Archive for the ‘Marketing Strategy’ Category

106 More Amazing Social Media and Marketing Statistics for 2014 and 2015

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

As Wallis Simpson, Dutchess of Windsor, famously said, “You can never be too rich or too thin. Or have too many social media marketing statistics.”

Well, she actually only said the first part (which is debatable), but certainly would have said the second part (which isn’t) had social media been around in the 1930s.

The importance of emotion in B2B marketing

Image credit: Business 2 Community

How effective is social media in comparison to other digital marketing channels? Do consumers actually listen to brands? Do brands actually listen to consumers? How does B2B social media marketing differ in effectiveness from B2C use? Which network drives half of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs?

What type of posts generate the most engagement on Facebook? What do 91% of consumers check daily? What do more than half of marketers identify as their most critical areas of focus over the next 12 months?

Find the answers to those questions and many more here in 106 digital marketing facts (well, mostly) and statistics from two dozen sources.

21 Social Media Statistics

1. 54% of B2B marketers said they have generated leads from social media. (CMO)

2. Among the largest social media sites, YouTube drives the most highly engaged website traffic (with visitors overall spending on average nearly four minutes and visiting three pages on target sites), followed in order by Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter. Reddit and StumbleUpon drive the least engaged visitors. (VentureBeat)

3. Is the value of social media marketing for b2c brand overrated? 68% of U.S. consumers say they “mostly” or “always” ignore brand posts on every social network. And 83% of consumers say they have had a “bad experience with social media marketing.” (Experience: The Blog)

4. Brand ads on social networks were among the least trusted form of advertising, significantly lower than trust in ads viewed in traditional media. (Experience: The Blog)

5. Among “prestige” consumer brands, over the past four years, less than 0.25% of new customers were acquired through Facebook and less than .01% from Twitter; this compares to almost 10% for paid search and 7% for email marketing. (Experience: The Blog)

6. And yet – 80% of brands advertised on social media sites in 2014. (DashBurst)

7. But – social media can be effective for selling things to marketers. Marketing professionals are 50% more likely than consumers in general to like a brand on Facebook, 400% more likely to follow brands on Twitter, 100% more likely to make a purchase as a result of seeing something on Facebook, and 150% more likely to have completed a purchase as a result of a tweet. (Experience: The Blog)

8. Only 20% of CMOs use social networks to engage and collaborate with customers. (MarketingLand)

9. But 24% of brand say they do “social listening.” (DashBurst)

10. Just 18% of consumers trust posts by brands or companies on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. (MediaPost)

11. While 78% of companies now have a dedicated social media team, only 26% integrate social media fully into their business strategies. (DashBurst)

12. Yet 93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media- because 90% trust peer recommendations. But only 14% trust advertisements. (#Socialnomics 2014)

13. 82% of hyper growth SMBs say social media is effective for generating new leads. (Business 2 Community)

14. 58% of marketers indicate that their social media efforts have generated leads. (Believable.) Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC. (Not as believable.) (Business 2 Community)

15. You’ve likely seen the statistic that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third-most populous on earth. What you may not know is that WhatsApp would be #5 (followed by the U.S.), Google+ #7, LinkedIn #9, and Twitter the 10th largest country. (#Socialnomics 2014)

16. For online merchants, the average order value influenced by social media last year was $143.46. (AddShoppers)

17. Though 60% of people say they get their news from TV and 29% from newspapers, social media comes in third as a news source at 28%. It’s followed by radio at 19% and other print media at 6%. (Digital Information World)

18. Though most customer service requests (40%) still come through call centers, 18% now originate via email and 13% through “eService” (web, social and chat). Customer service requests through that eService channel are expected to grow 53% in the coming year. (Bluewolf)

19. 90% of enterprises say they use social media to respond to customer service inquiries–yet 58% of consumers who have tweeted about a bad experience never received a response from the offending company. (Bluewolf)

20. When they do respond, the average response time of brands on Twitter to user comments or complaints is nine hours. (Social Media Slant)

21. 75 of the top 100 brands have a presence on Google+. (Social Media Slant)

5 Digital Marketing Statistics

22. For the first time, marketers spent more to advertise on the Internet (a total of $42.8 billion) than they did for broadcast television in 2013. (MediaPost)

23. U.S.  marketers spent $12.8 billion on online display (banner) advertising in 2013–30% of the total online advertising spend. Retailers are the biggest spenders on display ads, accounting for 21% of total spending. (MediaPost)

