Why Businesses Will Struggle to Adapt to 2018’s Social Marketing Challenges

Social Marketing, Influencer Marketing
Image Credit: PonyWang/iStock


In its ongoing efforts to redefine popular beauty standards as part of its decade-long Real Beauty campaigns, Dove learned the hard way about the thin line that exists between positive social message and controversy. For a company that has so successfully promoted positive body image in the past, it must have come as a shock that an idea so well thought out (or so it thought) ended up being so misinterpreted.

But that’s just one of many examples that what looks good on paper might not look as good on Twitter.

While the marketing mistakes we saw in 2017 might have taught us a thing or two about social marketing, 2018 might bring with it a fresh list of public relations mishaps, legal issues and other unanticipated challenges.

By looking at trends, we can predict and prepare for what’s to come in 2018.

People will expect authenticity

As brand messaging, giving to charity and claims of “green” become popular ways to attract customers, consumers are putting their guard up and being very selective about what they believe.

“Consumers are no longer being impressed by new old tactics that used to be woven together into cause marketing,” Electra Cruises CEO Randy Clayton said. “Going forward, businesses will need to be more believable.”

The answer to this is authenticity. To be able to connect with consumers at a personal level, social marketers––and marketers in general––will need to cultivate an authentic voice that customers can easily identify with. The messages sent out must reach customers, be genuine and at the same time enhance brand principles—something that’s not been very popular in 2017.

So, what can you do to make your voice more believable?

“The time is ripe for transitory content,” RockHer CEO Jim Vernon said. “Social marketing will need to pick up the momentum set on transitory content such as Instagram Stories and Facebook Live videos in 2017. This type of content has a better shot at making your brand credible, as opposed to other types of content, which look and feel rehearsed and perfected.”

Brands will be required to be even more transparent

Back in 2015, Machinima had to settle charges imposed on it by the Federal Trade Commission for failing to adequately disclose paid endorsements to YouTube influencers for the promotion of Microsoft’s Xbox One.

This is a case of influencer marketing done right (Machinima had promised its client 19 million views) but against the law.

With the rising application of influencer marketing, sponsored content and other related techniques taking center stage in social marketing, brands are under a lot of scrutiny. This has called for more transparency on their part in the way that they leverage these methods to get their products out there.

Speaking of the Machinima settlement, Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explained, “When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they’re looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch.”

Lawsuit Settlement Funding CEO Chris Janish said, “The legal aspect of advertising has long been a non-issue, but now, companies will need to carefully consider this area before they can even begin to sell their message.”

With such developments, influencer marketing might become irrelevant, or at least not as effective in 2018 as it has been in the previous years. Customers will find it hard to believe a message if they can clearly see that an influencer has been paid to push it.

Managing messaging across channels will be more challenging

Traditionally, the idea of optimizing content for different channels was to take the same piece of content and make small changes to fit it into the target channel. However, as it is, every piece of content has to be created for a particular channel, from the start.

The content-creation process is changing drastically, and social marketers will need to adapt to these changes. They will need to constantly look back at past content and see what has worked before, including the social data and target audience information.

“Each platform provides unique opportunities for you to tell the story of your brand,” Scorum CEO Vladislav Artemyev said. “To succeed in each, social marketers have to clearly define the type of content to create for their audience in each of the channels. They have to know the key pillars of each platform; what content matches the target audience, and which types to do away with; and the audience engagement levels on each platform.”

While 2017 gave us lots of Kendall Jenner Pepsi ads, it also gave us Heineken’s Worlds Apart ads. So, nothing is predetermined. Some marketers will still rise above the challenges and use the trends to their advantage. But the time to act is now.

Article source: http://www.adweek.com/digital/james-jorner-effective-inbound-marketing-guest-post-2018-social-marketing-challenges/


YouTube to Invest $5 Million This Year in Creators Who Promote ‘Empathy and Understanding’

Social Media, YouTube, Videos

Variety Magazine | By 

YouTube is looking for some upbeat PR — pushing the idea that the Google-owned global video platform can be a force for social good, after suffering an advertiser backlash in 2017 over objectionable content that was being monetized.

