Why Agencies That Conduct Market Research Grow Faster

You’re a busy marketer. Your days are full of client meetings, brand research, marketing strategy sessions …

Who has time to do market research for their own marketing agency?

If you think market research is for clients only, better think again. As a marketer, it’s equally important for you to understand your market, its wants and needs, the state of your competition, and your place in the marketing ecosystem and pecking order.

Make no mistake — market research for your own firm is no purely-academic exercise. Think of it this way: the better you know your audience, the more easily you can turn prospects into clients. Incredible as it may seem, most professional services firms, including marketing agencies, don’t know their audiences as well as they should. As a result, they’re missing out on opportunities to gain more clients and get more business out of current ones.

So why don’t more marketing firms do research? Well, because many think, for some reason, their clients are “different” so that the input won’t yield any insights. Others think research simply won’t impact growth.

We beg to differ.

We’ve conducted our own research on research (yes, really) and discovered that there are some significant benefits for marketing firms. Firms that regularly research their client markets (at least quarterly) grow more than ten times faster than firms that don’t conduct research. 

If you’re willing to go all-in and conduct research on a frequent, more-than-quarterly basis, your firm can really take off, compared to agencies that do no research. Our research confirmed that more than one-third of high-growth firms conducted target audience research regularly and at least once a quarter (see below chart). Virtually none of the no-growth firms conducted frequent research.


Data from Hinge’s 2017 High Growth Research Report

Research not only drives growth, it also impacts profitability. For instance, when Hinge studied the effects of research on growth and profitability, we found that firms that conducted frequent research realized 19.9% profitability, whereas firms that did not conduct research reported only 11% profitability.

What makes research so effective? There are a number of ways that firms become better positioned to secure prospects and grow their client relationships through research. These include:

  • Having a clear understanding of emerging issues and trends in order to determine which services to develop and offer.
  • Uncovering areas in which your firm has misjudged or misread their clients, such as what market influences are keeping them from growing their relationship with your firm.
  • Identifying purchasing or other types of patterns that you haven’t noticed since you are so deeply engrossed in your day-to-day interactions with your clients.

As Hinge has done research for ourselves and our clients, we’ve identified ten research questions that can drive growth and profitability. Below is a sample of the questions we have found to have a big impact for our clients.

Why do your best clients choose your firm?

Understanding what great clients find appealing about a firm can help the firm attract others like them.

What are those same clients trying to avoid?

This is the flip side of the first question and offers a valuable perspective. The answer can provide clues as to how to avoid being ruled out during the early rounds of a prospect’s selection process. The answer can also help shape business practices and strategy.

What is the real benefit your firm provides?

Firms are often surprised to hear the true benefit of their service, as viewed through their clients’ eyes. Once they understand this, they are able to enhance or even develop new services with other real benefits.

So what’s the best way to conduct research?

Believe it or not, Rule Number One is do not do it yourself. That’s right. Have someone else do it for you. Why? Because respondents are more likely to provide honest answers to a third party. If you insist on doing the research yourself — which is better than doing no research at all — be aware that you may capture only a portion of the overall picture.

Here are three more tips for conducting effective research:

1) Phone interviews are best. 

Nothing beats a live interview. Even reluctant participants will open up to a skillful interviewer. In fact, the greatest insights are often volunteered outside the scope of the questionnaire.

2) Online surveys are second best—but they don’t have to be second rate. 

An online survey will never capture the same insights as an interview, but a well-crafted online survey can still reap valuable information. Surveys also tend to be easier and less expensive to implement. Just remember, your response rate is likely to be very low.

3) Don’t limit it to your current clients. 

Cold prospects are more difficult to get on the phone, but they provide—by far—the most accurate picture of your marketplace. Clients who got away offer invaluable insights into your weaknesses. Similarly, lapsed clients can help you understand how to become more relevant and engaged.

And what should we do with all this research?

There are any number of ways you can use it, limited mostly by your goals and imagination. Here are just a few ideas on how you can use your research to enhance your reputation, generate leads and bring in more clients:

  • Tweak or redefine your positioning to differentiate your firm from competitors.
  • Introduce new services that prospects have indicated want.
  • Use it as an entrée to bring former clients back into the fold.
  • Offer new services to current or former clients.
  • Anticipate clients’ needs.

Most important, you can boost your credibility with your target market and increase your visible expertise by pulling data and results from your research findings to write blog posts and articles that address urgent market challenges, to publish a research study, and as fodder for speeches, seminars, and webinars.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get researching. The sooner you get started, the sooner your firm will reap its rewards.

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/why-agencies-that-conduct-market-research-grow-faster

How to Leverage Your Creativity to Convert Leads

Creativity (cre·a·tiv·i·ty)
krēāˈtivədē
noun

  1. the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

Creativity may not immediately seem incredibly relevant to CRO. After all, CRO is often thought of as a study in best practices and procedural experimentation.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to look a little deeper.

Following best practices does matter of course. You should absolutely continue to optimize your pages with A/B testing, focusing on message-match and ensure your CTA’s are clear and concise.

But there are a number of interesting and entirely useful ways that you can “shake the trees” so to speak.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can flex your creative muscle to increase conversions.

Remind Me Why We Have to Do This?

One word. Oversaturation.

Users are increasingly “blind” to traditional forms of advertising. Just take a look at banner ads.