24. However–just 32% of consumers say they trust online advertising of any type. Consumers trusted the messages in text message ads the least at 12%. (MediaPost)

25. 81% of marketing professionals believe that digital marketing technologies will cause their role to change within the next three years, but just 14% know how to “reinvent” themselves. (FierceCMO)

26. 76% of marketers say they need to be more data-focused to succeed, and 74% agree that “capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality.” Yet only 39% report using customer data and behavior patterns to shape marketing strategy in the past year. (FierceCMO)

8 Content Marketing Statistics

27. Marketers identified content marketing and social media engagement (each at 36%) among their top three digital marketing priorities for 2014. 31% included conversion rate optimization. Just 9% placed video marketing, and 2% connected TV, in their top priorities. (B2B Marketing Insider)

28. Consumer marketing is about mobile, B2B is about content. Asked what their organization’s “single most exciting opportunity” was for 2014, 22% of consumer marketers cited mobile, while just 10% of B2B marketers concurred. However, 24% of B2B marketers identified content marketing as their most exciting opportunity, compared to just 11% of B2C counterparts. (B2B Marketing Insider)

29. B2B purchasing decisions in general are taking longer and involving more people on the buying team. 58% of buyers say they spend more time researching than in the past; 53% rely more on peer recommendations; and 65% said the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact. (Marketing Interactions)

30. 88% of business buyers say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection, yet just 9% of respondents think of vendors as trusted sources of content (ouch!); the most influential types of content across both the awareness and evaluation phases of the buying journey are third-party validated research reports and studies. (MediaPost)

31. 68% of business buyers start their content sourcing at search engines and portals, 40% go to vendor websites (why, if only 9% trust them? Hmm…), and 25% are activated by an email from a trusted source or peer. (MediaPost)

32. The three most sought-after types of content by business buyers are comprehensive industry/category surveys and studies (52%); technical details about products and solutions (44%); and analyst reviews or recommendations (43%). (MediaPost)

33. Content plays a pivotal role in add-on buying decisions or supplemental purchases following an initial contract; 86% of B2B buyers frequently or sometimes use digital content to identify complementary or add-on products. (MediaPost)

34. B2B marketers spent an estimated $16.6 billion in 2014 on digital content publishing to acquire business leads, influence customer specifications, and educate and engage prospects. (MediaPost)

22 B2B Marketing Statistics

35. LinkedIn is the only platform the majority (62%) of B2B marketers consider to be effective; in second place is Twitter, with 50% of saying it is effective. (CMO)

36. Only 16 percent of B2B consumers prefer live webinars. (CMO)

37. The average B2B marketing budget is about 2% of revenue. (CMO)

38. Metrics matter. 88% of B2B CMOs say their C-suite peers turn to them for data and insight needed to strategize and plan, and 78% agree that marketing’s influence on corporate strategy is greater today than it was just two years ago. (CMO)

39. The highest paying marketing jobs are in B2B. (CMO)

40. 60% of all social media traffic to business to business websites come from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (SteamFeed)

41. 34% of tech companies have reduced their traditional advertising budget to fund digital marketing activities. (Only 34%?) (SteamFeed)

42. Just 6% of b2b buyers say that a prospective vendor’s social media activity has “a lot” of impact on their purchase decisions. 30% say it is “important but not a deal breaker.” (Content Marketing Institute)

43. On the other hand, 55% of buyers will eliminate a vendor from consideration if contact information and a phone number are not easy to find on the vendor’s website. (Content Marketing Institute)

44. The vast majority of buyers prefer to contact vendors through email (81 percent) or phone (58 percent). Just 17% want to use live chat and 9% social media. (Content Marketing Institute)

45. After visiting the home page and products/services pages, the most important next stop for b2b buyer’s is a prospective vendor’s “About Us” page. (Content Marketing Institute)

46. U.S. B2B marketers are projected to spend more than $100 billion on social media advertising by 2017. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)

47. The top social networks and social media tactics used by B2B marketers are LinkedIn and Facebook (each used by 86% of marketers), followed by Twitter (81%), blogging (64%), annd YouTube (53%). At the other end of the spectrum, less than 10% use Foursquare, podcasting, or Quora. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)

48. More than 80% of B2B marketers say their top goal in social media is increased brand awareness. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)

49. 53% of B2B Fortune 500 companies use marketing automation. (Marketing Interactions)

50. 63% of industrial supplies buyers say they purchase online, making it the most popular purchasing channel. Paper catalogs are least important. (Internet Retailer)

