Monthly Archives: October 2013

Technology in the Workplace: BYOD

BYOD used to mean you had your beverage of choice handy at the neighborhood barbeque or your friend’s football watch party. Your next employer may switch out the traditional B with a D (for device) and ask you to use your shiny new iPhone or Android in the office.

We embraced this idea early on at Collective Bias. Friends and advertisers alike have contacted me using a single phone number for almost four years now. Using my personal phone at work kept me from juggling two cell phones on the weekends. As a young startup company, we avoided the infrastructure buildout costs associated with installing, configuring (and reconfiguring as we grew) a traditional phone system. Show up, log into your laptop and get to work. We prioritized speed over standardization.

I receive a stipend each month to subsidize my cell phone bill and I’m pretty happy with the arrangement. Life in a startup blurs the hours between work and home anyway so it rarely bothered me to take work calls happened at night or on weekends (as long as they didn’t become excessive).

Now when I need personal time and space, I turn the phone off or silence the ringer for a bit. Chances are that my family will complain about the disconnection well before a business contact. A well-balanced life in the new work order is more about creating your own boundaries than expecting work to fit into a traditional 8-5 bucket.

I had never heard of a company doing anything like BYOD when I joined CB. Searching Google “BYOD” today, I found 12.2 MM posts. My daughter (in 6th grade) even has a BYOD policy in place at her school now. She can listen to music during art class projects and use it to look up research items for other subjects.

Companies must decide what policies and network software to put into place when allowing (or promoting) personal devices in the workplace. The expense of network administration for a plethora of devices will mitigate some of the potential savings in hardware costs.

According to David Willis, head of mobility and communications research for Gartner, companies will have little choice around BYOD in the future. In a recent CNBC article he noted, “This new generation of workers has always used their personal devices in their school, and they have never been without these. So they see it as a step backward when they enter the workforce and get a heavy computer or antiquated smartphone.”

Many people also dislike carrying multiple devices to accomplish the same task. When I first entered the workforce, I had a personal cell phone, a work cell phone and (because I’m that old) a text pager. The pager and work phone eventually gave way to a work BlackBerry. Working as a freelancer, my phone connected me to work and personal contacts alike. In today’s uber-connected social landscape, we all have personal brands. Our personal and professional persona’s blend across platforms and become viewable to friends, family and business contacts.

In this light, BYOD isn’t some revolutionary concept. Instead, it demonstrates how our online lives start to manifest and affect the way we live and conduct business.

 

The 10 Commandments of Marketing to Moms

The power of today’s social media-connected moms is never going to go away. If anything it will continue to grow. According to a study by comScore and BabyCenter, more than 90% of moms use social media regularly and of course, those are moms with children under the age of 18. Last Year, eMarketer estimated this group to be an astounding 35.7 million women. Many of today’s Millennial mothers have grown up digital and followed many professional bloggers. Together, they represent an estimated $2.4 trillion dollar market. But despite the focus on mom as a demographic and her spending power, most brands are still not getting it right when it comes to connecting with her. Insights in Marketing i-on-women conducted research that showed only about 9% of women think advertisers are marketing to them effectively.

1. Work with moms to get it right.

You’re never going to get it right unless you talk to and ideate with moms. You need to solicit their ideas. The beauty of social media is it’s easy to find them and to connect with them. Research and studies will give you clues, but not the rich real conversation moms will bring, bring them into your headquarters and ask for their contribution and collaboration.

2. Keep it real.

Sure you’ve heard this before but look around at some of the marketing to moms. Real, is real inspirational stories. Relatable content. Relevant content. Useful content. Not manufactured, retouched or artificial.

3. Answer her when she’s reaching out.

Engage with your audience. A study by Acuity Group showed 73% of customer tweets go unanswered. What a missed opportunity. RedBull, a brand more associated with Millennials and daredevils, is terrific at listening and responding. My daughter was mugged for her latte and it blew up Twitter for a few minutes with 100+ tweets but not a word from Starbucks. Two other brands, on the other hand, responded with $5 gift cards because they wanted my daughter to know there were still good people in the world. If you take a look at the brands moms love, they typically are ones who are listening and responding.

