September 27, 2014 by
This is my 239th blogpost. That may be more than some, but not as many as other bloggers I know.
Like others, this blog began as an outlet for expression. I was starting a business. Like others who have followed this path, I said if not now, when. Only the when was in the midst of the worst recession since the great depression. This blog became a way of coping and putting values and beliefs out there when not much was coming in.
Writing helped me through hard times. Circumstances improved. Today, this blog is one of our most valuable assets for a full service digital (digital, social, mobile) consultancy and agency that build brands using proven relationship principles and ROI.
Research shows I’m not alone. How? Here are 10 studies that show writing helps health and well-being.
- PUTS YOU IN TOUCH WITH YOURSELF: Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. – PyschCentral
- MAKES YOU MORE OPTIMISTIC: People in a study who expressed gratitude in writing once a week for two months were more optimistic about life (and, interestingly, exercised more), compared with people who didn’t. – Harvard Business Review
- REDUCES STRESS, AIDS IMMUNITY: Writing about difficult, even traumatic, experiences appears to be good for health on several levels – raising immunity and other health measures and improving life functioning. – American Psychological Association
- SPEEDS HEALING: Writing down your thoughts and feelings after a traumatic event can actually make physical wounds heal faster, according to a study from New Zealand researchers. – Scientific America
- INCREASES RESILIENCE: Studies show that writing during difficult times may help you find meaning in life’s challenges and become more resilient in the face of obstacles. – University of Minnesota
- HELPS YOU SLEEP BETTER: Spending just 15 minutes a night writing down what you’re thankful for could do wonders for your sleep, according to an Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being study. Researchers found that study participants who wrote down a list of things they were grateful for before bed experienced longer, and better, sleep. – Psychology Today
- DECREASES ILLNESS: In one study, five months after writing, a significant interaction emerged such that writing about trauma, one’s best possible self, or both were associated with decreased illness compared with controls. – Southern Methodist University
- REDUCES DEPENDENCE ON DRUGS AND DOCTORS: In a study of college students, one group wrote about personally traumatic life events for 15 minutes on four consecutive days. The other group of students wrote about trivial topics. Compared to those who wrote about trivia, the students who wrote about traumatic experiences used fewer pain relievers over the next six months. They also visited the campus health center less often. – Aetna
- HELPS CANCER PATIENTS THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT THEIR DISEASE: A study showed that expressive writing could help cancer patients not only think about their disease in a different way, but also improve their quality of life. – The Oncologist
- IMPROVES OVERALL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: Participants who wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings reported significant benefits in both objectively assessed and self-reported physical health 4 months later, with less frequent visits to health centers and a trend towards fewer days out of role owing to illness. – Pennebaker Study
In many of these studies, participants wrote for as little as 15 minutes a day but did it regularly. Is this investment in writing worth it for your health and well being?
July 06, 2014 by
Content marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant, and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.
How important is content marketing to profitably running a business?
The marketing decisions any company on the internet has to make is how to invest between “owned,” (a website, video, CRM system), “earned,” (communications that commented, liked and/or shared) and “paid” (ads – search, display, banner, native) properties. Anything a company can do is going to fit in one of these areas.
What sort of return should your company expect from content marketing investments in these areas? Here are 30 hard facts about the content marketing to drive ROI.
- 93% of B2B marketers report to using content marketing in their marketing mix (source: Custom Content Council)
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful and 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. (Inbound Writer)
- 86% of B2C marketers include content marketing in their marketing mix (source: Content Marketing Institute)
- 81% create content for social media (source: Custom Content Council)
- 73% of B2B organizations have a person dedicated to overseeing content marketing strategy (source: Content Marketing Institute)
- 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council)
- 58% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their budgets on content marketing in the next 12 months (source: Content Marketing Institute)
- 55% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their budgets on content marketing in the next year (source: Custom Content Marketing Institute)
- 40-40% are expecting to increase their output for web updates, SEO content and social content next year (source: Custom Content Council)
- 30% of B2B budgets are currently allocated to content marketing (source: Custom Content Council)
- 28% of B2C budgets are currently allocated to content marketing (source: Custom Content Council)
- 43.9 billion was spent on custom content spending on production and distribution last year (up 9.2% versus the previous year) (source: Custom Content Council)
- 97% of websites with blogs see more indexed pages on search engines (source: Content+)
- 82% of consumers trust a company more when the CEO/leadership team are active social media users (source: TopRank)
- 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing (source: HubSpot)
- 70% of people want to learn about product through content rather than traditional advertising (source: Business Intelligence)
- 67% more leads per month on average are generated by B2B companies that blog than non-blogging firms (Social Media B2B)
- 50% of buying decisions are made because of word of mouth (source: Content+)
- Roughly 50% of marketers struggle with producing enough content, and producing content that engages (source: Content Marketing Institute)
- 23% of all time online is spent on social media and blogs (source: Content Marketing Institute)
- 10-20% of website content drives 90% of it’s web traffic; 0.5% of that content drives over 50% of traffic (source: Inbound Writer)
- 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day (AOL)
- Top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media are interesting content (Content+)
- Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links (Content+)
- 79% of marketers report that their organizations are shifting to branded content (source: Forrester)
- 77% of business buyers prefer different content at various stages of the product research process (source: SalesForce)
- 72% of Marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements (source: Content Council)
- 69% say it’s superior to direct mail and PR (source: Content Council)
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads (source: Business Marketing Insider)
- 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (Mashable)
- three content marketing tactics that deliver the highest ROI are featured articles (cited by 62% of marketers), video (52%) and white papers (46%) (source: eMarketer)
To understand the anatomy of content marketing, below is an infographic from Content+.