51. 54% of B2B buyers say they spend half or more of the industrial supply budgets online, and 39% say they plan to increase the amount they spend online in the coming year. (Internet Retailer)

52. 67% of industrial buyers say it is “very” or “extremely” important for suppliers to offer the ability to purchase on their websites. Just 7% say this is “not important.” (Internet Retailer)

53. Emotion plays a surprisingly large role in B2B purchases. Even when buyers see the value to the business, only 14% perceive a real difference in supplier offerings. (Business 2 Community)

54. But 71% of B2B buyers who see a personal value will buy a product. (Business 2 Community)

55. And 68% of buyers who see a personal value will pay a higher price for business product or service–but just 8% of buyers who see no personal value will pay the higher price. (Business 2 Community)

56. More than two-thirds of tech B2B searches occur outside of North America. (Social Media Slant)

6 Twitter Statistics

57. “Twitter users who see tweets from B2B tech brands are more likely to visit the sites of these brands. A recent study found that Twitter users visit B2B tech brand sites at a higher rate (59%) compared to average Internet users (40%), illustrating the strong presence of a B2B audience on Twitter. (CMO)

58. There is 50% crossover of members on Instagram and Twitter. (SteamFeed)

59. Tweets with 1-2 hashtags get 21% higher average engagement than those with none; but tweets with more than 3 hashtags get 17% less engagement. (SteamFeed)

60. Grandparents are the fastest-growing demographic on Twitter. (#Socialnomics 2014)

61. Twitter has 255 million monthly active users. (Social Media Slant)

62. 53% of Twitter users recommend products in their tweets at some time. (Social Media Slant)

7 LinkedIn Statistics

63. 83% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for distributing content. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)

64. For B2B websites and blogs, 90% of social traffic is driven by the big three networks–with half of it coming from LinkedIn. (Business 2 Community)

65. 83% of business-to-business marketers use LinkedIn for content marketing. (Business 2 Community)

66. 93% of B2B marketers find LinkedIn the most effective social network for B2B lead generation, and 77% say they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn. (Business 2 Community)

67. Each second, two new members join LinkedIn – the equivalent of the entire enrollment of the Ivy League joining every day. (#Socialnomics 2014)

68. There are, on average, eight new LinkedIn groups created each week, and 200 group conversations per minute. (Social Media Slant)

69. LinkedIn (74%) and Tumblr (54%) are the only social networks that U.S. users access predominantly via desktop. (Social Media Slant)

5 Facebook Statistics

70. Facebook posts with less than 250 characters get 60% more engagement. (SteamFeed)

71. Nearly half (45%) of B2B marketers say their company has gained at least one new customer through LinkedIn. (Gerardo Lara on Pinterest)

72. 52% of digital news consumers say they get at least some of their news from Facebook and Twitter. (Digital Information World)

73. Facebook has 802 million daily active users–609 million on mobile devices. (Social Media Slant)

74. Posting to Facebook on Fridays is likely to result in better engagement: 17% of weekly comments, 16% of weekly likes and shares, and 25% of videos played occur on that day. Updates posted on Sundays generate the fewest comments. (Social Media Slant)

2 YouTube Statistics

75. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults 18-24 years old than any cable network. (SteamFeed)

76. U.S. marketers spent $2.8 billion on online video advertising in 2013. (MediaPost)

6 Pinterest Statistics

77. Pinterest outperforms Twitter and LinkedIn in the time spent on each network. (SteamFeed)

78. Almost half of all Pinterest activity is on tablets. (SteamFeed)

79. For online retailers, Pinterest (24.3%) and Facebook (24.2%) drive the highest share of social revenue. (AddShoppers)

80. Pinterest now hosts roughly 30 billion pins on 750 million boards. (Social Media Slant)

81. 100,000 of Pinterest’s members are retailers.  (Social Media Slant)

82. 92% of all pins are posted by women, and as of April 2014, there were 15 times more pins by women than by men. (Social Media Slant)

5 SEO and SEM Statistics

83. One-third of all organic search clicks on Google are on the first result. (SteamFeed)

84. 43% of all online advertising dollars are spent on search ads. U.S. marketers spent $18.4 billion on paid search ads in 2013. (MediaPost)

85. 72% of PR agencies are now offering SEO services. (MarketingProfs)