Users are essentially numb to them, and have been for a long time. In fact, studies show that users generally don’t even give site siderails a single consideration. I know I don’t, and I bet you don’t either.

This study showed that across all mediums and placements, CTR on banners lands somewhere around .05%. Yikes.

banner-ad-placement-performance

Same goes for spam emails, banners, popups… the list goes on.

I’m not saying these tactics don’t work, remarkably some of them still do. Banners are still valuable to expose new audiences to your brand identity even if they don’t garner clicks. Popups can still gather leads when implemented appropriately.

My point is, they’re no longer “fresh” enough to grab someone’s attention and create a memorable experience.

This is why leveraging creativity matters now more than ever. Without further ado, here are three wacky ways to do just that.

1. Be Original. Be Memorable.

“Just be yourself.”

I know, I know. This sounds like the advice Mom gave you before you went to summer camp. How’d it work out for you then? Stolen lunch money? Teasing?

While there are some potential downsides to being unique, particularly when surrounded by kids or teenagers, the perks can be pretty fantastic as well.

I’d go so far as to say that in the business world, being memorable is worth its weight in gold.

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Many customers make buying decisions based off emotional responses to brands. Whether it be to an ad, an email, or maybe a customer review they saw on YouTube.

The brands that tell compelling and memorable stories are the ones that land the most sales.

By being memorable and evoking a positive response from leads, you too can capitalize on this. A few ways to accomplish this…

  • Curate a quirky imagery style that you feature on ads, social platforms and your website. Moz does a fantastic job of this, check out their ad portfolio on MOAT.
  • Come up with a memorable and unusual catch phrase, then shout it to the world. When I think about slogans, my mind always races to Redbull. “Redbull gives you wings” is to this day, one of the most impactful, concise, and informative slogans I can think of.
  • Be disruptive with your advertising (screw the norms). Facebook canvas ads are a fantastic way to get creative with your approach. Check out this example by tieks.

tieks-mobile-app

Sticking out like a sore thumb is a good thing when it comes to converting leads. Making a lasting impression and being personable will endear your brand to leads.

Remember, you always want to view your digital funnel from the eyes of the visitor.

Discerning visitors have an inherent sense of authenticity. If you’re genuine with your approach to your product or service, that will come across loud and clear, and in turn builds trust.

The icing on the cake? The more a lead trusts you, the more likely they are to convert.

TLDR: Developing your brand’s unique voice and “personality” encourages consumer trust, which in turns produces sales.

2. Email Nurturing with Authenticity

We all know that email is massively effective when it comes to converting leads. It’s safe to assume each and everyone of you reading this tracks email signups as “goals” in your analytics platform of choice.

Hell, at RankPay we even have a tradition of lining up for high-fives when our MailChimp subscription level increases.

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Here’s the problem with emailing nowadays: Email users, aka the vast majority of people, are increasingly savvy as to what constitutes something of value in their inbox. You can’t just send an email with any old subject header and expect a double-digit open rate.

It’s time again to bust out our creativity and buck the trend.

In short, we want to be the unforgettable brand that’s unique but not bizarre enough to be off-putting.

For instance, I recently landed an opportunity by breaking all of the rules. Even the ones deliberately laid out in the denial letter I first received.

who-listens-to-instructions-email

With this in mind, start by taking a closer look at your own lead nurturing email campaigns. Are the subject lines innovative, quirky or unique? Do they have any personality?

Have some fun and try A/B testing novel subject lines where you let your personality shine through. Note that it’s OK if you hear your brain protesting…

“Play it safe! What are you doing? Best practices are established. You can’t go rogue like this!”

But do it. Click send. That quirky but endearing email subject line might be just what the doctor ordered.

When you have fun, your audience will recognize this intuitively. Smiles are infectious. Positive brand associations mean more conversions.

3. Write Marketing Copy to Appeal to Emotions

Every chance you have to put words in front of your leads, is a chance to sell them on your solution. But without appealing to a lead’s emotions, we’re wasting these opportunities.

It’s understandable that us marketers occasionally struggle with this part. We become intimately familiar with our products and services, and it can become difficult to see the forest for the trees. That is to say that we lose sight of what a customer journey looks like from the prospect’s point of view.

prospects-point-of-view-funnelImage Source

One negative outcome of this lack of perspective can be uninspired copywriting. No need to be hard on yourself, it happens to all of us! Present company included.

Just the other day I caught myself writing a headline for a lead-nurturing email as follows: “The Best SEO Service for Small Businesses”. That’s all well and good. It’s a fairly standard headline in that it clearly highlights our company’s service and our target audience. But it’s not memorable and I’m not sure it will truly “connect” with readers.

Luckily I realized it, and took a step back to brainstorm. In the end, I decided to go with “The easy, affordable way to earn higher rankings.” This version has a lot going for it.

  • It’s punchy
  • It’s catchy
  • It connects with the problems this reader faces (budget and difficulty)
  • It conveys authority
  • It explains what we do

And again, I’d point out that being memorable matters. Generic = forgettable. Unique = memorable.

Let’s take a look at a few places you can put this to work for your business.

Company motto or slogan

Day in and day out I see brands without a good catch phrase.

Look at it this way: every single person is inundated with brand exposures from the moment they wake up. Some studies show individuals being exposed to literally thousands of ads each day.

