The Top 7 Trends From Business Insider’s Ignition 2013

2014 Future of Content Marketing & MediaMarketers and media executives must plan for 2014’s dynamic environment. In it, social media, content and connected devices converge to make context the critical defining factor of their information delivery.

This convergence is driving a variety of exciting opportunities for forward-looking businesses where information delivery facilitates and drives real results for both businesses and customers.

At Business Insider’s Ignition 2013 Conference in New York, top executives and entrepreneurs discussed the future of content marketing and media for 2014 and beyond. These 7 trends focus on the conventional PC, smartphone and tablets while other devices including wearables, home, television and cars were discussed.

1. By 2014 media companies must be mobile.

At Ignition 2013, almost every media company made the point that 2013 mobile growth outpaced expectations. (Here are 67 Mobile Facts to provide context.)

  • Over 50% of their core audience’s content consumption occurs via mobile app for the FT. This means sense since mobile devices are used to snack on content.
  • 24% of new digital subscriptions come via their mobile app according to the FT.
  • Apps are for loyalists for JetBlue Airways. These customers have a relationship with the company and want a more robust set of features on the app.

2. BUT don’t be mobile only because the world is multi-screen.

Marketers and media companies need to be where their audience spends their time.To this end, follow the desire lines of where people want to go.

  • On average, people use 20 mobile apps or less.
  • 85% of people use their smartphone while they’re watching TV. Understand audiences tend to be passive. A fraction of the people tweet about TV while a larger proportion read tweets.

3. Every social tool isn’t perfect for every brand.

Each company has to test which platforms work best for their brands and products.

  • Larger companies find it a challenge to manage multiple social media accounts. SAP has established standards and governance around the accounts with best response.
  • LinkedIn is important for the sales team to work prospects. Support your salespeople to help them to build their personal brands and to appreciate the type of content needed to make a connection.
  • Slideshare is one of the biggest B2B opportunities. B2B Biz execs spend 3 times more time on Slideshare. For example, SAP made a Slideshare deck based on a senior executive’s request for information.

4. Email the ultimate mobile social product.

Email continues to be a key, if not the best, driver for both media entities and retailers. People forward something of value via email while social sharing is about their reputation.

For Digg, email performance was a big surprise. Digg has a high open rate for their daily email containing 5 stories. The email includes one video before it appears on site and it gets as many views as on site.

5. Good storytelling is required.

Regardless of platform, marketers and media firms must create stories people want to read. Content marketers take note. In the words of Slate’s Chairman & Editor-in-Chief Jacob Weisberg, “There’s no better time to be a journalist.”

  • 3 factors make a strong story according to VICE’s Shane Smith.  They are: Use a simple hook to pull readers in, tell a story with a beginning, middle and end, and deliver an ending worthy of the story build up. In Smith’s words, the story should “punch you in the face.”
  • Viral stories are the exception. Patrick Keene pointed out that 0.3% of Upworthy articles are deemed viral (BTW, here’s a discussion of an Upworthy viral hit.) Instead, aim to create the best content you can each time to build your authority.
  • Technology drives new forms of storytelling. For example, an application like Mint.com provides new insights based on highly personalized information that readers don’t get with other news forms.
  • Tablets have changed the length of article consumed. Allow for long format content consumption.

6. Brands are publishers.

Many brands are either publishers on their own sites or leverage the power of native advertising to co-create content with professional media companies like Gawker.

  • Non-promotional content gets 10 times the reach of promotional content noted SAP’s Michael Brenner.
  • Authenticity is critical for brands. Be aware of readers’ mindset.
  • Results may take time. On Tumblr which enables people to be a DJ of their content, 80% of content on Tumblr is from the reshare. 1/3 of Tumblr impact comes 1 month after brand publication, often from people who don’t follow brand.
  • AMEX’s Open Forum is the brand as publisher poster child. Open Forum publishes 50 pieces per week across 5 topic areas and 20 categories yielding over 1 million pageviews per month. They’ve brought a lot of the talent in-house.

7. Media companies need a mix of revenue streams.

In the words of Steve Jurvetson, “Money follows the eyeballs.” In other words, eyeballs are a proxy for attention. While this isn’t a new idea, it needs to be stated.