86. Each day, 20% of the terms typed into Google have never been searched before. (#Socialnomics 2014)

87. By 2018, one of every $10 spent on digital marketing services will be spent on SEO. (MediaPost)

7 Email Marketing Statistics

88. By industry, the highest average email click-through rates are in media/publishing (20%), software/SaaS (19%), and technology equipment/hardware (14%). The lowest are in real estate (8%) along with education/healthcare and nonprofits (both at 7%). (MarketingSherpa)

89. As of 2013, there were 3.6 billion email accounts (roughly one for every two people on earth). (HubSpot)

90. 91% of consumers check their email daily. (HubSpot)

91. 74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email. (HubSpot)

92. Suppressing anyone in your list who hasn’t engaged with your emails in over a year increases your deliverability rate by 3-5% immediately. (HubSpot)

93. For ecommerce merchants, the average value of Twitter share is 85 cents and the average value of a Facebook “like” is $1.41. But the average value of an email share is $12.10. (AddShoppers)

94. Also for ecommerce merchants, email subscribers convert at more than twice the rate of those reached through Google+ or Facebook shares. (AddShoppers)

12 Mobile Marketing Statistics

95. Half of all clicks on mobile banner ads are accidental. (SteamFeed)

96. CMOs say their top two areas for digital technology investments over the next 3-5 years are mobile applications and advanced (predictive) analytics, each at 94%. (MarketingLand)

97. U.S. marketers spent $7.1 billion on mobile ads in 2013–more than double the amount spent in 2012. (MediaPost)

98. 61% of marketers specify social media as the most critical area of focus over the next 12 months, followed closely by mobile at 51%.  (FierceCMO)

99. 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices. But only 11% of emails are optimized for mobile. And 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile. (HubSpot)

100. 25% of emails are opened on iPhones. (HubSpot)

101. As of January 2014, 58% of American adults owned smartphones and 42% owned tablets. (Pew Research Center)

102. By the end of 2015, 81% of all U.S. cell phone users will have a smartphone. (Social Media Slant)

103. 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online; 34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones. (Pew Research Center)

104. 81% of cell phone owners use their phones for text messaging; 74% use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location; and 52% use it to send or receive email. (Pew Research Center)

105. Many mobile marketers still don’t get it though. Nearly 70% of cell phone owners say they receive unwanted sales/marketing calls, spam or text messages on their phones. 25% say they receive these unwanted calls and texts at least weekly. (Pew Research Center)

106. Mobile sharing grew 2.6 times faster than desktop sharing through the first part of 2014, and now accounts for the majority of social actions. (Social Media Slant)

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14 Key Takeaways from the B2B Content Marketing Report

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report is out, and no doubt will spur a number of blog posts. As usual, this year’s findings are a mix of the obvious (lead generation is the top goal of content marketing – as it has been for the last 10,000 years or so) and the somewhat surprising. For example, having a documented strategy makes companies much more successful–but only 30% of firms have a formally documented content strategy. And content marketing ROI remains difficult to measure.

2014 B2B Content Marketing ReportHere are more than a dozen noteworthy findings from the report.

1. Current customers may be under-valued. As noted above, lead generation is the top goal (59%) of content marketers; no surprise there. However, just 17% of survey respondents identified “Customer loyalty/retention” as a goal. Yet existing customers can be a company’s most effective and valuable advocates.

2. Content marketing is not about revenue. Just 16% of respondents said revenue generation was a top goal. Not surprising, as it’s never been easy to tie most marketing activities directly to dollars in. There are simply too many variables in the equation: price, product features, sales processes and skills, and the fact it takes multiple brand exposures (you’ve likely heard of the advertising rule of seven) before a prospect will buy.

Those seven (or eight, or 12) brand exposures can come through a variety of channels—industry news sites, social networks, blogs, online ads, analyst reports, search—which is why content development forms the base of a web presence optimization strategy.

3. Having a documented content marketing strategy is vital. Companies with a documented strategy are three times as likely as those without to describe their content marketing as “very” or “extremely” effective–and only one-third as likely to say they are “not sure” of its effectiveness.

4. Strategy means money… Nearly two-thirds (64%) of companies that have a documented content marketing strategy also have a dedicated content marketing budget. But just 14% of companies without a documented strategy have a dedicated budget for content creation and distribution.

5. …though often not enough money… Despite the importance of content marketing, 43% of companies devote less than 20% of their total marketing budget to content creation and distribution. More than a quarter spend 10% or less. Just 10% spend in the ideal range of 25-30%. On the other hand, more than three-quarters (77%) of marketers plan to increase spending on content production in the next 12 months.