In 2018, YouTube said it will invest $5 million in its Creators for Change program, including production and marketing support. The program, which launched in September 2016, is aimed at boosting the profile of YouTubers whose videos “counter hate and promote tolerance.”

Since launching Creators for Change, YouTube has teamed with 39 creators from around the world who have released dozens of videos encouraging empathy and understanding. This year, YouTube plans to engage more creators in the program as well as develop new tools and guidance for empowering the broader community.

“Video is a powerful medium to open minds to new perspectives and shared experiences,” Juniper Downs, YouTube’s head of public policy, wrote in a blog post. “Creators prove that to us every single day. And we think Creators for Change in 2018 will reach and inspire even bigger audiences.”

Over the next several months, according to Downs, YouTube will announce the recipients of the production grants through the renewed investment. More info on the program is available at youtube.com/yt/creators-for-change.

On Wednesday, YouTube is hosting the Creators for Change Summit in London with several hundred creators in attendance.

Those include Dina Tokio (pictured above), a British beauty vlogger who uses her interview series “#YourAverageMuslim” to challenge perceptions about Muslim women; L-Fresh the Lion, an Australian rapper of Sikh descent, who created a two-part track to challenge racism; and Rosianna Rojas who in partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency traveled to a remote area of Colombia to document stories about refugees.

Last year, hundreds of advertisers froze spending on YouTube after spots were discovered running in front of objectionable content. That included terrorism and hate videos, as well as videos with young children targeted by pedophiles.

YouTube has taken a series of steps to curb violent and disturbing videos — and to reduce the chance that any ads will run against outré content. Most recently, last week YouTube announced a stricter set of criteria for creators who are eligible to participate in its revenue-sharing program and said it will start manually reviewing all videos in its Google Preferred premium ad program.

Article source: http://variety.com/2018/digital/news/youtube-5-million-creators-for-change-anti-hate-empathy-videos-1202675018/

Mars earbuds are equipped with space-age translation tech

artificial intelligence, digital, Digital Trends, Earbuds
Image source: digitaltrends.com

Over the past year or so, earbuds with translation tech have been popping up everywhere, signaling the evolution of an industry. Headphones are now capable of being more than just a means to deliver music — if the tech is good enough, they can act as a bridge between disparate cultures, bringing people together to foster mutual understandings.

The new Bluetooth-enabled Mars wireless earbuds, a collaborative project from Line Corporation and Naver Corporation (a leading internet provider in Korea and Line’s parent company), aim to do just that. Boasting real-time ear-to-ear translation of 10 different languages, Mars is unique in that it is designed for each person to wear one earbud (as opposed to needing two pairs). The earbuds were named a CES 2018 Best of Innovation Honoree at CES Unveiled New York on Thursday, November 9.

Scheduled for release in early 2018, Mars support Line’s Clova artificial intelligence, a virtual assistant which takes cues from Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. Aside from translation, Clova can help users stream music from several sources, check the weather forecast, and control Internet of Things (IoT) devices, all via voice commands. Line touts Clova as the first A.I. platform developed specifically with Asian markets in mind; Clova integration will be available at launch in Korea and roll out to other markets over time, though we don’t have any sort of timetable.

Microphones inside the Mars — Line doesn’t specify but we assume they’re bone-conduction mics — feature automatic ambient noise blocking, ensuring that users can take phone calls comfortably, even in loud, busy environments. For translation purposes, supported languages (for now) include: English, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indonesian. We don’t yet know how much the Mars will cost or where they will be available.

In addition to Mars, Line launched a smart speaker in Japan in 2017 called the Clova Wave. Line also announced a series of kid-targeted speakers called the Champ, featuring anthropomorphized Line characters Brown (a bear) and Sally (a baby chicken), but we haven’t heard anything about them since. Line is perhaps best known for its messenger app and social media platform, which is popular in South Korea.