Do these facts convince you content marketing could change your ROI?
June 07, 2014 by
Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
If the old dog is the C-suite and competency in digital are the new tricks, the jury is out. But the C-Suite wants to learn. That’s according to three sources: IBM Global C-Suite Study, MIT Sloan Management Review and Gartner Digital Marketing Spending Survey.
What in particular? Here are 23 lessons in digital the C-Suite wants to learn.
- 94% of CMO’s believe advanced analytics play a big role in helping them realize their goals (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 87% of CMO’s want to integrate cross-channel touch points (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 83% of CMO’s want to put analytics in place to capture customer insights (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 79% of CEO’s plan to build digital ecosystems capable of supporting complex customer interactions (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 78% of executives and managers say achieving digital transformation will be critical for their organization within two years (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- 78% want social networks to foster collaboration (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 70% of marketing organizations have a chief technologist on payroll; 80% of them report to marketing (source: Gartner Digital Marketing Spending Survey)
- 69% want a digitally enabled supply chain (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 67% of CMOs feel under prepared because they have made very little progress in coping with social media (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 64% say the pace of technology change in their organization is too slow (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- 63% of CMO’s say their companies lack a cohesive social media plan (source: IBM Global C-Suite Study)
- 53% indicate their leaders say they “don’t have time” for digital transformation (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- 52% say their organization doesn’t even know how to proceed with digital transformation (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- Up to 50% of digital marketing activities are outsourced (source: Gartner Digital Marketing Spending Survey)
- 45% of C-Suite executive say they are highly or somewhat dissatisfied with their management structure for digital (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- 41% of savings from digital marketing are reinvested (source: Gartner Digital Marketing Spending Survey)
- 40% say their company resists digital transformation with a “this is the way we’ve always done it” explanation (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- 38% say digital transformation is a permanent fixture on their CEO’s agenda, and only 36% say their CEO has shared a vision for digital transformation with employees (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- 27% say the critical time to implement digital transformation has passed— meaning they’ve missed the boat and are now just trying to survive (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- 25% of companies will have a chief digital officer in the C-suite by 2015 (source: Gartner Digital
- 23% of respondents fear they’ll lose influence in their organizations if they push for a digital transformation (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- Only 15% of companies rank in the “most mature” stage of digital transformation, while 65% are considered “least mature” (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
- Only 14% says they are highly satisfied with the management structure for digital (source: MIT Sloan Management Review)
If you’re in the C-Suite and want to improve your company’s digital competency, consider a Mini-MBA in digital marketing at Rutgers Executive Executive where I teach or a University of California Extension Courses. Or just get in touch with me.
Does this convince you the C-Suite wants to learn digital? Do you think you can teach an old dog new tricks?
May 24, 2014 by
(full infographic below)
There are differences marketing to a business versus marketing to a consumer.
When you market B2B:
- Decision making is based more on logic than emotion
- Cost of a sale is more expensive
- Time to make a sale takes longer
- Businesses work to streamline the buying process to save time and money
- Multiple people are involved in the process
Maybe for these reasons, many people think social media marketing cannot work in B2B like it is in B2C, or does not work in general.
If you need convincing, here are 15 B2B case studies that prove Social Media ROI.
- ADP: Developed a content marketing campaign to connect and engage with their target audience on a ADP solution using white papers and a diagnostic assessment tool. The campaign generated over $1 million in new sales opportunities with several deals closed within the first 3 months of launch.
- CISCO: Has long been engaged in social media activity, often running campaigns alongside its ongoing engagement strategy. To demonstrate the extent to which this has impacted the company, it launched a new router using only social channels and saved an estimated $100,000.
- CROWE HORWATH: the public accounting firm used 48 pieces of content in 4 different topic areas, this campaign targeted C-level prospects in financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets across the buying cycle. Content tactics included: executive briefs, case studies, infographics, checklists, Q and A, and Brainshark video. 778 contacts were engaged with a 70% open rate (vs. 10%), 2 engagement worth $250k in revenue.