  • Don’t underestimate different ways to monetize your content. For media entities, this means subscriptions, advertising and one off products (such as events and other on-brand products).
  • Own your customer relationships directly. The FT doesn’t use the iTunes store since they would lose 30% of the upsell/crosssell potential of their customers.
  • Test new revenue models. For example, Vimeo installed a Tip Jar, something used by many bloggers. If you like what you view, then leave money. Vimeo’s average tip is in the high single digits.

 

For 2014, regardless of your business, you must focus on your customer and her context when she uses her connected devices to consume your information.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

PS- Big tip of my hat to Susan Borst of the IAB who led the Native Advertising Panel.


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Storytellers: The People Who Make Your Business Real

story corpsStories are powerful tools that shape how your audience views you. Your business needs storytellers as part of your content marketing strategy because stories enable you to connect with prospects, customers and fans and enhance the value of your offering.

At Ignition 2013, Henry Blodget started his interviews by asking his guests about a recent event, thereby getting them to tell a story. For example, Blodget asked the head of Samsung’s Open Innovation Centre, David Eun, what it was like to be on Asian Airlines flight 214 that crashed in San Francisco last July.

Eun had been seated in the front of the plane near the fire and exited the plane via a inflated chute. While he could have called his wife, Eun explained that he thought social media was the quickest way to inform his family, friends and colleagues who knew he was on the flight that he was okay. Twitter- Eunner At SFO Crash

Since this near death experience, Eun’s been living differently. His 3-prong approach includes: taking the time to understand what’s really important, savoring his time with family and friends by being present in the moment, and appreciating the gift and fragility of life.

By encouraging Eun to tell his story, Blodget pulled his audience in and enabled them to experience his guests as people. Even more important, he got the audience’s attention priming them for the rest of the interview.

How do you pull your target audience in? Gather the stories from the people related to your company and product. Telling people’s stories gets your audience to care about your company, brand and products by adding an emotional component to otherwise lifeless information.

5 Storytellers every business has

Who can contribute stories about your company, brand and product? Ask these 5 categories of people involved with your organization.

  1. Your employees. These are the people who work for your company. Think beyond your senior management. Everyone has something to contribute.
  2. Your suppliers. These are the people involved in sourcing your raw materials and creating your products.
  3. Your distributors. These are the people who actually get your products to your end customer. This includes more than just retailers.
  4. Your customers. These are the people who know your product from real life experience. Their stories, both good and bad, sell other customers. Remember these stories can appear in your ratings and reviews section as well as in your customer service center.
  5. Your community. These are people who may not fall into one of the other groups but are part of your organization. To capture their stories, cast a wide net including your board of directors, not-for-profits, and events you sponsor.

Of A Kind, a Tumblr based e-commerce site, knows the power stories have to connect customers with products. Of A Kind features limited edition products from on-the-rise designers and presents the story behind the product. In essence, Of A Kind makes its shoppers feel like they’ve just discovered the next big thing before everyone else. At its core, Of A Kind uses its stories to create an experience for its audience that pulls them in and makes them want the product.

Look at how Of A Kind describes its product, designer and other insights to lure readers in. Of a Kind - ANNA-LEE COWL SCARFOf a Kind - Watch Han Starnes Spin Some Awesome Yarn

Stories are everywhere. They are the best vehicle we have for making our content memorable and sharable.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

PS: Please join me today, Thursday, November 14th, at 4:00pm ET for #MarketingChat where we’ll discuss how to incorporate stories into your content marketing.


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Why Facebook Is Lame

Teen texting in NYC-Ed YourdonTeen behavior is significantly different from the rest of the marketplace. While this isn’t new, how today’s high school students—who’ve grown up digital—use their devices and technology, is new.

At Business Insider’s Ignition 2013, Smarty Pants’s Stephanie Retblatt asked 9 New York City teens aged 14 to 17 about their digital lives and habits.

Here are the 5 key teen take-aways that have marketing implications.

 

1. Teens love to communicate with their BFFs constantly. While the communication among teens is constant, it’s not necessarily voice. One student created videos and sent them to her friend because you don’t always have WiFi. They also use SnapChat for one-to-one communication. None of the students mentioned using their smartphones to make phone calls to talk to their friends in real time.