Yankelovich, a market research firm, estimates that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 today. – New York Times

The thing is, there’s only so much room in our brains to remember all of these brand impressions. It’s thus critical that we aim to be one of the few brands that leaves a truly lasting impression.

When I’m helping clients develop these “quick pitches”, my process looks like this:

  • Brainstorm as many ideas as I can (25-100)
  • Pick the best 10-15
  • Iterate and improve
  • Get third-party feedback
  • Finalize 3-5 versions
  • A/B test for resonance

It’s so simple it hurts. But at the end of the day, it works.

Headlines

When it comes to being creative with your headlines, start by asking yourself a few key questions.

  • Does this convey our solution’s value to the customer?
  • Is it punchy and concise?
  • Does it appeal to emotions?
  • Is it consistent with our overall “story”?

These questions should get your gears turning and the creative juices flowing.

Remember, we want to craft a memorable message that our leads will not forget. We also want to make sure that we evoke an emotional response and appeal to the potential customer’s needs or desires.

Check out this killer example

brisket-master-headline

It’s got everything going for it. It’s punchy and unique. The wording matches the imagery. The use of the word savor as a verb is particularly great because it elicits a clearly emotional response from the audience. Who wouldn’t want to eat whatever they’re serving at this place?

Calls to action

You’ve probably already spent a lot of time optimizing the button size, color and placement. If not, be sure to check this guide on how to improve the efficacy of your CTAs in general.

Regarding the wording however, it’s important to take the chance to put something personal in the actual text. Instead of using a button that says “Submit” try something like “Start My Trial” or “Boost My Rankings”.

Copyblogger clearly showed data that corroborates using “first-person” CTA text will increase conversions. Cool right?

Last but not least, remember to be unique. Don’t be afraid to let personality shine through. Here’s an example of both a CTA and a form that I immediately loved.

punch-up-your-copy

Remember, Being Weird Isn’t So Bad

If you’ve watched Freaks and Geeks, you probably already believe this statement. If you’re more of the Biff type, there’s nothing wrong with you either. We love everyone here.

But I hope you’ll take the time to consider the advice above, as it can really work wonders on your conversion rate.

The key takeaways are to embrace personality, be genuine, and appeal to your customers emotions. The more a customer trusts your brand and remembers your message, the more likely they are to buy.

Write interesting copy, be weird with your subject lines, and be memorable! Let your freak flag fly!

About the Author: Sam Warren is the Manager of Marketing and Partnerships at RankPay.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/creativity-to-convert-leads/

How to Repost on Instagram: 4 Easy Ways to Reshare Content

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Where most social media feeds are almost distractingly busy — full of photos, videos, and text updates from friends and brands you follow — Instagram is different because you can only look at one post at a time.

And while this simple, clean interface makes to easy to focus on the beautiful photography and interesting videos on Instagram, it also leaves something to be desired: the ability to easily repost other users’ content.

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But fear not: for every problem, the internet has afforded a solution. We tested out four different ways to repost content on Instagram in a few simple steps. All of these methods are free, but some require you to download an app from the iOS App Store or Google Play first.

How to Repost on Instagram: 4 Methods to Try

1) Use Repost for Instagram

Download Repost for Instagram for iOS or Android devices to share content from other Instagram users from your mobile device. Here’s how to do it:

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Open your Instagram app, and find a photo or video you’d like to reshare.

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(Psst — do you follow HubSpot on Instagram?)

Tap the … in the upper-right hand corner of the post. Then, tap “Copy Share URL.”

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Open Repost for Instagram. The post you copied will automatically be on the homepage.

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Tap the arrow on the right-hand side of the post. There, you can edit how you want the repost icon to appear on Instagram.

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Tap “Repost.” Then, tap “Copy to Instagram,” where you can add a filter and edit the post.

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Tap “Next.” If you want to include the original post’s caption, tap the caption field and press “Paste,” where the original caption will appear with a citation.

repost-step8.png

When you’re ready to share the post, tap “Share” as you would a regular Instagram post. Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

repost-step9-1.jpg

2) Use InstaRepost

Download InstaRepost for iOS or Android devices to share content from other Instagram users from your mobile device. Here’s how to do it:

Open InstaRepost, log in using your Instagram credentials, and authorize it to access your account information.

instarepost-step1.jpg

InstaRepost will only show you a small selection from your Instagram feed. If you know what post you’re looking for, head to the search magnifying glass to look at the Explore tab or enter a username.

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Once you’ve found a post you want to reshare, tap the arrow in the lower right-hand corner. Then, tap “Repost,” then “Repost” again.

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instarepost-step5.0.jpg

instarepost-step5.jpg

Navigate to your Instagram app, and tap “Library.” The post will be saved to your camera roll.

instarepost-step6.png

Add a filter and edit the post as you would any other. Then, tap “Next.”

instarepost-step7.png

Tap the caption field to paste the original caption. The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.”

instarepost-step8.png

Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

instarepost-step9.jpg

3) Use DownloadGram

DownloadGram lets Instagram users download high-resolution copies of Instagram photos and videos to repost from their own accounts. Here’s how to do it:

Open your Instagram app and find the post you want to repost. Tap the … icon in the upper-right hand corner of the post and click “Copy Share URL.”

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Navigate to DownloadGram and paste the URL into the field. Then, tap “Download.”

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Tap the green “Download Image” button that will appear further down the page.

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You’ll be directed to a new web page with the downloadable image. Tap the download icon, then tap “Save image.”