6. …and strategy (often) includes automation. More than two-thirds (69%) of companies that have a documented content marketing strategy also use marketing automation. But just 42% of firms without a written strategy use such tools.

7. Content marketing starts with blogging. Blogging is the most commonly used content marketing format, with nearly two-thirds of survey respondents maintaining blogs. Rounding out the top five tactics are:

  • • Social media (64%)
  • • Case studies (64%)
  • • White papers (55%)
  • • Press releases (51%)

On the other hand, webinars/webcasts are used by less than half of b2b marketers. And less than 10% report using tactics like branded apps, podcasts, printed books, or games.

8. The C-suite is asking for metrics… Consistent with recent years, the top two content marketing challenges remain a lack of time/resources to create content, and the inability to create enough content variety and volume. However, this year’s report notes, “Measuring the effectiveness of content marketing has risen from the number six spot last year (28%) to number four (38%) reflecting increasing pressure to demonstrate results and justify investment in content marketing.”

Responding to those demands will require CMOs and marketing leaders to investigate a new class of tools designed to measure multi-channel web and competitive metrics, rather that relying on point solutions (social media monitoring, web metrics) that provide limited, siloed views.

9. …but ROI measurement remains elusive. Just 39% of marketers believe they are “at least somewhat successful at tracking content marketing ROI.” Yet as noted above, there is increasing pressure to provide such measurement. Closing this gap will require marketers to embrace a new breed of metrics to support improved marketing decision making.

10. The connections aren’t always clear. Not surprisingly, the top metrics used to measure content marketing success are website traffic (63%) and downloads / conversions (59%). More surprisingly though, just a third of marketers identify “social media sharing” or “SEO / search engine ranking” as key metrics—even though these are vital in supporting those top two metrics.

And just 19% cited “inbound links” as key metric, despite the fact that link earning through content marketing is essential to maintaining strong organic search presence in the post-Penguin world.

11. Outside talent can help. As noted above, most marketers say they are resource-constrained in producing enough volume or variety of content. Yet more than half (53%) rely on corporate marketing for content production. 36% depend on internal subject matter experts (SMEs, who have content knowledge, but not format knowledge) and just 30% on external agencies or consultants (the flipside of internal SMEs, with expertise in format but not product or service knowledge).

Connecting external resources with internal SMEs enables companies to produce more high-value content with less corporate or product marketing effort. And yet—25% of marketers don’t outsource any content creation, and less than 1-in-5 (19%) outsource half or more of all content development.

In terms of what types of content creation are outsourced, it’s not surprising that the majority of companies keeping blogging (76%) and case study writing (78%) in-house. But it is surprising that less than a quarter of marketers outsource the production of content formats requiring specialized skills, such as white papers, videos, and infographics.

12. Outside sources can help, too. 92% of companies create content internally (no surprise). But just 38% report that they “curate or syndicate third-party content.” An ideal content marketing strategy should contain a mix of internally and externally produced content, both to maximize the value of content to the company’s target audience and make the most efficient use of content development resources.

13. LinkedIn rules, Facebook…not so much. Per the report, “LinkedIn tops the list of the most effective social media platforms to deliver content and engage audiences (82%).” Just 41% of B2B marketers, however, say that Facebook is effective for content delivery. That’s nearly a mirror image of the B2C content marketing world, where 90% of marketers rely on Facebook but just 51% use LinkedIn.

14. Weekly content updates are the norm. 40% of marketers say they publish new content either “weekly” or “multiple times per month” (i.e., roughly weekly). 30% publish just once per month or less,  and 30% publish more than weekly (multiple times per week or daily).

There’s much more, so check out the complete 2014 B2B Content Marketing Report to review all of the findings.

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Accomplish More, Stress Less – Five Ways to Be More Productive

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

If there’s one universal truth in business today, it’s that everyone is busy. This is what drives people to try to multitask (even though it’s not possible). It’s why we’re told that as marketers, we have only 30 seconds (or less) to get a reader’s attention, and why 40% of website visitors will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load (four or five seconds – who’s got that kind of time?!).

It’s certainly not the case that five years ago, workers had all the time in the world–that they could stresslessly ponder the ramifications of and reflect upon the results of each task. No, people were already very busy back in 2008-2009; but the great recession magnified this. Many large companies have discovered how much they can get done with how little, and are unlikely to relax demands much even in an improving employment climate.

Here then are five ways to get more done without simply working longer hours.