Actionable Marketing Implications:

  • Make it easy for teens to contact you when they’re ready to purchase or use your product or service.
  • Support communications teens favor. Help them to share photos of your products with their friends.
  • Supply WiFi to remove communications barriers in your place of business.

 

2. My smartphone is always there for me. With one exception, the students used either an iPhone or an Android smartphone. It was their personal device that they couldn’t live without. (Here are 67 Mobile Facts to provide context.)

In addition to being a video-gaming device, about half of the students used their smartphones to do homework, especially since they could do it on the subway on the way to school. Two of the options for writing a school paper on a smartphone were dictate it to Siri and send via email to the teacher or get an app called MS Word.

Actionable Marketing Implications:

  • Offer utilities teens find useful whether it’s connecting with friends, writing a paper or playing a game.

 

3. Who needs cable? Not teens. In the words of one student, “I think cable is a complete waste of money.” The students tended to watch OnDemand or NetFlix. A few used a DVR to record shows and view them the next day.

They confided that commercials are a complete waste of time and they didn’t have enough time to sit through them. But they have time to binge watch special shows such as “Breaking Bad.”

Additionally, the teens spent time on YouTube and Vine as television alternatives. They talked about sitting down to view a couple of videos and spending a couple of hours, often starting from the recommendation page.

Actionable Marketing Implications:

  • Rethink the ad as a push message, regardless of platform. This means finding another way to integrate your message without interrupting or keeping viewers from the information they want.
  • Provide quality content. The students mentioned shows with a strong story arc, good acting and quality production. Related to this, Steele Smith of VICE Media made the point that teens are interested in the news but just not the way cable news is delivered.

 

4. It’s my social media—Adults keep out. Facebook faces challenges maintaining engagement with younger demographics. Further, the students only use Facebook on a PC, even though their smartphone is their favorite device.

While it was cool to gain access to Facebook when they were younger, it’s not now, especially when your mom friends you and she has twice as many friends as you do. Also, Facebook is just a habit now. (For more, see Is Facebook Still Cool and Why Marketers Should Care.)

Even worse for one particular student, her mother posted a photo of her when she was small with a no longer appropriate nickname resulting in ridicule at school the next day.

The students felt that while looking at people’s streams is boring and full of stupid things, Facebook can be good for group emails to their school teams and other features.

The students preferred other social media platforms that their parents didn’t know about such as Instagram, Vine and Snapchat. No surprise, these platforms are visual and mobile based.

Teens are looking for the new new thing. Particularly if their parents don’t know that they’re spending time there. For teens social media tends to be a communication tool where they can express themselves, often one-to-one.

Actionable Marketing Implications:

  • Leverage the power of social media to observe what teens are doing and thinking by engaging with them. Don’t use social media as a way to promote to teens.

 

5. The future of Christmas: Today’s letter to Santa.

One student announced that she created her Christmas list for her mother, complete with images and store details. This means mom, you have no excuse for getting me the wrong stuff this year.

Students also used store functionality to alert their parents that they wanted a specific product. One student mentioned FreshDirect. Another student was her family’s go-to person to find products they wanted via her Amazon and eBay apps.

Actionable Marketing Implications:

  • Make it easy for teen shoppers to get their parents the necessary details for the products they want. Offer email options and shopping/wish lists.

 

While teens may do the things that teens have always done, they’re using connected devices and finding new ways to use them.

What other insights have you discovered about teens and what implications does it have for your marketing?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner's mega conference in San Diego, California at the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt. It includes a networking party on a naval aircraft carrier and much more!

Presenters include Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Michael Hyatt, Jay Baer, John Jantsch, Amy Porterfield, Mark Schaefer and experts from more than a dozen brands—just to name a few. Find out More

Did you miss me at Content Marketing World 2013?

Comtent Marketing World OnDemand Content Marketing World 2013 brought together the leading marketing thinkers and practitioners from around the globe. Over 1,700 marketers from 40 countries attended the annual event in Cleveland. But don't worry if you couldn't attend - or missed a valuable session - Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!

 

 

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