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Content Marketing World returns for a 7th year – Save $100!

Content Marketing World returns to Cleveland, OH USA for a 7th year this September 5-8, 2017.

If you’ve been to – or heard of – CMWorld, you know it’s the largest content marketing event on the planet. Who is there? 4,000 marketers, writers, communications specialists, PR practitioners and hopefully you!

CMWorld consists of four days of epic content marketing advice, case studies, tangible learning from some of the best in the business. Brands you know, brands you might not know – but all with a common thread: They’re creating content marketing that is helping their business grow.

Day 1: Workshops! Do you want to hone in on your writing, SEO, or agency relationship? CMWorld has a workshop for that. Visit the agenda page to see what else is happening on May 5.

Days 2 and 3: There will be 24 – TWENTY FOUR – tracks over these two days covering all aspects of content marketing from ideation and creation through distribution and measurement. Sessions have been organized by track, and have also been labeled by B2B vs. B2C, and beginner, intermediate and advanced. While attendees don’t need to stay in the same track on these days, the schedule is organized to help attendees better plan their week.

Day 4: In the morning, CMWorld will have a few more main event sessions, as there were too many great sessions and speakers from which to choose. Afterwards, Industry Lab day starts, so whether you’re in manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, nonprofit and so much more, this day is to work with others in your industry to discuss and work through your same challenges and opportunities.

We’re partnering with Content Marketing World this year to make sure that our community knows about this great [...]

The Use of Crisis Management in Harsh Times

By: Lucy Adams

Have you heard of crisis management? You must have heard of it unless your company has never survived harsh times.

Well, sooner or later, you’ll inevitably run into a crisis. That’s the nature of business, and you can’t change it! The point is to know how to reduce the consequences of the crisis to a minimum and establish a new system of management under the tough market conditions. Let’s take a fresh look at the problem along with Lucy Adams, a blogger from Buzzessay.com.

Crisis management is the process of transforming a loss-making company into a profitable one by reorganizing the style of leadership, finance management, and production process.  The fundamental difference of crisis management is that it is about a fast response to a crisis (in contrast, usual management is aimed at sales increase).

Crisis management solves the next problems:

Stagnation.
Drawbacks in the hierarchy of organizational management.
Mistakes in the business model.
Mistakes in the corporate culture.

Once you stabilize the situation, establish a new strategy to prevent the onset of a new crisis.

By the way, the company need not necessarily have serious financial difficulties for crisis management to work successfully. It can help you in choosing a correct organizational process and eliminating its mistakes, as well as in increasing the effectiveness of production process and coping with the fast-growing start-up.
Crisis Management: Seven Steps
#1 Stabilize the Crisis
Many companies begin to think about crisis management when they have problems with wages, rent or other expenses. Regardless of the kind of crisis, the first step is to stabilize the situation.

Make sure that all your expenses are approved be the anti-crisis team.
Stop all discretionary projects and make sure [...]

By |April 20th, 2017|Blog, News|Comments Off on The Use of Crisis Management in Harsh Times|

Sorting to Prioritize the Content Experience

The act of sorting seems so familiar you may think little about it.  We sort our possessions to organize them.  Some people even sort the sox in their drawer according to color or occasion.  We sort to organize things, and more fundamentally, to prioritize our content. When considered in relation to IT, sorting is the programmatic prioritization of content using a simple ordering procedure. Simple sorting routines can offer much value, even if more sophisticated techniques to prioritize content are available.
Most discussion of sorting focuses on its technical dimensions — the rules for sorting correctly.  Developers study various algorithms to optimize sorting.  Editors must follow detailed rules to correctly sort entries appearing in indexes.  Interaction designers focus on how to implement sorting options on user interfaces.  Sorting is also utilized in statistical operations, though the strict criteria applied in statistical analysis is different from how people will think about sorting content.
In contrast to its technical dimensions, the experiential dimensions of sorting receive less attention. Besides considering how to sort items, we must also consider why audiences want items sorted in different scenarios.  Every day, when we write lists, we make decisions that reflect our understanding of the purpose of sorting .  Do we present the list as unordered bullets, or do we number the list items?  If we number the items, what do the numbers represent?  All of our content faces such existential dilemmas — indicating to others how items are prioritized.
Interaction designers often assume that users will want to sort items appearing in a list.   Such an assumption confuses a want with a need.  In many cases users don’t want to interact to get specific views of content.  They [...]