4. Follow the moms that follow you back.

Ratios, schmatios! When it comes to connecting to moms, brands need to follow the moms back. Stop thinking you are a celebrity or is part of the cache and get real with your advocates. It’s the first step in the relationship particularly if you want to grow an audience of moms.

5. Always layer in authentic conversation around your traditional campaigns.

The days where brands can just rely on traditional advertising messages are gone. Today, a blog post or tweet a mom writes mentioning your brand is an ad. These organic, authentic real stories and conversation need to be layered in along with your traditional media. These are the messages she trusts.

6. Never market to them as a niche.

There’s no one-size-fits-all mom. You can’t say, “Here’s something all of you will like.” There are Millennial moms, Boomer moms, second-life moms, Latina moms … moms of every imaginable kind. Don’t stereotype and lump us into a singular “mom” bucket or you’ll miss the mark every time.

7. Remember she’s intelligent.

Many stay-at-home moms are educated and have chosen family over career in many cases. With the economy being what it is, many moms are the primary breadwinners in their families. We like to talk about more than diapers, potty training or children. We have interests beyond gardening, cooking and reading books. Look at the types of blogs that are out there–everything from politics, business, women’s health issues and more.

8. Keep it beautifully simple.

When you’re busy, you need simplicity, and moms are hyper-taskers. Make it complicated, and you’ll lose them every time. One of the reasons Pinterest is popular with women is its simple design and the curation of relevant content, but it’s also because it’s pleasing to the eye. We appreciate good esthetics.

9. Balance emotional messaging with pragmatic information.

She still wants to be inspired, but she’s also pragmatic. She does her homework before making a purchase. It’s part of the job of being a mom – making informed choices. Over and over, the Dove campaign comes up because it does such a beautiful job of combining the emotional with the rational.

10. Remember it’s about story-selling.

Place the information within reach, and let her make a decision. Marketing to moms is about telling stories, not selling. Tell how it fits in her life, layer in people’s stories, give the back story on the product – she likes details, showcase testimonials and reviews. Sprinkle in lifestyle photos of the product in use, not just beautifully lit photos of the product. All of these tell a story.

Originally seen on Media Post.

Who Do Millennials Trust?

It’s one of the most daunting tasks in human existence, something we all avoid but know we must do eventually, get back to or manipulate to make seem far worse… living a healthy lifestyle. From the next celebrity fab diet to the local health food store touting the new miracle drug for weight loss, living a healthy lifestyle seems to be the trendy thing to do but how does the next generation filter through all of the hype to truly get the information they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle from credible sources? Through blogger outreach.

See the food, be the food

Millennials are savvy when it comes to marketing, we don’t trust the television advertisement touting the “miracle diet food,” we’ve seen it, tried it, lost it and gained it all back.  You know what we do trust though? We trust our friends, family and followers, who are just like us, for the best recommendations to make that cauliflower mash actually taste like mashed potatoes. Visual sites like Pinterest and Chef This Up give us a clear picture of someone else who made the recipe and it worked for them, why can’t it work for us?

My menu planning every week, like many millennials, revolves around what I have previously pinned onto my healthier eating or foodie Pinterest boards.  From dinners to snacks to desserts I now have the ability to see on my phone all of the ingredients I need while shopping and exactly how it should look while I am cooking.  There is no pen and paper needed or a questionable staged picture in a cookbook giving me unrealistic hope of my casserole actually turning out like that, because whose really does?