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Return to your Instagram app. The image will be saved to your camera roll, so edit it as you would any other Instagram post.

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The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.” Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

downloadgram-step8.jpg

4) Take a Screenshot

This method doesn’t require any or other websites to repost on Instagram. It’s worth nothing that this method only works for reposting photos. Here’s how to do it:

Find a photo on Instagram you’d like to repost, and take a screenshot:

  • For iOS: Press down on the home and lock buttons simultaneously until your screen flashes.
  • For Android: Press down on the sleep/wake and volume down buttons simultaneously until your screen flashes.

Tap the new post button in the bottom-center of your Instagram screen. Resize the photo so it’s properly cropped in the Instagram photo editor.

screenshot-step1-1.png

Edit and filter the post like you would any other Instagram post.

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The repost won’t include a citation, so we suggest adding one by typing “@ + [username].” Then, press “Share.” Here’s how the post appears on your Instagram profile:

screenshot-step3.png

Do It For the ‘Gram

Now that you’ve learned how to repost on Instagram, you can diversify your profile with content sourced from friends, family, and brands. Use the methods above — being sure to cite the source of the original post — to quickly and easily reshare your favorite content. And if you’re looking for more ideas for sourcing and creating Instagram content for your brand, download our free guide to using Instagram for business here.

Do you use any of these methods to repost on Instagram? Share with us in the comments below.

how to use instagram for business

from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-repost-on-instagram

45 Engaging Examples of Interactive Storytelling in Content Marketing

As inbound marketers, content plays an important role in attracting attention to our company and building trust with our prospects. Our content can come in many different formats, and the format we choose can speak volumes about the research and ideas within.

Interactive content has become increasingly more popular as brands try to cut through the noise and keep prospects’ attention long enough to deliver a message.

So how exactly do you harness audience’s ever-decreasing attention span? By giving them an active role in their content consumption process by publishing stories with interactive elements. Such tools can increase engagement, on-site dwell time, and social share rates.

Free Download: 45 Interactive Content Examples to Inspire Your Next Content Project

HubSpot and Playbuzz joined forces to scour the web for amazing examples of interactive storytelling. Each industry poses its own obstacles and unique characteristics, but share one common denominator: Interactive content works for all topics and audiences.

Let’s take a look at a few examples from the ebook:

Interactive Content Examples from Real Brands

1) The Wall Street Journal

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Delivering a large amount of information is a challenge for content creators. This example from the Wall Street Journal does so using searchable, visual stats. The facts are arranged in a number of ways, including a recorded timeline for readers to hit “play” and simply watch.

How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Search is an interactive action on its own and can be easily incorporated into your content. Using search provides readers with a task to keep them engaged while presenting a healthy amount of information in a positive manner. Adding search options very much depends on the content you create, but tools like FlippingBook and Viostream make even PDF and video content searchable.

2) National Geographic

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Some of the most inspiring forms of interactive content match the topics they address. This example allows readers to follow the ancient cave paintings as if they are touring a prehistoric cave, with color-coded topics to provide insights.

How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Making history come to life can be a hard task. Don’t shy away from numbers and important facts, but don’t skimp on the imagery and engagement, either. Leave the canvas clear for creative imagery and video, while the text wraps the visuals but does not interfere.

3) Orbitz

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Whether or not your travel partner will make or break your trip is one question all backpackers ask themselves before embarking on a new adventure. Orbitz knew what was on their audience’s mind and created an online quiz that addresses this burning question — specifically for business travelers.

How can you incorporate this into your content marketing? Everyone loves interactive quizzes, but when creating one for your business, always think of what your audience would spend time in investigating. This is particularly true when you wish to exchange results for readers’ contact information.

How to Get Started with Interactive Storytelling

If you’re new to creating digital content, start small with a simple quiz or flashcards embedded in a blog post with Playbuzz. These assets perform well at the top of the funnel because they motivate the user to share and see how their peers stack up against their own experience. Experiment with new formats, topics, and which stage in the buyer’s journey your content serves.

When it’s time to build something more sophisticated, consider working with a developer to determine how to build the user experience and interactive elements you’re looking for. And remember to experiment. That means release early and often so you’re consistently collecting feedback and iterating on your interactive content.

Download the full guide here to learn from over 40 more examples of interactive storytelling, ranging in complexity and industry vertical.

What types of interactive content have you encountered around the internet? Share with us in the comments below.

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/interactive-content-examples

10 of the Best Ads from April: Hygge, Apocalypse, and a Robot Baby

Although we haven’t been fortunate enough to see more than a few scattered days of sunlight here in Boston, I’m told it’s technically spring.

In addition to rain, April also brought us some stunning new creative work from agencies around the word. Our monthly ad round-up features a German-produced animated short, a delightful Danish beer ad, and a clever insurance spot from Japan starring a rugby team from New Zealand. 

Did you miss any of these ads from April? Scroll down to check them out, and get inspired to tackle your next big project. 

10 of the Best Ads from April

1) AIG Japan

New Zealand’s national rugby union team, the All Blacks, hit the pedestrian-heavy streets of Toyko in this unexpectedly charming spot for AIG Japan. The three-minute ad opens with the uniform-clad players tackling seemingly random (and reasonably stunned) Tokyo residents — but things quickly take a heartwarming turn.