By |October 24th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Sorting to Prioritize the Content Experience|

Product-Content-Marketing

I recently visited the Smithsonian’s American History Museum to see an exhibit on food in American culture.  I noticed a Tappan microwave oven in an exhibit case, the kind of microwave that was in use during my early childhood.  If I ever needed evidence that I’m getting older, it’s seeing something from my childhood in the Smithsonian’s collection.  My family didn’t own a Tappan microwave, but I recall a neighboring family did.  When it came to microwave technology, my family wasn’t what, in today’s parlance, would be called an early adopter.
We take microwaves for granted today, but in the early years of microwaves they were exotic.  They were radically different from conventional ovens, and expensive: originally over a thousand dollars.  Selling something so “disruptive” to families required making them seem enticing, simple, and idiot-proof.   The product needed to promise to be easy, and deliver on that promise.  We all want to feel competent, even when using a microwave oven.  We don’t want exploding liquids or gooey muck being our payback for committing to a new technology.
In addition to its historical cultural significance to the Smithsonian’s curators, this particular model was also notable for an unusual feature not normally seen on ovens of any kind.  At the base of the microwave was a drawer that contained recipe cards.  I started to wonder if the designers included the recipe card drawer as content marketing to get hesitant shoppers to buy the microwave, or as product content designed to make sure owners get full satisfaction from their decision.
Early microwave with recipe drawer at the base
Content marketing and product content are two widely used terms that are sometimes applied to similar circumstances.  Are [...]

By |October 6th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Product-Content-Marketing|

Become an AMA Member now and save $30!

Become a member of the American Marketing Association and take control of your career success with the resources that give you the power. Just a few of the many AMA member benefits that could be yours include:

Over 100 ready-to-use, downloadable tools and templates
Best practices and original research curated from marketing’s top thought leaders
Discounts on training and conferences to advance your skills and stay sharp
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Two AMA publications for FREE

Apply for membership now and receive $30 OFF!*
Use promo code FALL16 at checkout

*Offer is valid 9/12/16 – 11/4/16 for Professional Memberships in only US and Canada. Offer does not apply to Student Membership, Young Professional Membership, Group Membership or those living outside the US and Canada.

By |September 19th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Become an AMA Member now and save $30!|

Designing Glanceable Content for Partial Attention

Captive audiences are the exception, not the norm.  Audiences only rarely offer their undivided attention. How to design content for audiences who are only half paying attention is a growing challenge.
Despite wide recognition that most folks have too much on their minds, content producers continue to hope they’ll get the full attention of audiences.  According to conventional advice, if content designers make content simple and relevant, the content will earn the attention of audiences.  The messy, everyday reality that audiences face interferes with their attention, no matter how well considered and crafted the content.  The stark truth is that attention cannot always be earned. It must be bargained with.
Mounting evidence indicates audiences have less attention to dedicate to consuming content actively. Even when they want content, they don’t necessarily want the content to dominate what they are doing.  People want content they can multitask with, content that supports them as they do things like chores, exercise, or driving — instead of being the focus of what they are doing.  The rising popularity of audio books and podcasts are indications of the desire for content that supports multitasking or continuous partial attention. Streaming content doesn’t require active interaction.
Another tactic to compensate for our fragmenting attention is to make content smaller.  Many publishers seek to turn content into bite sized chunks that don’t take long to read.  Audiences nibble bite sized content when they are focused on other things, such as a conversation or a physical activity such as walking or waiting, or when they are mentally preoccupied with matters that may not be directly related to the content.
Bite sized content appears as informational cards displayed on smartphones, on the screens of [...]

By |September 14th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Designing Glanceable Content for Partial Attention|

From Persona to Personal: the Potential of the Customer Experience

Each passing generation of marketers has been chasing the same carrot: how to communicate directly with each customer in a personal way. In other words, how can a company deliver personalized and relevant experiences as well as information that will alter the behavior of their customers to benefit both parties?
The closest we’ve come to personalized communication is narrowing the perimeters of our potential audiences into life-choice buckets. We started with demographics and combined that with psychographics. Some brands, such as Claritas, attempt to create their own segmentation categories of audiences called “prizm clusters.” Today, many brands simply create personas for the audiences they want to engage. But, at the end of the day, most organizations still don’t know or have a relationship with the actual individual. At least not in a way that makes it cost-effective for marketing purposes.
Brands that excel at personalization will outsell the ones that don’t by 20% according to research from Gartner. Furthermore, Forrester predicts that by 2020, the customer experience will be more important than price when it comes to purchasing and retention habits. Consumer-brand relationships are about to change drastically. If your company can’t find a way to navigate these changing waters, you may be out of luck.
Go the extra mile
Let’s start with the offline version of the personalized experience. In my opinion, the best company implementing this from an operational standpoint today is Starbucks. This is because every order is customized to the individual, including asking for your name. And as simple, yet amazing, as this is, if you go often enough, the barista will begin to know what to make you before you finish ordering.
Knowing your customers name when they walk [...]