- DEMANDBASE: A B2B marketing cloud, helped B2B marketers make the right content technology investment by using a white paper, infographic, webinar, Slideshare and a live presentation to spotlight tools that can maximize the power of content. The results of the campaign generated 1,700 leads, 125 webinar participants, 5,000 views on Slideshare and $1 million in new business.
- FISHER TANK: Makes giant, above-ground welded steel tanks. With clients in the fuel industries, waste water, pulp & paper and other industrial and municipal areas, projects tend to be big (multi-million dollar) and take a long time to sell (12 months and longer). For more than 60 years, the company has made its sales primarily through cold calling and referrals from existing clients. So it took some moxy to launch a content marketing strategy online. The plan including sprucing up the website, integrating a blog and social sharing, and offering some valuable content by free download. The campaign increased web traffic by 119%, traffic from social media by 4800%, lead conversions by 3900%, quote requests by 500% and new qualified sales opportunities by $3.4 million.
- IBM: developed a social sales program for their inside sales team. They identified their target audience and monitored social media platforms for relevant topics and conversation. The company trained their sales team to nurture online relationships and drive prospects to team members’ websites. As a result of this focus on social sales and personnel training, IBM saw a 400% in sales.
- LINKEDIN: Had to be convert to social selling. After the release of tools such as Sales Navigator and TeamLink, LinkedIn’s own sales team began seeing significant results. Ralf VonSosen, the company’s head of marketing for sales solutions notes, “We started seeing a 50% increase in leads to meeting conversion rates.”
- LOGICALL: A company that focuses on inbound and outbound customer management solutions, uses content assets such as emails, microsite and ebook, Logicalis developed a thought leadership effort that supported sales teams by enabling custom messaging based on the prospects interaction with the campaign. With a target audience of about 2,000, nearly $8 million in new pipeline business was closed.
- MAERSK: Danish shipping company Maersk first began using social back in 2011 to raise brand awareness, gain insight into the market, increase employee satisfaction and get closer to its customers, It focuses on the stories that emerge from within the business, such as how it is helping fuel a boom in the sale of Kenyan avocados and where its staff come from. Its presence on each network is tailored to that platform, so for example on LinkedIn it promotes job vacancies and publishes articles about the work culture within the business, while on Instagram it encourages followers to post photos of its ships using the hashtag #Maersk. Maersk now has more than 1.5m Facebook fans (of which around 15% are customers) and 12,000 Twitter followers, as well as active accounts on Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+ and
- OPENTEXT: A software solution for enterprise information management, created a personalized new customer onboarding site offering a variety of assets (white papers, checklists, product pages, ebooks, case studies) and content to welcome new clients and provide upsell, cross-sell opportunities. The campaign also included a two phase nurturing program. 1,700 new contacts were identified along with 31 new opportunities worth $1.8 million.
- OPTUM: A health services business, created an integrated marketing campaign to support the launch of a new solution, support sales and build thought leadership. The content marketing mix included: advertorials, display ads, email, direct mail and a campaign website. The successful campaign earned a 23.5 lead to conversion rate, 475% increase in website traffic, 2,500+ resource downloads, 28% increase in YoY blog followers and $52 million in contract value of new business with less than $ 1,000,000 invested.
- RS COMPONENTS: The electronic product distribution company created a specific social hub, spanning four different languages, having the purpose of being a collaboration and engagement hub for Electronic Design Engineering. One of the centrepieces of the site is the free tool store, which includes a free design tool that’s been downloaded more than 60,000 times and the site itself gathered more than 45,000 members within its first 12-month period.
- SAP: The global strategy was aimed at enabling cross-cultural information to be efficiently shared around the company. SAP Latin AmericaOne year after implementing this strategy SAP Latin America had more than 100,000 fans and followers (an increase of 900%) and achieved a 17% interaction rate across the region, while a campaign featuring a social app targeting specific buying centers drove more than 12,000 visitors and a 15% engagement rate. has four Facebook pages, four Twitter feeds and two LinkedIn accounts. These profiles are split out by language (e.g. Portuguese and Spanish) rather than country and aim at achieving a split of 20% promotion material vs. 80% of interesting, engaging content for its community.
- SHIPSERV: It’s difficult to imagine the maritime industry getting to grips with social media, but Shipserv one of the leading industry marketplaces, proves that in can be done very successfully.As part of a wider marketing strategy and customer engagement strategy, various social approaches were taken, resulting in greater site traffic, alongside increased brand awareness and lead opportunities.From an initial $30,000 social media marketing investment, it’s estimated the overall results achieved would have cost more than $150,000 through traditional media.