Article source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/mars-earbuds/

Business Intelligence: Leading the Way to New Digital Opportunities

Business Intelligence, Ideas, Business

Business Intelligence: Leading the Way to New Digital Opportunities
By Kym Gordon Moore

How can you make the right and most efficient decision when identifying better solutions to improve on and apply to the overall performance of your organization? Business Intelligence tools make managing, gathering and analyzing important raw data or nebulous data less difficult and quicker. Data mining, collecting, and processing analytics, queries, and reporting are all elements related to the discipline of business intelligence (BI). These tools can help you keep track of organizational and individual activities, assist end-users in getting the right data, recall business decisions or track the progress of projects more efficiently than previously applied data.

Ever changing marketing trends and targeting customers through their behavior and traffic patterns is the driving force for integrating business intelligence tools that provide greater insights than the way we previously used manual marketing forecasts. Actionable information that business managers and corporate executives can access in order to make informed business decisions can affect the organization’s overall performance and growth.

Yet how do you determine what is the best software to apply to your organizational needs? If you’re searching for a buyer’s guide for software services based on their merits, you can find some transparent and reputable review sites to help you uncover the best software tools for cloud computing, forecasting, benchmarking, mobile, predictive analytics, big data, and visualization.

Dashboard software creates data visualizations (graphs, charts, metrics) that monitor client interactions, revenue, reports, and scorecards. Although dashboard software monitors client reactions, customer relationship management (CRM) and BI Tools are not to be confused. CRM is a database that stores customer sales history and interactions, which you could segment for greater productivity and profitability. Business intelligence tools combine software for customer acquisition and retention. Together, the two can impact real-world numbers through testing and experimenting.

Business Intelligence technologies and analytic tools give more accurate reports while saving time and money. With the capability to analyze historical data and forecast a holistic view of their market, organizations need to understand analytics in order to make their company compete efficiently while understanding big data in real-time to deliver an optimal customer experience.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?Business-Intelligence:-Leading-the-Way-to-New-Digital-Opportunities&id=9754971

Pittsburgh Zoo reaches out to millennials with new app

Inbound Marketing, Animals, Digital, Pittsburgh Zoo
Image Credit: Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette

Snap a selfie in the Islands exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and you may end up with big sunglasses on your face and a pineapple drink in your hand — at least that’s what might appear on your smartphone screen if you’re using the zoo’s new app.

The app, which was developed by the Station Square-based Schell Games and launched this spring, features a dozen Snapchat-style photo filters that the zoo communications team hopes patrons will share on social media.

A lion’s mane appears around a photo subject’s head when using the app near the lions’ den, and patrons can appear as though they’re scuba diving in the aquarium.

“We’re reimagining what this experience can be for that more screen-minded individual,” said Laura Gething, communications manager of the Pittsburgh Zoo, a nonprofit with the mission of conservation.

Ninety-two percent of 18- to 29-year-olds own a smartphone, according to a Pew Research Center study this year.

The app is just one way the zoo aims to reach the millennial and post-millennial generations.

According to Pew, millennials are those born between 1981 and 1997 — now the largest living generation. Other analyses define the post-millennial generation, or Generation Z, as those born after 1995.

“Kids automatically are intrigued by zoos, but how do we make our facility a great place for other than just that standard audience?” Ms. Gething said.

Experts find that…Continue Reading

Article source: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/tech-news/2017/07/10/Pittsburgh-Zoo-reaches-out-to-screen-minded-Millennials-with-new-app/stories/201707070184

A Digital Shift in the New Era of Customer Experience

Customer Experience, Age of the Customer, Digital, Customers

A Digital Shift in the New Era of Customer Experience
By Kym Gordon Moore

How do you define, and cultivate the behavior of your customer without overwhelming them? Organizations tend to obsess over ways to innovate and remain competitive as a leader in their respective industry. All too often, this obsession puts more emphasis on the operational and revenue strategy versus the welfare of their end-user, the customer. Customers are savvier, more creative and have consistently proven how the old marketing focus and platform is now obsolete.