Anything you are looking for you can find on Pinterest; need a healthier pizza recipe? Just do a quick search and you will magically see everything from a healthy meat lovers pizza to a gluten free spaghetti squash crust. These photos aren’t staged or photographed by professional photographers in a studio, they are (mostly) made by real at-home cooks, like me, who just want to live healthier lives and maybe eat that last bit of chocolate for dessert without feeling as guilty. Savvy brands who are looking to reach this millennial consumer need to not only utilize sites such as Pinterest to show off their own recipes but they need to especially cultivate that user generated content that was created by existing advocates of their brand. According to a recent study by Black Pearl Intelligence, user generated content on company websites influences more than 80 percent of millennial purchases. Millennials will reward brands who enable and generate this content if it is authentic and relevant, not just staged, paid for or a recopy of their own recipes. This has to be truly user generated and replicable to the everyday consumer.

Constant Connectivity = Required Transparency

Millennials are constantly connected, in fact 50 percent of them would give up their sense of smell before giving up their access to technology! This constant connectedness means that they can (and will) fact check any of the brands they are interested in, especially when it comes to nutrition labels and claims like “organic” and “gluten free.” Food companies must be completely transparent in sharing all of the information about their product, good and bad, because if you don’t millennials will find out very quickly and expose you. Milllennials are loyal to the brands who share the truth with them and will have an honest conversation about their product or make health information readily available. Be credible, be a resource and be that shining example that others wish to follow because millennials will appreciate that and in turn remain loyal to your brand.

Let the Sharing Begin

Written by Mary Tarczynski

“Shared Media” describes paid, earned or owned vehicles that communicate retailer and manufacturer messages designed to drive short term sales and long term loyalty.  This is a part of the ongoing evolution in our industry from “co-marketing” to “customer marketing” to “shopper marketing.”  Alison Lewis, SVP Marketing for Coca-Cola, and Jocelyn Wong, CMO of Family Dollar, spoke to the importance of shared media and its role in the future of marketing during the keynote at the Path to Purchase Institute’s 2014 Shopper Marketing Expo conference in Chicago.

Social shopper media plays a key role in this shared media category.  A photo-rich blog post enables both retailer and brand messages to be communicated in a natural authentic manner.   Even a short tweet can incorporate both brand and retailer handles with the campaign hashtag and call to action.  User generated content takes any competing egos and ad agencies out of the equation and let’s the shoppers voice ring through.

This model works for Collective Bias advertisers – our highly qualified Social Fabric® Community Members are real shoppers first, social influencers second and paid advocates third.  When they apply for a “shoppertunity” they get a chance to demonstrate their passion for the retailer and brand and why they are excited about the opportunity to create sponsored content.

The retailer and brand messages are naturally woven together because they are part of the shopper and usage experience.  The longer form content allows for descriptive narrative and engaging photography to capture the shopper’s at home planning and in store decision making process as she interacts with displays and store personnel. The insights generated from each trip can be leveraged to optimize merchandising, targeting, promotions and messaging.

One example of this is the recent Candy Apple campaign for Smart & Final.  The “Smartie” community did a great job blending the quality produce and value offerings of the regional grocer with creative ways to use Nestle candy for this classic October treat.  Smart & Final gets a plug for great quality fall apples and values on candy – Nestle gets some new original recipes and usage occasions.  In fact one of the delicious recipe pictures got repinned 740 times in the first day!

Social is the perfect platform for shared shopper media.  Once the advocates are selected we just provide the guardrails so they can naturally tell their story – and let the sharing begin!

Butterfinger-Caramel-Apple-Nachos

Check out the recipe for Butterfinger Apple Nachos from a Pumpkin and a Princess

Reality Check: The Trust Solution

Written by Mike Abb

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7VYpWw0T6w  – Listen while reading

HONESTY IS STILL THE BEST POLICY

Last time we talked about the problems advertisers face gaining trust of the consumer. Well in my experience honesty is the best policy and what I was told long ago by my father and his father before him. The reason that has been handed down for generations is that it could be the most important advice in existence.  So when advertisers make a mockery of their product pitch by overselling it with celebrity spokes models and flashy commercials, we lose trust. The majority of the marketplace are not celebrities, it’s the common man and the common man may respect the celebrity, but he’s smart enough to know he can’t actually ask them about this product or that service.