By |September 13th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on From Persona to Personal: the Potential of the Customer Experience|

Is Our Love/Hate Relationship with Technology Changing?

It’s perennial. Corporate insights professionals worry that they face a diminished role—if not outright elimination as a team—driven in part by new technology. It’s reflected in annual barometers of the market insights business on whether and why professionals feel they do not have a seat at the table among leadership teams: 62% of respondents report that their organizations lack awareness of what the insights function does, while 38% report that stakeholders feel the insights process is too slow.1 It’s the topic of blog posts and water cooler talk.
Considering the proliferation of alternative sources available to internal constituencies and automation of insights professionals’ own work, one can understand the sentiment.

Do-it-yourself survey capabilities give every brand manager ready access to qualitative tools, and 26% of insights professionals say their internal stakeholders prefer to use them as opposed to the insights department.
Big Data, business intelligence and predictive analytics investments mean that more data is already internal to the organization, lessening the need for custom research.
Flourishing online communities are supplementing social media as a ready wellspring of insights direct from targeted sources.
Ubiquitous internet and mobile device access means it’s even easier to sample from dedicated communities, sample quality concerns notwithstanding.
There are outsourced market research firms for just about any sector, deliverable and business model.

Conventional wisdom says that market researchers tend to have a conservative attitude toward technology—sticking to known approaches and methodologies until new ones are entirely “proven”—even while the world at large explodes with new technologies to automate, analyze and visualize. The industry has not moved quickly toward more expedient mobile research solutions and has demonstrated a relatively slow embrace of technologies that have been well-proven in other domains, such as cloud [...]

By |September 6th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on Is Our Love/Hate Relationship with Technology Changing?|

How to Make Your Site Globally SEO-friendly

Putting effort into global SEO can unlock what is essentially a market of up to six billion people, but geo-targeting wisely, structuring SEO campaigns to these markets and identifying the impact each market can have on business success can lead to a huge conversion rates and ultimately global business growth.
Marketing and SEO sit alongside each other with an increasing rate, for example if brand messaging is different in the USA and Australia, then meta data and website structure need to reflect this.
This also falls into geo-targeting, or user targeting in multiple countries.
Essentially, there are two ways to do this: you either run a huge number of websites on different domains, or you host everything on one domain with hreflang tags and IP address targeting. The latter is the best option, and it works on a number of levels. At the core the premise is simple: users visiting your website will see the geo-targeted site you want them to see based on the location of the IP address.
Beyond the initial hreflang tag, there are a couple of ways to manage this. Either users are redirected to the country code domain (for example, if a UK user puts in the .com, they will be redirected to .co.uk), or an extension is added (for example, the user would be sent to .com/en-uk). Again, the latter is the best option.
Website managers will have a core website, such as a dot-com, a selection of geo-targeted areas and, if applicable, languages in those areas. For a website where just one language is present, U.S. users would see the standard .com, UK users .com/uk, Australians .com/aus, etc.
In the back end of the website these are [...]

By |August 31st, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on How to Make Your Site Globally SEO-friendly|

A Defining Moment in Marketing History

In 1937 two organizations, The National Association of Marketing Teachers and The American Society of Marketing, came together to create what we now know as The American Marketing Association. The goal of the merger was to find ways of lowering the cost of marketing, address criticisms against marketing and find useful tools and devices in marketing practice. One year after the AMA was created, this group of thought leaders were commissioned by the U.S. government to establish and unify marketing definitions across all government agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau.
So it was from the very outset that the “big bang” behind the AMA was the kinetic effect of archetypal academics (sages) and archetypal marketing practitioners (magicians) coming together to create a new universe for marketers. This marketing universe has always been defined by the coexistence of two worlds, industry and academia. The AMA’s reason for being was to straddle these two worlds, drawing from the rigor of researched-based scholarly learnings and the market-based insights experienced by practitioners. Together these two forces would constitute the pre-eminent source for evidenced-based best practices in marketing.
Today this marketing universe is filled with luminous beings, shooting stars and seemingly irrefutable gravitational rules such as the Four P’s and quantitative modelers’ inevitable mathematical regression to the mean. In this universe we have our own dreamers, scientists, artists and explorers. The maps are of the inner mind and customer journeys. While certain frameworks and assumptions in this universe have endured, adapted and evolved over the decades, as a natural universe, in the marketing universe there is always new creation, and change is constant. The sun in this universe around which everything revolves is, of course, the customer.
Fundamental concepts [...]

By |July 25th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on A Defining Moment in Marketing History|