The Rock-Pebble-Sand-Water Model

The Rock-Pebble-Sand-Water ModelIf you’re not familiar with this model, it involves categorizing tasks as either rocks (large and important projects), pebbles (smaller, but still somewhat important activities), sand (the small stuff, e.g., checking email) and water (everything else). The idea is that if you think of your time as a jar and start by filling it with pebbles and sand, the rocks will never fit it.

But if you put the rocks into your “jar” first, the pebbles, sand and water will fill in the spaces.

This model is popular with management gurus, but can be challenging to implement. The key is to understand that, ultimately, you have to decide which of your tasks are really rocks–and which are pebbles, sand, or even something that just doesn’t belong in your jar at all.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix

The Eisenhower Decision MatrixIn the Eisenhower Decision Matrix (originally developed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower but later popularized by Stephen Covey), tasks are organized into four boxes, with the degree of urgency on one scale and importance on the other.

Items that are both urgent and important (significant problems or opportunities) represent the largest “rocks” in the model above. Tasks that are important but not necessarily urgent (e.g., getting a blog post written for next week, catching up on project management organization) are smaller rocks. They have to get done, just not necessarily immediately.

Two important considerations when using this model are 1) making clear who decides which tasks are in which box (as it’s likely not everyone will agree on either the urgency or importance of any given task) and 2) properly setting expectations, particularly for those tasks which are important but not urgent.

Dayparting

Combine either or both of the models above with scheduling or day planning.

Once beyond college age, the majority of people are most mentally alert in the early morning hours. To take advantage of this, use the first part of the morning (i.e., from as early as you’re able to start work until about 10:00) to take care of “rocks” or urgent+important tasks, particularly those requiring significant mental effort.

Use the “core” hours of the day (10:00 to 4:00) for tasks involving communication and coordination with others, and late afternoon for tasks requiring time and effort but not strenuous mental exertion.

To help maintain this regimen, minimize checking email during the early morning and late afternoon time slots.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique for productivityWhile there’s an entire book devoted to this strategy, to grossly oversimplify, the Pomodoro technique involves working in short 25-minute bursts of concentrated effort, punctuated by five-minute breaks. After four “pomodoros” (Italian for “tomatoes”) have passed, you take a longer (15-20 minute) break.

Writers and others who need to get and stay “in the zone” mentally for a bit longer in order to be optimally productive may opt for what could be called the “big tomato” or “ripe tomato” variation of this strategy: work for 60-90 minute periods, followed by a 10-15 minute break, with a 30-minute break after three such stretches.

Delegate

The most direct way to get more done is to get more people working. “Many hands make light work,” as your grandmother may have said.

Delegation is not only for those in management roles. Bloggers, for example,  can delegate by inviting guest posters to contribute content or asking experts to answer questions for a round-up post.

Freelancers can be hired, often at nominal cost, to perform specific tasks. And partnering with another individual–and sharing the credit–is a great way to double the end result of a project, or cut the effort required in half.

What productivity hacks do you find most useful?

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11 Remarkable Guides to Marketing, Search, and Life

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

In addition to providing original content for marketing and PR professionals, this blog frequently highlights “best of” content across a variety of topic areas including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, social PR, and web presence optimization (WPO)—the discipline that ties together these areas plus online advertising and content marketing.

In the process of curating noteworthy content from the industry’s best minds, some posts and articles are discovered which clearly merit recognition, but don’t fit neatly into any online marketing category.

Understanding B2B Buyer Behavior

Image credit: salesforce blog

Nevertheless, they answer important questions, such as: which old-school, offline marketing tactics are still most effective? What’s the best time to reach b2b sales prospects? How can you maximize results from event marketing (while minimizing the stress of travel)? And what really matters in life?

Find the answers to those questions and others here in almost a dozen of the best general marketing and hard-to-categorize articles and blogs posts of the past 18 months or so.

14 Simple Ways to Show Customers the Love by Blue Kite Marketing

Laura ClickLaura Click details more than a dozen ways to show your customers how much you appreciate them, from handwritten notes and and freebies to promoting their work: “As long as it’s not a conflict to do so, use your client’s products and services and look for ways to promote them. For instance, you could give them a shout out on social media channels, share their content, showcase their work at your office and talk them up to your other customers. Be their biggest advocate.”