Blogger outreach represents this “common man”.

WHO CAN WE TRUST

Who the common man can ask and trust is his good old neighbor and that neighbor now not only lives across the street, but also online in the form of the user review. This review is now considered a direct quote from someone who truly wanted to give you his or her personal user experience about a product or service. There are hundreds of online studies touting various percentages and statistics intended to fortify the consumers belief system that user reviews are now making the difference when it comes to purchasing decisions. Statistics aside I can speak from my experience and I can tell you reviews absolutely matter to me. When I go to make a purchase in store, no matter how large or small, I will take a moment to quickly search the item. I scan the product description and then go right to the meat, the user review. I check the amount of ratings the product has and its star count. Then I sort by the 5 star posts and the 1 star posts. I need the best and the worst of the spectrum. From this I gauge what is the mean average of the quality of the product or service, and make my decision based upon these factors. If someone is only giving a one-sentence description I rarely regard it as worthy of my time, but if someone takes the time to spell out his or her reasoning behind the rating I take this as the truth and factor it in.  Do you do this as well? Something tells me you do. If you didn’t why would companies like Yelp exist!

USER REVIEWS

With user reviews clearly establishing themselves as the antithesis to traditional marketing, how do companies use this to their advantage?  The first step in making proper use of your consumer bases opinion is to find out where your product is being talked about.  This means start by searching your product name in the usual suspects like Yelp, Twitter, Facebook and Google reviews.  If you don’t already have an account on these platforms I highly suggest you do. The main reason you want an account is so people can link their reviews to your page. What you don’t want is a ton of conversation happening about you without you! This gives you an opportunity to not only understand your consumer base, but also respond to their reviews, positive and negative.

CUSTOMERS NEED SERVICE

Response is the key to the consumer lock. How annoying are those automated customer service numbers that instead of helping you, they end up doubling your frustration.  In a twisted game of cat and mouse, each push of the 0 button gives hope that it could lead to a real human.  This is now the norm in customer service, which in application is the exact opposite of what customer service should be. We’ve talked about the psychology of people trusting other people and this is no different. People don’t trust a robotic answering system. How could they? They aren’t real people and in my experience rarely lead me to the valued information I was seeking.

SUGGESTION BOX OF THE FUTURE

Social media has opened up brands to the love and scrutiny of the marketplace. For as many positive reviews there are just as many if not more negative reviews. This is just human nature. We expect everything to be perfect and when something falls short of our expectations we usually gripe about it. It takes a really special product to generate positive reviews. People just assume most products will live up to the hype and don’t feel a need to go to the internet to leave a confirmation of that.  People will go to the net to complain though. It’s the perfect medium for complaining. You can be hidden away and anonymously complain without fear of someone calling your bluff eye to eye. This is a powerful feeling for the complainer. They get a chance to have more than the people in the store hear their complaint and people are more than happy to band together on forums, blogs and online reviews in mutual gripe, which equals power in numbers.

ENGAGE THE RAGE

What’s a brand manager to do when they encounter all these positive and negative conversations? First things first you should attempt to answer. Being a wallflower does you no good in the social world. That’s why it’s called social! Engage in the conversation and bring something to the table that is useful.  Many top name brands (Nike, Samsung, Ford, Microsoft, UPS) have turned to Twitter to tackle their customer service needs.  This is useful to consumers who want that instant satisfaction of knowing someone is actually listening to them. Once the outlet to communicate has been established, consumers begin to respect the brand more and more. It makes you feel important when your feedback positive or negative is responded to. That feeling is what customer service used to be before all of our technology attempted to make that portion of the business automated too. This feeling is trust. Trust that you can count on the brand that you purchased a good or service from values your purchase and opinion.

SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE CHECKLIST

  • Respond to all inquiries (positive & negative) within 24 hours
  • Don’t provide standard responses that sound automated
  • Be unique and thoughtful with every communication
  • Reward those that participate socially. These are not only customers but can become “champions” for your brand.
  • Retaining a customer is the #1 goal. Go the extra mile to deliver

 

Top 5 Ways to Buoy Creative Collaboration

We’ve all attended those long, boring meetings where your stomach starts to growl and you stop paying attention because all you can think of is that bagel you should have grabbed in the office kitchen.

The host is monotonous and you have no idea why they even had the meeting; everyone else knows nothing more will come from it than the project email that was sent out earlier. The host expects this new widget, process, sales tool, etc. to simply apparate because it’s your teams’ job to meet deadlines.

These are the types of meetings that kill people’s imaginations, and turn them into drones that spend more time organizing their office supplies than they do working on their projects. If this is the type of employee you desire, then by all means keep doing what you are doing.

For those of us who enjoy our workplace and like the challenge that comes with new projects, consider these points when planning your next brainstorm/think-tank/hack-a-thon. 

  • Bring Food!
  • It’s like a date- you want to encourage good conversation; not make small talk about being hungry. You incentivize your invitees with food, and that inherently makes them happy to attend, and hope to be invited back in the future- just like a second date.
  • Bring in the Right People
  • It’s great to get different types of brains in a room thinking out loud together. Your team is strong, but sometimes it is the unadulterated mind of an intern that can spur the best idea of the year.
  • Dream Big!
  • Don’t worry about the feasibility of an idea right off the bat. You have a team of expert developers/problem solvers to figure out the logistics of innovation- whether it’s digital, process, branding, etc.
  • Visualize Ideas
  • Write down what your team comes up with. Whether it’s a whiteboard, notebook or stick in the dirt; take notes! Once an idea of focus is adopted, scribble a flow chart of the goal and how the idea will accomplish it. Sometimes looking at a drawing is simpler to understand than reading through bullet points.
  • Put Your Idea into Motion, and Finish!
  • How often does a great idea end up gathering dust on a shelf because you get too busy? Don’t let that happen! Spend the last portion of your meeting building an outline for project delegation and estimate a realistic time of delivery/launch.

 

 

What Do Brands Look For When Choosing Professional Bloggers?

Written by Courtney Velasquez, Mel Lockcuff, Brandi Jeter and Holly Pavlika

Every professional blogger desires a relationship with the brand. Consider this: there are over 181+ million blogs in the world, so brands have lots of options. So what do brands look for? The answer is a lot.

 They want you to have broad social footprint and results.

• Do they not only have a great blog, but also a strong Pinterest/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook following with engagement?

• Do they belong to a “blog-network” which is often a plus for added engagement and spreading of content?

• Does the blogger have the ability to amplify the message socially?

• Do they have a solid base of traffic and page-views?

• What is the blogger’s Google page rank?

• What is their Klout score? Yes, many brands still look at this.

• What affiliations does the blogger have? Badges, associations, rankings, awards matter.

• Are they engaging on social media channels and not just sharing links? Engaging in comments on their blog? Providing a regular link, which shows they are involved in the blogging community?

• Does the blogger also contribute to other publisher’s sites?

• How connected is the blogger?

They need a clear understanding of who you are:

Many brands look for bloggers to have a specialty– something unique.

• Does the blogger have creative twists on the story or are they clever about the imagery they use?

• What does the blogger have to say about themselves. Brands want to see a clear description of who the blogger is, what they are passionate about (ie. Mom of 3 girls, artist, foodie, professional background)

• Does the blogger have a professional photo? It tells the brand the blogger is serious about building their personal brand and the brand’s. Often brands will want to showcase a blogger in their communications so they want to know what the person looks like they will be featuring.

• What is their writing style? Does the blogger have a positive attitude?  Brands shy away from bloggers that are controversial.
• Does the blogger have a professional bio? And provided numerous ways to get in contact?

• How long has the blogger been blogging?