About half-way through the TBWA\Hakuhodo-produced video, it becomes apparent that the All Blacks were actually saving people from unpredictable disasters — a car running a red light, a pile of debris falling from a construction site, and a sudden laptop fire.

“[The ad] was an arresting way to show our fantastic relationship with the All Blacks, demonstrate the idea of risk prevention, and create a strong connection to the Japanese audience,” said Matthew Walker, AIG Japan’s senior vice president and regional chief marketing officer.

 

2) Carlsberg

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen ponders the secret source of his home country’s enviable happiness in Carlsberg’s latest UK campaign. Produced by London-based agency Fold7, the ad follows Mikklesen as he peddles his way through Copenhagen, magically passing through hedges, into stylish, minimal apartments, and over a rustic table set for a hyggelig gathering.

His tour ends (where else?) at a Carlsberg brewery, where Mikklesen enjoys a cold Carlsberg pilsner and decides that this is the real secret of Danish happiness … probably.

 

3) Student Flights

If you’re young, you better enjoy traveling while you can — before you become an uncool, perpetually exhausted parent. That’s the message of this spot for Student Flights, a company that specializes in travel deals for the university set.

To really drive that message home, Johannesburg-based agency TBWA\Hunt Lascaris convinced a hip millennial to carry around a wailing, pooping “Babybot” for a few days at a music festival. The poor guy in question, Loyiso Madinga, is promised a free trip to New York if he can survive a weekend with Babybot unscathed. His initial assessment of the challenge? “How hard could this be … right?”

As expected, having a baby at a music festival isn’t super fun — even if that baby is Wifi-enabled and made of metal. 

 

4) Netto

Ever wonder where the Easter Bunny came from? European supermarket chain Netto teamed up with German agency Jung von Matt and production house Mill+ to share their whimsical imagining of the egg-laying rabbit’s origins (Hint: it starts with a hen and a rabbit meeting each other at a night club.)

Set to a innocent, heart-wrenching rendition of “Beautiful, Always,” the animated short packs a surprisingly poignant punch. It’s sure to make even the coldest little hearts grow three sizes.

 

5) The New York Times

Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky (of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan fame) lends his talents to this Droga5-produced spot for The New York Times. The stark, one-minute ad series is part of the Grey Lady’s first brand-focused ad campaign in a decade.

Aronofsky met with several New York Times photojournalists, asking them to recount their experiences covering some of the most impactful stories from recent years. As the photojournalists discuss their fieldwork and motivations, images from the trips in question flash across the screen.  

 

6) Unilever

Pricey, trendy beauty products aren’t necessarily worth the hype, according to Unilever’s latest marketing stunt. Vice’s digital agency Carrot invited a group of real beauty influencers to try a fake new shampoo: Evaus (Spoiler alert: that’s just discount hair care brand Suave spelled backwards).

Packaged in a sleek, minimal bottle, Evaus products were a big hit with the influencers, who raved about how shiny and soft their hair felt after 10 days of using the line. When producers reveal that the “startup” hair care brand is really just $3 Suave shampoo poured into fancy schmancy bottles, the influencers are shocked — and then seemingly delighted at the great value.

“We found seven of 10 women think higher-priced brands are more trustworthy,” Jen Bremner, Unilever marketing director explained to AdAge. “That really was the inspiration. We wanted to peel back the labels and convert the skeptics.”

 

7) Entourage

To promote Entourage, a French app aimed at reconnecting neighborhoods with their homeless populations, TBWA\Paris decided to take an unconventional, offline approach to viral marketing: writing directly on banknotes.

The agency asked homeless community members to pen short messages directly on paper bills. Each hand-written note reveals something that homeless people wish everyone else knew. Take this example from the case study video below: “For me, Pierrot, homeless for 19 years, this bill has a lot of value, but not as much as a hello.”

The hope is that the simple messages with encourage Parisians to download the Entourage app, which helps people offer support and make social connections with homeless folks in their neighborhood.

 

8) SubHub

When the inevitable robot apocalypse finally spells fatal disaster for the human race, won’t you wish you shelled out to see that Sia concert?

Goodby Silverstein & Partners produced this cinematic, YOLO-fueled spot for StubHub, encouraging you to buy those concert tickets “before it’s too late.” The ad balances sleek, action-movie pacing with an unexpected, hilarious ending.

 

9) Pedigree

BBDO New York resurrected a little-known story from the Revolutionary War to promote Pedigree’s “Feed the Good” campaign.

In 1777, General George Washington and his troops were in the midst of a battle against British Forces Commander-in-Chief William Howe when one of Washington’s men discovered Howe’s dog wandering lost near the American camp. Instead of harming the lost pup (as some of Washington’s men reportedly suggested), Washington benevolently returned the dog to Howe with a kind note. The true story reflects Pedigree’s belief that dogs bring out the best of us.

 

10) Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Here’s one for the IT guy or gal in your office.

