As consumer behavior becomes more complex, we need tech, tools and platforms that meet increasing customer expectations.
As marketers, we’re always looking for great tools to achieve success in our clients’ work and our own companies. Over the past year, I’ve made it a goal to track and experiment with different platforms, softwares and services in the hope of discovering cost effective tools that actually move the needle in positive ways and provide the data to support it. Here six technologies making marketing success more achievable.
Consumers are extremely social, and because of that a brand’s digital channels should be as well. One of the biggest challenges for most marketers is social branding within the constructs of the networks and channels they’re active on. Social branding must be thoughtful, differentiated, controlled and effective – and Bumebox has the social infrastructure for that.
Bumebox allows brands to socialize their web properties by combining content and conversation without disrupting existing technological infrastructure. Their platform allows for branded, real-time social media integrations focusing on social campaign, influencer/celebrity Q & A, and live event experiences. The platform has proven that content engagement can be interlaced with commerce if constructed correctly. During Marc Jacobs’ February 2012 show, by leveraging Bumebox, The night of the collection show, the #marcjacobslive tag had more than 90 million impressions on Twitter.
What’s more, by adding real-time interactions and shares from fan commentary, the recent Marc Jacobs show trended to the number eight most talked about topic on Twitter worldwide during New York Fashion Week. Consumers were so excited to see the Alice In Wonderland type images in the show that it resulted in a 20% click through rate to Marc Jacobs’ ecommerce site. When working on a project for ALDO Shoes, they saw similar results with 3,000 e-commerce transactions via the brand’s 40th Anniversary microsite over a 40-day period in October 2012.
Mulu is reinventing the online ad for the curation generation, making editorial content shoppable in real-time using sponsored keyword equivalencies. In April, they launched their “Shop this Page” feature across online content, most notably publications such as Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Country Living and sites such as The Nest and Martha Stewart, among others.
Mulu’s patented technology transforms online ads from something readers ignore into an indispensable shopping utility that saves time and enhances the content experience. In the 20 weeks live on Hearst publications, the ads have seen a 2 – 12% click through rate. Mulu works on any type of content— from recipes to extreme sports to news, on any platform, including mobile, and in any unicode character set, allowing publishers to move from cumbersome affiliate relationships to a turnkey, CPC-based commerce solution.
Mulu has built in a social good aspect that is core to their brand, giving publishers the option to donate any portion of resulting sales to the cause of their choice—a donation Mulu then matches and facilitates. Later this year, the company will release a “Save for Later” feature, allowing shoppers to save products from any piece of content to a web-wide cart and return to purchase later or share as a wish list—all in support of a charity of their own choosing.
Medium is a return to the written word and longer form content – something that in today’s digital age is quickly disappearing with our need for highly visual, short form content we can consume and forget and that marketers love to create for page views and quick hits.
With Medium, content is broken into collections – which are defined by a theme – so it’s easy for readers to discover and easy for writers to gain an audience. From there, users can recommend and share content and offer feedback, and writers can create collections, decide who is invited or open it to everyone. Authors can even collaboratively create editorial pieces with those they wish to contribute to an article.
While it’s not a consumer marketing tool, Medium offer marketers a place to find OP-ED pieces written by those doing actionable work in their fields of expertise. With articles published based on fad trends to drive page views and ad revenue, it’s good to have a media outlet that, for now, isn’t publishing content based on traditional media models. Medium is currently in closed beta but will eventually be allowed for all Twitter users.
As influencer marketers move beyond bogger networks and directly target influencers to create blog content at scale on behalf of clients, there’s a new tool in for them to use – TapInfluence. TapInfluence automates the manual and time-consuming process of managing influencer marketing programs. By automating the identification, management and engagement of key influencers, brands can scale their online reach and engage with consumers in an authentic and meaningful way. Using their cloud-based software, the platform enables them to identify the right influencers, activate programs, and demonstrate results with analytics dashboards. It’s cost effective, averaging about $1,500 – $3,000 USD per campaign.
A recent addition to my marketing radar, ClearStory Data is a promising new technology in the big data trend. Organizations striving to make smart, data-driven decisions face obstacles everywhere as they are held back by the overwhelming complexity of today’s internal and external sources of data. The tools available today require deep technical expertise on the part of the user, or are overly simplistic dashboards based on rigid data models. Holding out in the hope of finding more data scientist talent is not a reasonable option.
“In 2011, the global output of data increased 62%, yet there’s a massive shortage in the number of qualified data professionals to process this data,” says Sharmila Shahani-Mulligan, CEO and a founder of ClearStory Data. With over 8,000 APIs available, only 3% of the data is tagged and half a percent is analyzed. ClearStory has the desire to bring together data in private and public APIs in a convergence site.
ClearStory’s solution modernizes data analysis by delivering a new user model for business users to easily discover, analyze and consume data at scale from corporate, web and premium data sources for combined and up-to-date insights. It includes harmonizing relationships between disparate sources, low-latency data processing at scale, and deriving data from an ecosystem of big data repositories, including Hadoop, relational databases, data warehouses and external sources. In short, they’re making it possible for business users to experience the power of interactive, scalable, and immediate multi-source insights. Something that all brands and marketers are hoping to harness at the moment.
Thismoment, the global leader in brand solutions for YouTube, recently announced broad adoption of YouTube’s responsive One Channel format. One Channel better serves today’s mobile, multi-screen audience by optimizing the viewer experience for every device through its responsive design—which fluidly scales based on the size of the browser window—and promoting channel subscription visibility and access.
Over the past three years, ThisMoment’s system has powered more than 300 YouTube brand channels, an order of magnitude more than any other provider. Driven by the demands of its customers for differentiation and creative freedom within the YouTube environment, ThisMoment has continually delivered first-to-market capabilities including:
The ability to extend YouTube brand channels – including user-generated video contests – to other online environments, including Facebook, mobile and the Web
The use of mixed media (photos, text, flash) within YouTube, both for brand and user-generated content.
The deployment of global channels that combine universal brand elements with localized content, all on a single YouTube URL.
The ability to curate and display an interactive, consolidated social conversation stream— incorporating YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ within a YouTube brand channel.
John Bara, CMO of ThisMoment, shared “The ultimate objective of savvy social marketers is to reach and engage the audience anytime including on mobile devices. Marketers need a social marketing system which can help them and their agencies share, reuse and distribute content across all social endpoints and devices.” As marketers move to video as marketing medium, ThisMoment has the most definitive platform to drive engagement with video content.
As we become more accountable to our consumers and fan bases, we need to employ tools that allow us to design environments and experiences that they find inviting to participate in. Coupled with data and analytical insights to our progress and successes, we’re well on our way to create long lasts relationships with those we need in order to remain relevant in the 21st century.