• How old are the children? Is the blogger married? Single? Brands want background and context.

Brands want bloggers to have a well-designed site.

• How is the site organized?

• Is the site visually appealing? (professional looking, not cluttered, well-organized)

• Is the content varied and identified easily through tabs?

• How easy is it to navigate the site?

• Are all the social sharing functions there?

• Is there a place to subscribe to the blog?

• Does the blogger offer access to their media kit?

• Is the content properly SEO optimized? (provides links to other blogs/site and tags)

• Does the site include rich media elements? (pictures & videos)

 Brands want bloggers to have professional chops.

• Does the blogger write high–quality content?

• Are they creative in making sponsored posts relevant and real? Do they have storytelling capabilities?

• Does the blogger have the ability to really think outside the box when it comes to products and campaigns?

• Freshness counts. When was the last time the blogger posted and how often?

• What is the balance between sponsored content and other posts?

• Does the blogger have an About.me page? Or have LinkedIn profile? 

Study Say Today’s Moms Are “Nomophobic”

So I know most moms sleep with their phones next to their beds and it’s the last thing they look at before they go to bed and the first thing they look at in the morning. A friend told me to shut mine off before going to bed the other night, but I told her I never do in case my kids have an emergency in the middle of the night. My daughter used to hide my smartphone from me so I’d pay attention to her. Yes, I’m guilty as charged of being “nomophobic.”

A new study by BabyCenter says we are afraid of being without our smartphones or “nomophobic.” I think you also need to add in a bit of “fomo” or fear of missing out.

In reality, smartphones are our remote controls for life. They help us juggle being a working parent and a mother. Smartphones give us sanity whether it’s apps that help us keep track of things or music that calms our nerves and keeps us pumping along life’s journey. They help us have information at our fingertips. Games help us de-stress. Our phones help us keep from getting lost. They are mother’s helpers, keeping kids occupied if we are willing to let the little ones pry them from our fingers. And for the social media connected mom, the smartphone keeps us in touch with news, friends and make informed purchase decisions. Of course, we take tons of photos and children today are probably the most photographed generation ever.

But am I nomophobic? Maybe. I know I would give up TV before I’d give up my phone. And I’m obsessive about where I keep it so I always know where it is. At least most of the time.

But Robi Ludwig, psychotherapist and BabyCenter.com contributor says, “Smartphones can be an important coping mechanism, as moms, especially new moms, may find difficulty adjusting to their new lives. However, the extreme dependence on smartphones and mobile devices can become a complex syndrome, with characteristics similar to obsessive-compulsive disorders.”

Wow. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. So I went to the International OCD Foundation to check and it said:

• Thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of the person’s control.

• The person does not want to have these ideas.

• He or she finds them disturbing and unwanted, and usually know that they don’t make sense.

• They come with uncomfortable feelings, such as fear, disgust, doubt or a feeling that things have to be done in a way that is “just right.”

• They take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values.

Well, I’m not a doctor, but I for one, can only agree that the last bullet may be an indication of OCD when it comes to my smartphone. And I’m positive most mothers would agree with me. We’re not singularly using our phones for everything we need.

The BabyCenter report revealed:

• Social Media: Nearly 70% of moms access social networks on her smartphone, 17% prefer their tablet and 14% prefer laptops.

• Email: 58% of moms use their smartphone to read email, but 57% prefer the larger keyboard on their laptop for writing and responding to messages.

• Entertainment: Half of moms use their tablet for watching TV and video, compared to only 31% who are most likely to use their laptop and 19% who are most likely to use their smartphone.

• Information: Moms are divided on which device they prefer, but smartphones are at the leading edge – 42% of moms say smartphones are their device of choice for information, followed by laptops (31%) and tablets (27%).

One thing for sure is moms love their smartphones. Call us nomophobic, fomo-aniacs or whatever; we need these tools to manage our busy lives. Could I spend a weekend without mine? I might just try it as an experiment and see what happens.