19 Simple Marketing Tips That Won’t Break Your Advertising Budget by Branding Beat

Mandy KilinskisMandy Kilinskis details more than a dozen-and-a-half marketing tips categorized under social media, online advertising, offline advertising, networking, and referrals & customer service (e.g., partnering with other businesses for mutual referrals: “If you are a business coach then find some attorneys, bookkeepers, or website developers who are happy to refer you when they have clients who need what you have to offer. A nice 10% kick back will go a LONG way in the thank you department”).

5 Classic Marketing Tactics That Still Work by Millennial CEO

Steve OlenskiGuest author Steve Olenski explores a handful of old-school marketing practices that still generate results, including promotional gifts (a.k.a. tchotchkes, or trinkets & trash) bearing a company’s logo, mailing lists, and coupons and mailers (“The ability to send mailers to very specific locations, down to the zip code or neighborhood, allows many service companies to identify and target their best potential customers”).

B2B Buyer Behavior: Timing is Everything [INFOGRAPHIC] by salesforce Blog

Amanda L. NelsonNoting that “B2B buyer activity and research peaks at different times of the day, week, month and year,” Amanda Nelson showcases an infographic that reveals “when B2B buyers perform research on the web, when they convert on a website, and when you can get them on the phone.” For example, the best time to call is generally just before lunch time.

The 10 types of people you meet at marketing events by iMedia Connection

Josh DrellerJosh Dreller offers a zoological “list of 10 common industry stereotypes you might encounter while attending industry events, along with the dos and don’ts for engaging with each animal personality,” for example, worker bees: “Don’t bother engaging with these people. Learn to recognize the worker bees early and know that they don’t want to be bothered. Killer bees might actually attack if provoked. Do ask them for their drink tickets to the cocktail party that they don’t need.”

13 more of the coolest hidden Google tricks by memeburn

Lauren GrangerAs a followup to her post on 17 of the Coolest Google Tricks, Lauren Granger shares a baker’s dozen more Easter eggs and hidden tricks on Google — such as what happens when you search on the word “askew.” Sadly, Google appears to have “fixed” a few of these; for example, it no longer offers directions from Japan to China by jet ski.

6 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Google by Mix The Net

Unlike the post above which is mostly for amusement, the tips presented here by Darko Johnson are (mostly) actually useful: for example, how to avoid spam by creating unlimited disposable email addresses with Gmail; how to quickly find beautiful wallpapers; and how to find alternatives to all types of products.

The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding [Infographic] by MarketingProfs
***** 5 STARS

Seth PriceSeth Price highlights a brilliantly clever infographic illustrating the “A to Z” of personal branding, from authenticity, blogging and content through “you” phrasing and zeal (“a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes one determined to do something. Without it, there’s no point in building a personal brand”).

A Personal Marketing Plan for the New Job Search by The Savvy Intern

Scott KeenanWhat used to work for job hunting and obtaining interviews no longer works, writes Scott Keenan, who recommends job seekers use social media to network and get noticed outside traditional channels, and also “find a way to stand out from the other candidates; to show recruiters you have the skills to solve their problems..those requirements can all easily be organized – and then satisfied – with a personal marketing plan” as he outlines.

Must-Have Gadgets For Carry-On Travel by Soulati-TUDE

Jayme SoulatiThe delightful Jayme Soulati reviews seven essential devices for the business traveler, including Tumi wheeled carry-on luggage, which she notes “are not cheap, but you’re not going to replace these bags for 20 years.” This post is from early 2013 so some of the models have been updated, but the brand recommendations remain solid.

(Infographic) The Top 10 Regrets In Life By Those About To Die by Addicted 2 Success
***** 5 STARS

Joel BrownThis may sound horribly depressing but it’s well worth a look. We spend so much time focusing on our careers, we can forget what’s truly important. The perspective offered in this infographic showcased by Joel Brown is invaluable. Be excellent at what you do, yes—but take time to enjoy life and enrich the lives of others along the way.

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The Biggest Roadblock to Social Business Success

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Stories about how top executives just don’t “get” social media and the concept of social business were common four or five years ago. But it’s jarring to still come across such reports today.

Despite the fact that 82% of buyers say they trust a company more when its CEO and senior leadership team are active in social media, and 77% are more likely to buy from a company if its CEO uses social media (those stats themselves nearly two years old), “64% of CEOs do not use social media at all, with only 5% of all Fortune 500 company CEOs on Twitter,” according to The Guardian.