In this playful Publicis New York-produced ad for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a sad, bobble-head IT employee named Brian is forced to deny his colleagues’ earnest requests due to inadequate legacy technology. That is, until his office gets Hewlett Packard Enterprise — at which point Brian transforms Pinocchio-style from a plastic bobble head doll into a guy who can finally say “yes.”

partner-resources

from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-ads-from-april

Live From The Marketing Nation Summit: Day 2 – Storytelling, Brand Evolution, and The Future of Marketing

marketing-nation-summit-day-2

Author: Ellen Gomes

It’s day two at Marketing Nation Summit and the pace of interesting content and conversations—from the keynote, to a bustling expo show floor, to fantastic breakout sessions—has not slowed down. The day kicked off with breakout sessions, progressed to an awesome keynote led by the Marketo CMO, Chandar Pattabhiram with a multitude of awesome guests (including Queen Latifah 👑), and ended with more awesome breakout sessions. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Educating the Future of Marketing

Opening the keynote, Chandar announced the launch of Marketo University, and the release of free training courses for the next generation of marketers. And this commitment extends beyond Marketo University with a partnership with GreenFig University, a micro-university offering micro degrees in applied business science, to develop and deliver a digital marketing course to students and professionals across the United States. Additionally, Chandar shared Marketo’s continued commitment to mentoring the next generation of marketers at Marketing Nation Summit. This year, in partnership with College Track, we invited students from underserved communities to come participate in the conference, network and attend sessions.

Win the Heart and Mind of Your Customer

Chandar kicked off his keynote by giving the audience a small quiz about which brands came to mind when he mentioned a few words. The brands he featured? Apple, Nike, Tesla. These brands were featured because they have won the mind of the customer and therefore are icons. Winning the mind of the customer sounds easy enough for these icons, but what does it mean for us and our brands?

Chandar posed that you can win the minds of your audience by following the three A’s:

1. The Art of Storytelling. Winning minds starts with winning hearts, and that is done with engagement and storytelling. Great storytelling goes beyond the data to build a bond with a customer. A deeply moving story can affect change. How can you create a moving story? Be interesting, be authentic, and be relevant.

Great storytelling components

2. Adaptive Engagement. For many years marketers ran the show and customers listened. Now, the paradigm has shifted. It’s gone from brands talking and customers listening to customers talking and brands (and everyone else) listening. It’s come to down to listening, learning and engaging. The big difference is that we can do this at scale today.

Engagement is also about “acting” the lifecycle because it’s not enough to just talk about the lifecycle. How many of us are actually spending dollars across the entire lifecycle? The answer is surprising—only 13% of marketers. To adapt, marketers should build the bond early, grow, and evolve with the customer to create a bond for life. 

And then Chandar shared this example of lifecycle:

And the audience was like:

storytelling across the lifecycle3. Advocacy. We’ve been confusing loyalty with advocacy. Our best brand advocates are sitting next to us at work. Let’s start building brand advocates from the inside out. 

Next-Level Full Lifecycle

Next, Chandar invited Stephen Yeo, Marketing Director at Panasonic System Communications Europe to the stage. Stephen shared his experience using marketing technology at Panasonic to share their brand story across finely-tuned full-lifecycle marketing.

Stephen shared that Panasonic has taken the customer lifecycle and dissected it so they can message the customer in the right way, with the right story with the right product (and they have many… so it can be complicated). Panasonic started off using Marketo for acquisition, but now have so much data that they’ve been able to introduce many more programs, including a customer welcome program, retention programs, and win-back programs. They have put Marketo at the heart of the customer experience and adapted it based on where the customer is sitting. Stephen noted that their campaigns have increased exponentially but that doesn’t mean spamming people, instead “our segmentation has gotten finer and finer, as our engagement platform gets a finer and finer resolution of the customer.”

CMO 3.0

Tuesday’s keynote also played host to a lively panel led by James Cooper, Editorial Director of Adweek. James was joined by CMO panelists Kimberly Kadlec of Visa, Kristen O’Hara of Time Warner, Tyler Williams of Zappos, and Marisa Thalberg of Taco Bell, and their conversation on the future CMO ran the gamut from data to internal alignment to porta potties.

Some of the best moments?

  • O’Hara shared her perspective on the value of data, particularly as it related to how Time Warner is shifting their promotion strategy based on data for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie and engaging female comic fans.
  • Kadlec described the inspirational story of a refugee-turned-Olympian and how support for the Olympian inspired storytelling and pride within her organization. She shared that as marketing evolves, she thinks organizations have a duty to tell bigger stories.
  • Thalberg made the timely and relevant assertion that, “Digital and social have changed us. It’s really our community that owns the brand now.”
  • And on the porta potty topic, Williams shared that Zappos had elevated the portable toilet experience at festivals as a marketing tactic. Proof that goal completion is a more important metric for the future CMO than impressions? For this campaign, one of the key measurements is flushes.

The Queen Takes The Stage

After much anticipation Marketo’s SVP and General Council, Margo Smith introduced Queen Latifah to The Marketing Nation (we were very excited!). Queen Latifah shared how her upbringing shaped her world view, how she determines her next projects and the importance of failing. Here are two big takeaways, Queen Latifah shared with the audience:

Know Yourself: Queen Latifah shared that as she broke into the hip hop scene, as a young person she had to define herself as a brand early on. She could have easily been MC Latifah, but she looked around and saw the misogyny in hip hop and understood that she could say something with her music and with her brand. She signed her first contract as Queen Latifah and has listened to her gut on every project and career decision from there, helping her choose a path that offered projects and sponsorship that are authentic to her and her values.

Embrace Failure: “Be a constant student,” Queen Latifah implored. Constantly learning will keep you humble but provide constant growth. Growth was a big theme for Queen Latifah who also emphasized the importance of failure. Margo asked, “Were you afraid as you moved into different areas of your career—like from singing to acting?” The answer? A resounding “Yes!”. But Queen Latifah encouraged the audience to look at the fear of change and the fear of failure in the eyes, and move forward with your plans. What’s the worst that could happen? You fail? “Then you pick yourself up and try something new, or try it again.”