- XEROX: Created a targeted “Get Optimistic” campaign to connect with 30 top accounts and partnered with Forbes to create a magazine that offered relevant business tips. 70% of targeted companies interacted with the microsite, readership increased 300-400% over previous email campaigns, added 20,000 new contacts, generated 1,000+ scheduled appointments, and get this: yielded $1.3 BILLION in pipeline revenue.
If you need more convincing, you can download my complimentary eBook, 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media Marketing ROI. It’s free with just a just a click on the sidebar of this website. No information is required. It’s been downloaded by over 100,000 people so far. Or you can view the infographic below.
Do this case studies convince you? Does your business need help proving Social Media ROI?
May 12, 2014 by
- 70% of CMOs report feeling unprepared to harness the power of their data to make intelligent marketing decisions. (source: HubSpot)
- 52% say achieving or increasing measurable ROI is a top priority this year (source: MarketingSherpa)
- Only 8% of companies say they can determine Return on Investment (ROI) from their social media spending (source: Econsultancy).
The numbers say companies have a hard time figuring out Return on Investment (ROI). No one ever said it was easy. ROI requires a company to:
- Define the return by the financial metric most important to the company’s success (e.g. sales, profit, conversion or shareholder value)
- Account for all out of pocket and internal investments (marketing and operations)
- Determine the length of time (e.g. 12 month or 18 months). It should be done with an understanding of the customer buying cycle and what is the annual customer value.
- Establish the Base Period against which the effort is to prove the ROI
On the other hand, ROI is, after all, just a calculation. Here is the most widely used:
Return (e.g. sales, profit) – Investment/Investment (X 100) = ROI (%).
So why do companies have such a hard time? Here’s 26 reasons companies can’t figure out ROI.
DON’T DEFINE THE DESIRED RESULTS
- 85% use social networks in some way; only 14% tie financial metrics to it. (source: AdAge)
- 87% of marketers want to know how to measure their return on investment for social media activities (source: Social Media Examiner)
- 41% of company respondents report that do not have an ROI figure for any of the money they spend on social media marketing (source: Econsultancy)
- 37% do not mention financial outcomes when asked to define ROI (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
LEAP BEFORE THEY LOOK
- 84% of social media programs don’t measure ROI (source: Mashable)
- 57% do not base marketing budgets on any ROI analysis (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
- 28% of CMO’s say their decisions are based on gut instinct (source: Edelman)
- 22% base marketing decisions on gut instinct (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
IT’S NOT THE DATA, IT’S WHAT YOU DO WITH IT
- 90% of CMOs say social data has impacted at least some of their decisions; only 47% use data to make predictions or forecast sales. (source: Bazaarvoice)
- 80% feel challenged by the amount of data they have to deal with and the difficulty of accessing it. (source: Forrester)
- 81% of marketers would increase spending on digital, mobile, and social channels if they could better track ROI (source: Fact Browser)
- 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring ROI as their biggest source of frustration in social marketing. (Source: Adobe )
HAVE INTER-DEPARTMENTAL DIFFICULTIES
- 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
- 77% say getting traditional and digital marketing to work better together remains a major goal (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
- 70% says a “cross-platform model” for ROI on their business is a major goal (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
- 51% say a lack of sharing customer data within their own organization is a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI (Source: IAB/Columbia Business School )
- 39% say it is important to spend only on marketing activities where financial effects can be measured (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
- 29% report that their marketing departments have “too little or no customer/consumer data.” (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
MEASUREMENTS ARE ELUSIVE
- 63% of CMO’s say “ROI will be the standard for their performance by 2015:” yet, today, only 44% say “I can measure ROI.” (source: McKinsey)
- 39% admit they cannot turn their data into actionable insight. (source: IAB/Columbia Business School)
- 37% aren’t able to measure the value of social media (source: Econsultancy)
- 36% of senior executives believe “old favorite” events such as open houses, hospitality functions, fundraisers and seminars deliver the best returns among localized marketing channels but can’t do direct tracking. (source:Marketing Charts)
- 24% say determining any kind of cost-benefit analysis is a challenge. (source: McKinsey)
- B2B CMO’s say demonstrating ROI is their No. 1 concern; yet fewer than 20% say they have the ability to measure it (source: Forbes)
STILL, IT IS A TOP PRIORITY
- B2B CMO’s say demonstrating ROI is their No. 1 concern yet fewer than 20% say they have the ability to measure it (source: Forbes)
- “How do I measure the return on my social media investment? This question has been top of mind for marketers for the last three years. Clearly very few marketers have figured this one out.” (source: Social Media Examiner)
If your company needs help measuring ROI, consider my eBook, 166 Case Study Prove Social Media Marketing. There are plenty of successful companies that have proven ROI; or Strategic Digital Marketing, where I wrote the chapter, Measurement and ROI; or a Rutgers Executive MBA where I teach the curriculum on Measurement and ROI.
Do these reasons explain difficulties your company is having with ROI? Does your company need help figuring it out?