartedly by executives and wasteful of time.  For these and other reasons, many companies have not yet introduced formal planning systems.

The following are major benefits of a formal planning system:

1.  It encourages systematic thinking ahead by management.

2.  It leads to a better co-ordination of company efforts.

3.  It leads to the development of performance standards for control.

4.  It causes the company to sharpen its guiding objectives and policies.

5.  It results in better preparedness for sudden developments.

6.  It brings about a more vivid sense, in the participating executives, of their interacting responsibilities.

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