Keynote day 2 guest

Perspectives on Inclusivity and Diversity

As breakouts began, we had Marlene Williamson, CEO of Watermark, moderate a much-anticipated diversity panel that included Susan Lovegren, HR Executive and former Chief People Officer at AppDynamics, Joe Militello, Chief People Officer at Pivotal, and Lisa Curtis, Founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli. The panel covered several interesting topics around inclusion—including the impetus for immediate change and how employees and companies can make change happen.

According to the expert panelists, at many organizations, inclusivity is getting the attention it deserves because employees—especially young employees—are pushing for organizations to be conscientious and responsive to diversity issues. Panelists shared some “grassroots” inclusivity initiatives, including ideas like diversity channels on Slack, reverse mentorships (where new grads mentor executives on a chosen project), and Patrons & Protégé programs for high talent individuals. But, panelists agreed that for inclusivity to be an effective vector for attracting and retaining diverse talent, it must be core to company values, and should start with organizational leadership.

Content In The Engagement Economy

And this wasn’t a breakout session, but I’d be remiss in not sharing it here. Together, Marketo and LinkedIn shot a Facebook Live and Periscope session on Content in the Engagement Economy with industry influencers and content experts, Michael Brenner, Ardath Albee, and Jeff Bullas.

Didn’t catch us live? Don’t worry you can check it out here:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FMarketo%2Fvideos%2F10154372954340025%2F&width=300&show_text=false&height=533&appId

We can’t wait to see what magic the final day of Marketing Nation Summit 2017 brings. Did anything stand out to you from today? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.


Live From The Marketing Nation Summit: Day 2 – Storytelling, Brand Evolution, and The Future of Marketing was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com

The post Live From The Marketing Nation Summit: Day 2 – Storytelling, Brand Evolution, and The Future of Marketing appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/04/live-from-the-marketing-nation-summit-storytelling-brand-evolution-and-the-future-of-marketing.html

3 Copywriting Mistakes That Could Be Hurting Your Free Trial Engagement (And How to Fix Them Right Now)

Find a box with a CD-ROM in it, buy it, then learn how to use it.

That’s how I bought software as a kid. So when I first started working, I assumed that if I wanted to start using work-related software, I would have to pay for it the same way: upfront — site unseen! — just like the software of my youth.

I worried that I would have to justify the cost with only the specs, reviews, and sales guy’s word to make my case. (And if I was wrong, it would be my butt on the line.)

So I’m not exaggerating when I say that discovering I could try software for free actually improved my job performance and reduced new-on-the-job anxiety by ~62%.

Using a tool BEFORE I had to recommend it to my colleagues and pull out the corporate credit card gave me a chance to see which tools actually did what we wanted them to do.

All of a sudden, the risk that we’d pay for something that didn’t have a key feature or turned out to be a user-unfriendly nightmare shrank to almost zero.

What’s the Point of a Free Trial, Anyway?

Your serious prospects approach their free trials of your software with a mindset similar to mine circa 2000-something: they want to reduce the likelihood of buying something that doesn’t work.

They’ve got a problem to solve, they’ve discovered that your app might solve it for them, but they’re not yet certain that your app will be quite right. The free trial is a chance for new users to see for themselves what it’s like to use your app.

But. It’s not up to your free trial users to figure out how your SaaS app actually works. It’s not your new users’ job to figure out how your app will turn them into a better version of themselves.

It’s yours.

Too many SaaS apps lose free trial users with erratic, boring, or vague lifecycle emails.

If you run a SaaS app in pretty much any niche, you have an enormous opportunity to outmaneuver your competitors during the free trial process.

I sign up for free trials all the time to see how they onboard new users, and most don’t do a good job. Most onboarding emails don’t make it easy to understand what to do next. Most apps leave it up to me (the brand new user) to figure out how to get started.

Why is this a problem?

Because every time you make your new readers pause and try to figure out what to do next, you create an opportunity for them to give up and just do nothing instead.

What should you say to new free trial users?

Alas, there is no single hard and set rule. Every SaaS app is unique. What you say in your free trial, how you say it, and when you deliver your message will be specific to your app.

But if your biggest problem is that you’re sending triggered emails to new free trial users but they still aren’t signing back in after the first 10 minutes of using your app, there’s a strong chance that the copy in your emails is to blame.

To fix it, pull up your emails and see if they’re are suffering from one of these 3 engagement-killing mistakes.

Mistake 1: Your emails ask people to do too much.

When you offer more choices, you inspire less action.

The famous jam paper that explained the paradox of choice (and the TED talk that made it famous) showed us how we may be unintentionally taxing our prospects’ decision-making resources by offering too many choices.

But that’s not the whole story.

A 2015 meta-analysis of the research found that the total quantity of options is just one of many factors that can contribute to decision fatigue.

Another factor is the way that options are presented to us. When the presentation of options makes it hard to determine what choice is right for us, we’re likely to defer making a decision.

So if you’re sending your free trial users emails that look like this one, then there’s a strong chance you’re causing some serious decision-deferring choice overload.

a-personal-welcome-9-linksIt would probably take all afternoon to do everything this email mentions, and I might not get any closer to my goal.

