Welcome! This quarter’s roundup of important reads for marketing leaders includes inspirational creative approaches, top trends, quick hits and long analyses. There is plenty to take in as we race headlong into Q4 and 2018.
Let’s get started! First, look to the skies—at the campaigns for the August 21 Great American eclipse.
Marketing the Great American Eclipse 2017
Bravo to the marketing teams who latched on to the eclipse-related pop culture zeitgeist in a smart, delightful and remarkable way.
Krispy Kreme’s Chocolatey Tie-In
“The solar eclipse is a rare occasion providing a total sensory experience for viewers across the continental U.S.” said Jackie Woodward, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’ CMO, in a statement. “Chocolate will have the same effect as we introduce a first-time chocolate glazing of our iconic Original Glazed Doughnut.”
Airbnb & National Geographic Partner Up
This was an epic sweepstakes with an out-of-this-world prize experience from two leading brands.
On August 21, 2017, millions will witness an event that hasn’t happened across the U.S. for 99 years: a total solar eclipse. ⠀ To celebrate this phenomenon, we've created a #NightAt for the ages: fly above the clouds with noted astrophysicist @JedidahIslerPhD and experience the event in its full, unobstructed glory. You'll also get to stay for a night of stargazing in a custom-built geodesic dome. While the rest of the world gathers to witness as Nature puts on this show, you'll be one of the first to witness the eclipse's unforgettable magic. ⠀ For your chance at this #NightAt from @Airbnb and @NatGeo, click the link in our bio. ⠀ Contest open only to residents of US and Canada (excluding Quebec). No purchase necessary. Must be 21+ to enter. Enter by 8/10/17. See link to official rules in bio for details. ⠀ Photo credit: @chrisburkard
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Volvo P0wns the Eclipse
Volvo Car USA designed and developed a custom eclipse viewer for the standard panoramic moonroof in the all-new 2018 XC60. Viewers were shipped to select Volvo retailers along the eclipse’s path, allowing individuals to view the August 21, 2017 event safely and comfortably in the all-new XC60.
Taking it further, Volvo’s “Racing The Sun” campaign broadcasted the 2017 total solar eclipse in 4K high-resolution, 360-degree video and, for the first time, in immersive virtual reality.
Top 5 Trends in Content Marketing
These are my top five articles about the practice of content marketing (and content marketing measurement) worthy a read from the past quarter—full of ideas, advice and perspective as we begin to plan for 2018.
1. Quality Over Quantity
“Content marketing is getting much more competitive, and in order to continue seeing any sort of ROI from it, you have to be willing to do more. You can’t keep doing what you know or what’s worked in the past. You have to adapt, evolve, test, and try. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and money.” [Emphasis mine.]
This is the ammunition you need to morph your content marketing for next year. While the author, William Harris, focused on ecommerce examples, the advice is sound for any product/brand.
2. Digital Creative Is Under Threat
Social media is the great leveller but it has also reduced quality
A lot of online advertising tends to be formulaic and project-based
The Facebook / Google duopoly means other options aren’t considered
I have all the feels while reading this column by Eric Visser. If the trend in content market is quality over quantity (as described in #1 above), then this should change.
3. Less Friction, More Speed
Buyer journeys are more fluid across multiple channels. They’re likely accessing you from a mobile device. Anything that stands in their way to getting the information they want increases friction—the buyer is likely to bail on your form and find the information they need elsewhere. Fortunately, there are better, fastier and easier ways to engage your target customer.
- Increase top-of-the-funnel brand recognition
- Real-time messaging (because no one likes making phone calls these days)
- Social retargeting (similar audience targeting, etc)
- Trip wires (shorten the sales cycle with low priced, trial offer)
4. Customer Lifetime Value as KPI
Why Your Performance Marketing Organization's Measurement Strategy Should Be Focused on Lifetime Customer Value:
“Brands must shift their focus from individual channel per-click or per-acquisition metrics to overall business KPIs. Only then will they be able to understand real-time performance in the macro terms of business results, as well as adjust those strategies in the moment for maximum impact. Yes, this is challenging, but the marketers succeeding are those who convince the C-level to move away from set budgets based on ROI metrics to flexible budgets based on business goals.”
5. Experience As a Metric
“With conversion rates steady at three to 15 percent, what really needs to concern us is what is happening to the other 85 to 97 percent?” writes Liraz Margalit, PhD. She is a web psychologist, a lecturer and director of behavioral analytics at Clicktale.
The Best Kind of Infographic
This is the classic social media universe visualization. I still remember version 1. It was a simpler time, to be sure. The Conversation Prism remains a valuable tool for anyone working in social media.
Helpful How Tos And Tips
1. How to Deal With All the Bullshit On Social Media (Lifehacker)
- Breaks down the behavioral psychology behind sharing (bullshit) and offers fast ways to detect bullshit on social media. Unfortunately, an essential life skill these days.
2. How to Lead With Empathy (Fast Company)
- Thank goodness there’s a new breed of CEO defined less by “command and control” and more by “inspire and empower”. Article focuses on Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Bonus: here are the seven books Satya says you need to read to lead smarter.
- Key Takeaway: “Minimizing your Bluetooth usage minimizes your exposure to very real vulnerabilities. That includes an attack called BlueBorne, announced this week by the security firm Armis, which would allow any affected device with Bluetooth turned on to be attacked through a series of vulnerabilities.”
- TL;DR? Push through until you have exhausted all possible ideas.
If you’ve made it this far, take a brain break with this video. As an aside, slow television is a trend to watch.
The best bit:
“While major camera companies make product updates pretty frequently, Leica’s anti-evolution stance shows it’s a force to be reckoned with. Its ability to keep still in spite of sudden—and sometimes odd—environment changes (everyone’s looking at you, fidget spinners) puts emphasis on the brand’s tenacity and the durability of its range.”
Mark Duffy nails it with such gems as Copybot Custodian and Transformer.
$4 billion, according to this analysis of financial filings via Motley Fool. ZOMG.
14 key takeaways from Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends 300+ slide deck.
The social network will use Promoted Pins, Promoted Video and Promoted Boards for the Right the Ratio campaign, with Pins featuring advice on topics such as how to ask for a raise, as well as more general topics, like leadership skills, and advice for men on how to become better allies to women.
…And Long Reads
Finally, some thought-provoking analyses. Save these great marketing-related long reads from Q3 2017 for later.
1. Can Real Life Compete with An Instagram Playground? (Alyssa Berznak, The Ringer)
What happens to art, or travel, or the outside world in general when taking a photograph becomes an experience itself?
2. No, Your Can't Use My Photos On Your Brand's Instagram For Free (Max Dubler)
Sticking with Instagram, this is one creator’s take on brands who misuse the platform.
3. The Artificial Intelligence Opportunity: A Camel to Cars Moment (Avinash Kaushik)
4. Inside The Partisan Fight for Your Newsfeed (Craig Silverman, Buzzfeed)
How ideologues, opportunists, growth hackers, and internet marketers built a massive new universe of partisan news on the web and on Facebook.