The customer experience goes beyond the simplicity of good service. It involves engagement, trust, education, solutions, how well you treat your workforce, social responsibility, and customer evangelism. It’s about connecting to the emotion of the customer and treating them as a human and not a chatbot. How do you identify opportunities that focus on your customer, build core business data from them and better understand their behavior without disrupting their experience? The core of today’s business ecosystem puts the customer first. By initially engaging with the customer, you can get a better handle on identifying their problem through researching opportunities for finding solutions to satisfy their needs.

Here are 3 primary and important reasons why it is imperative to rethink the digital shift and plan of action in this new era of the customer experience.

1. Technology is driving change. Business is social and digitized. The language customers speak is different and faster.

2. Current customer journeys no longer comply with traditional marketing funnels. Traditional customer journey stages have become obsolete. Customers do not flow in a linear fashion with new journey models, nor do they experience each stage of the process in the same fashion.

3. Build relationships, trust and earn loyalty. Focusing on building relationships and earning loyalty through delivering exceptional experiences throughout the customer journey is key for marketers. Marketing and sales teams can effectively grow tribes of customers who will advocate on their behalf and help organically grow their business to strengthen their brand.

Over 3 decades ago we strongly connected to customers through a brick and mortar location. We were in the driver’s seat guiding them on decisions based on our suggestions of what we felt they needed. They trusted our expertise whether they needed what they purchased or not. Such transactions oftentimes resulted in buyer’s remorse, which worked against repeat business.

In our customer-led market, we appeal to a larger base of consumers. You must build your business around your customers instead of the other way around. Building relationships, harnessing your resources to create a consumer-friendly culture, earning customer trust and loyalty by taking touch points and interactions seriously, will not pigeonhole ideas but will encourage the customer to feel comfortable getting on board your current digital marketing vehicle.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?A-Digital-Shift-in-the-New-Era-of-Customer-Experience&id=9736608

Is Hyper-Reality a Real Life Threat?

Virtual Reality, Hyperreality, Augmented Reality, 3D Imagery

Have you ever gotten so caught up in watching a game or a video through virtual reality, that you were unable to consciously decipher whether it was real or not? There are several technological applications designed for play or entertainment that add new dimensions of digital components where the real and virtual worlds enhance each other. Such technology transports end-users into a new age of collaboration and thinking.

Virtual reality (VR), a common application and acronym we are familiar with, offers digital recreation of a real life setting. Typically VR headsets are very popular with gamers, entertainment, media, films, and design, by merging the power of 3-dimensional graphics in an artificial environment. Augmented reality (AR) provides virtual elements in a setting that overlay the real world. Mixed reality (MR) on the other hand, sometimes referred to as Hybrid reality (HR) merges and interrelate the real and virtual worlds, which reacts to each other in real-time environments and visualizations.

Leaders in the tech industry are doing some revolutionary things with motion-activated commands and holograms. VR and AR technology can possibly make a great impact on the medical field. While we are making quantum leaps between virtual, augmented and hybrid worlds, are we also experiencing cautionary symptoms of hyperreality? Hyperreality, a postmodern semiotic concept, coined by French Sociologist and Cultural Theorist, Jean Baudrillard, (according to his book, Simulacra and Simulation), explains a human condition in which the inability to consciously distinguish simulation from the real world really exists.

Technology is reflecting entertainment, reality, and function in radical ways. Of course, there are discussions from various non-tech individuals who seem to agree that addictions to simulated reality, particularly where young people are involved, sometimes gives evidence of real-time life encounters handled through the lens of the 3-D world. For example, kids may not truly understand the consequences resulting from the danger of handling an unsecured weapon and mimicking a VR fight scene that could have fatal consequences.

So what do you think? With such amazing software used to create entertainment for these devices, can hyperreality become such a threat that many gamers may not be able to logically distinguish hybrid reality from the real world?