This message tosses out 9 links (including one that’s hidden by my redaction) without a clear messaging hierarchy to help me figure out what order I should click on them.

This email provides login info, asks me to read help articles, watch help videos on 3 separate channels, ask for help via email, read interviews, or read a blog that might be helpful–all under the umbrella of “important information”.

But for your trial users, the real important information is the information that helps them decide what to do next.

The Fix: Write each email for the sole purpose of getting your users to complete a single action–and remove text and links that don’t support that action.

This particular message might be rewritten to focus on getting a single reader to respond to the important request hiding at the bottom of that email:

hidden-request

In the now-famous experiment, sending a welcome-why-are-you-here email helped Groove get response rates of 41% while also providing juicy voice of customer data to power future messaging development and laying the foundation for more personal relationships with new users.

Whether you’re following Groove’s lead or not, your free trial emails should all follow the Rule of One for best results: get one reader to take you up on one offer.

One email, one action. That’s it.

Mistake 2: Your emails don’t ask readers to do something specific and measurable.

When you rewrite your emails so that they’re focused on a single action, make sure that action is a discrete, clearly defined task on the user’s path to activation.

Your reader should be able to complete the task you’ve asked them to complete–and they should be able to tell that they’ve completed it.

Unfortunately, lots of emails offer vague and nonspecific CTAs. Some of them even sound exciting — especially CTAs that use the word “explore”. Exploring is fun! It’s adventurous! Brave souls explore!

explore-my-accountJust because it sounds fun doesn’t mean it is.

All true of actual exploring. But your SaaS app is not the Louisiana Purchase.

When you ask someone to “explore” something — anything, really — you put the onus on the reader to figure out what to do.

And because exploring doesn’t have a clearly defined end, it’s impossible for your reader to figure out exactly what to do next–and when they’ve actually completed the thing you’ve asked them to do.

The Fix: Reduce cognitive overwhelm with a CTA that calls for readers to complete a clearly defined single task.

Zapier does this well. This app helps you connect what feels like an infinite number of apps to do all sorts of cool things (including powering the technical logistics behind managing your lead nurturing messaging).

With so many options, it would be easy for free trial users to get overwhelmed. They could explore their options, but then decide not to do anything.

So instead of leaving it up to new users to decide what to do next, Zapier’s first email removes some of the cognitive drain of “Shoot, how will I choose?” and offers a CTA tightly bound around completing a single task.

zapier-build-your-first-workflowI love this email, and if I was going to rewrite it I would try other CTAs that don’t sound like they’re asking your reader to do work.

You already know what steps a new free trial user needs to complete to get to the point where your app suddenly becomes a can’t-live-without-it tool. You might even know the different steps different populations take to get to the point of activation.

Use your knowledge to guide your free trial users along the steps of that path.

Mistake 3: Your emails don’t connect the CTA to the outcome your free trial users want.

If you’ve rewritten your emails to get users to complete one and only specific and measurable action, that’s a great start.

Unfortunately, one of the most common grade-F CTAs I see in onboarding emails are the ones that don’t connect completing the action to solving a problem.

They make a call to action (the CTA “sign in” and its synonyms appear with devastating frequency), but they don’t make a call to value–so readers have no reason to expect that anything good will happen after they log back in.

Did logging into anything ever solve anyone’s problems? Of course not.

It’s what happens after you log back in that makes the difference.

The Fix: If your email’s CTA could easily appear in the free trial email sequence of another app outside of your category, change it.

If you’ve conducted your jobs-to-be-done research, you also know why your readers are using your app–and the outcome they hope to achieve.

Instead of “Log in to Your Account” or “Sign Back In Now”, your free trial email CTAs should make it clear that someone who clicks on this link will be moving closer to the goal they want to achieve with your app.

Buffer does a great job of sending an email that connects my click to what happens after the click.

After I signed up for a trial but didn’t finish setup, I got an email asking me to connect my accounts that also had some background info on what accounts, exactly, we’re talking about here. (In case I forgot what Buffer is.)

buffer-connect-social-profileThis email shows me everything I can connect to Buffer and makes it abundantly clear what I need to click to move forward.

Buffer could have sent an email that said “log back in” or even “connect a profile”. But “login” = boring and “connect a profile” = kind of vague.

Instead, this email makes it abundantly clear what to do with this email (click on the link that says “click here”) and the meaningful reason why you should take that next step (because it’s what you need to do to connect your social profiles).

Are You Making it Easy for Free Trial Users to Disappear?

When I first learned about free trials for software, I was over the moon. “Look at all this stuff I get to try!” “Look at all these opinions I get to form!” “Look at how few people I have to talk to before I make my decision!”

But what are all these thoughts really about?

What are your new free trial users really thinking when they sign up for your app?

My hypothesis is this: free trial users are really thinking some version of: “Look how little risk there is to trying this software. Let’s see if it works.”

The free trial reduces the risk of having to buy before you try. Your free trial messaging is what helps your prospect understand for themselves if your software will solve a problem.

What can you do to help free trial users understand that yes, your product can change their life?

Make it easier for free trial users to evaluate your app with focused, specific, and meaningful lifecycle emails.

About the Author: Alli Blum helps SaaS apps build messages that get customers. Click to get her copywriting checklist for high-converting SaaS onboarding emails.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/3-copywriting-mistakes/