 

The Tech-Empowered Shopper

With technology continuing to evolve, consumers are gaining more control over their purchases, information seeking and the overall shopping experience. On the contrary, retailers that are able to pioneer such technology and tap into blogger outreach are able to cater to the new tech-empowered shopper. Inventions and apps are assisting shoppers to streamline their purchases.

Consumers are engaging in behavior that changes the landscape of the traditional shopping trip. Of the people that own a smartphone, 79% use their devices for shopping, as stated by Google Think Insights. However, the influence of technology affects path-to-purchase, in-store behavior and post-purchase evaluation.

 Path to Purchase

As usage of mobile devices continue to surpass desktop computers, it is probable that users are accessing store locations, hours, comparing prices, and finding deals, promotions or coupons through their phones. Consumers are searching for deals digitally before looking in-store.

Groupon, along with other coupon services, provide instant redemption deals. In fact, Google Think Insights reported that 88% of shoppers would research a product before making a purchasing decision. Consumers are armed with information before the shopping trip even begins.

In-Store Activity

The shopping experience itself is in the process of a massive adjustment. Already, experts are seeing ecommerce businesses grow and augmented realities become an addition to shopping.  However, there are some technologies that will revolutionize in-store behavior of shoppers.

Although it is not available to the general public, Google Glass has a product-price comparison app that works by viewing the merchandise. Interactive mirrors have been developed to show an outfit or make-up on a consumer with out even trying it on. Google Wallet is an app that enables payments and loyalty programs to be used through your phone. The technologies for in-store activity will progress to make shopping experiences seamless for consumers.

Post-Purchase Evaluation

Post-purchase evaluation is not necessarily changing form in that word of mouth, an age old advertising strategy, is becoming more influential with an on-line presence. Whereas neighbors would discuss the value of an appliance in passing, now that conversation can be shared on a global forum. This, more than anything, is giving consumers power by sharing product reviews and service evaluations.

These reviews are not something that retailers should just consider, it is becoming a behavior to expect. Nearly a quarter of purchases are shared on social networking sites according to Google Think Insights and that number will continue to rise with the increase of people on social networks.

Future Tech Empowerment

As technology becomes more prevalent in society, it is important to stay ahead of the curve in innovations. Already, consumer trends show that companies without the current technology are falling behind.

The future of shopper technology will continue to evolve and shake the traditional experience. Will baskets calculate products to lessen time at the cash register? Will there be registers? Or even stores? Speculations of the abandonment of an in-store experience are something every retailer should prepare for by leading class in technological advancement.

 

Google Hummingbird and Blog Marketing

Google Hummingbird and Influencer Marketing – Quality Content Always Wins

The Internet tripped over itself last week in reaction to Google’s announcement of a new algorithm (code named “Hummingbird”) powering the world’s best known search engine. Searching for the term “Google Hummingbird” itself brings back 501,000 posts, images and videos mostly trying to explain what this change will mean for consumers and producers of content. What does it mean for blog marketing?

In short, SEO is not dead, and the update should cause no one to lose traffic. The update added the ability for Google to understand context around natural language searches. Following up a search for the Washington Monument with the question “How tall is it?” will return the monument’s height. You can also say “Compare apples oranges” and Google will give you a breakdown of nutritional information for both fruits.

Content producers should still tag content with keywords relevant to their material. Keyword tagging will always contribute to SEO, but producing contextually relevant and original content will create more value in Google’s evolving world than mere keywords ever will.

Searchers want content that best meets their needs at the time and place they need it. I may not even know I want to try the newest brand of coconut water. I just want “the best way to hydrate after a 5K.” A blog post from a running enthusiast who drinks coconut water will find it’s way to me faster than any banner ad or ordinary product review.

No matter what changes Google rolls out in the future, influencers should always focus on the depth and authenticity of their content first and then layer on all the best practices that exist with keywords, plugins and syndication tools and techniques.

Contextually relevant quality content matters.

Period.