Don't fear social businessWorse, C-level executives who don’t use social media themselves are also much less likely to understand how to capitalize on the social media savvy and reach of their employees to benefit their companies. And those benefits can be considerable. Per recent research from GaggleAMP:

“Connecting your business with your employees in social media can boost your social media presence. Employee advocacy not only has the ability to acquire new leads, but also can help create original content and bump your search rankings on Google, Yahoo, and MSN…Prospective clients are more likely to recognize your brand when you’ve got a network of employee advocates helping to sell your product through social media. This can cut down on the time it takes to gain the trust of clients as well as help solidify the relationship more quickly.”

Expanding a company’s social presence through its employees’ networks requires some give and take. Employee participation must be voluntary. Employers will need to do some level of monitoring, in order to measure results, share best practices, and incentive employees for social amplification.

That monitoring activity needn’t be excessive or intrusive; it should be limited to work-related social media activities, and social networks on which employees are active on the company’s behalf (an individual employee may, for example, choose to use his or her Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to promote company content and interact with customers and prospects, but use Facebook strictly for personal relationships).

Yet too many companies, regardless of their progress as social businesses, already take or plan to take this monitoring to excessive, even downright creepy, levels. Per per research from PricewaterhouseCoopers:

“More employers plan to begin or increase their monitoring of employees’ social media use and other personal data over the next decade…the idea is frankly kind of Orwellian in that terrifying corporate kind of way: The data profiling that drives customer management will increasingly be replicated among employees as screening and monitoring move to a new level. Sensors check their location, performance and health. The monitoring may even stretch into their private lives in an extension of today’s drug tests. Periodic health screening gives way to real-time monitoring of health.”

Of course, employees need to actually be engaging in social media activities on a company’s behalf in order for their to be any social activity to monitor. Nearly as disturbing as excessive monitoring, more than a third (36%) of businesses block social networks completely within the office, and more than half (57%) permit workplace social media access only for select employees (e.g., marketing and HR).

The fundamental barrier to embracing a social business strategy seems to come down to one word: fear.

  • • Fear of bad, or even unmeasurable, results. While precise social media ROI may or may not be measurable, many indicators of success certainly are. Social media amplification is like any other business process: test, measure, improve, repeat.
  • • Fear that employees will waste time on social sites. Employees have been finding ways to distract themselves, and others, and generally waste time at work, for pretty much as long as groups of human beings have worked together. Employees intentionally wasting work time are a sign of poor hiring, poor motivation, and/or poor management. Those determined to waste work time will do so regardless of social media policy.
  • • Fear that employees will be unproductive. This is different than the point above; it’s not fear that employees will purposely waste time, but rather that employees, with the best of intentions, will use social networks inefficiently. Monitoring, measurement, and training are the answer.
  • • Fear that employees will say the wrong things. They’ll get brand messages wrong, or argue with customers, or reveal trade secrets, or disclose sensitive financial information, or bash competitors, or bash management, or tweet while drunk, or say something racist or sexist, or…whatever. Actually, in a healthy work environment, employees are far more likely to appreciate trust than to abuse it. And, backed up with training and clear policies, they deserve it.

Most fundamentally of all, however, is the fear that a surprising majority of companies still seem to have in acknowledging that they are staffed by actual people. Try this experiment: pick 10 business websites, from companies of any size, pretty much any industry. See if you can find a way to directly contact a specific individual (e.g., the head of marketing, the top HR exec, anyone in customer service, the webmaster, the VP of sales, even the CEO) at any of those companies, through information presented on the company’s website.

Many sites won’t list any individual employee or management names at all. Some will have “management team” pages that list a handful of top executives (though not with any direct contact information). Most will not provide any email addresses beyond the generic “info@” or “sales@” variety. Many will link to the company’s social media accounts—but not to the accounts of any individual employee, even if used strictly for business purposes. In some cases, you’ll be able to find contact information for the individual in charge of public relations—but often as not, this will be someone from an outside agency rather than a company employee.

That may be the most fundamental fear of all: being social means being human. That is what needs to change, first and foremost. As social media guru Ted Rubin notes, “A smart brand supports its employees in building their personal brands because it expands their reach right along with that of their employees.”

How do executives who want to overcome these fears and embrace social media start? Search for guidance and resources online, watch videos like this one, read books like The Social Employee by Cheryl and Mark Burgess (a veritable field guide to social business best practices, based on case studies of brand-name social enterprises), and begin by getting employees involved with the business socially internally, using tools like Yammer or Chatter.

But whatever you do, start. With regard to social business, the only rational fear top executives should have is fear of being left behind.

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