Under Armour Launches New Digital Campaign Using Misty Copeland

In its new campaign launched today from Droga5, Under Armour uses iconic ballerina/warrior Misty Copeland, first African American to be named as principal ballerina. Words by Saul Williams. As we all know, personalities can be iconic—just like the logos and products they represent, they instantly signal specific values that resonate and keep products relevant.

Under Armour riffs on this well-worn meme by aligning with the values of personalities like Ms Copeland, Zoe Zhang, Jessie Graff, Alison Desir, and Natasha Hastings, who are atypical sports heroines: ballerina, actress and Taekwondo Black Belt, a stunt…

Chief financial officers take on traditional CMO tasks using data and analytics to drive customer strategy

With the drive to improve customer experience a company-wide concern, the traditional role of the CMO is evolving to include the data-centric CFO as the driver of customer experience.

A combined study between Dunn & Bradstreet and Forrester revealed that 53% of finance leaders surveyed report being responsible or accountable for customer-focused initiatives.

The report is based on 250 CFOs and EVPs of finance familiar with their organization’s use of data/analytics to inform decision and strategy.

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Because positive business results are often fueled by customer experiences, chief financial officers use data and analytics to drive home customer strategy. By insuring that it is rooted in insights that drive favorable outcomes, 36% of finance executives surveyed were identified as customer-obsessed leaders. The report also shows data and insights driven companies are 39% more likely…

How The Weather Channel Does Social Media

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Jennifer Watson began her career as an on-camera meteorologist in Mississippi and Alabama, where she also helped manage both stations’ social media channels and weather blogs. Taking a job as a social media specialist with Atlanta-based The Weather Channel was a natural transition for her. “The Weather Channel is a dream job for a weather nerd like me,” says Watson.

CCO: How do you manage the amount and variety of information you curate every day?

Watson: At The Weather Channel, our main goal is to provide weather information to help our fans plan their day and stay safe during severe weather. One of the most critical responsibilities of my job is during severe weather outbreaks; we use Twitter to break down storm information to our followers, making sure people have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. We have meteorologists on the social media team to ensure that we’re always posting accurate information.

In addition to breaking weather information, we also post about a lot of other weather verticals, such as wildfires or drought. Weather impacts every part of your life, whether you realize it or not. It even affects the economy and what you purchase. A lot of our meteorologists are big space geeks, so we also post information about satellite launches, different astronomical events, etc. We are excited and looking forward to this year’s total solar eclipse.

CCO: There must be risks related to reporting breaking weather news via social media.

Watson: We want to make sure people have a way to get real-time information if they can’t see it on TV. Social media is a great vehicle to disseminate this information but there are definitely challenges.

Facebook isn’t ideal for breaking information because information is served up to users based on habits and preferences. Twitter, however, allows us to push out alerts as they are issued and we are able to update forecasts in real time. If we’re following tornadoes in Louisiana or Mississippi, for example, we have automated location-based alerts that go out.

My role requires long hours to be sure everything is quality-checked and to ensure that we are getting people the information they need to stay safe. With weather reporting, social media coverage is a 24/7 job; it never ends. I’m always monitoring. I don’t want to miss anything.

CCO: What about fast-moving systems in which you’re not sure of the accuracy of the information you see online? What type of guidelines do you follow to ensure that you’re sharing good content?

Watson: It’s important for all of us at The Weather Channel to post the most accurate information online and on social channels. To ensure that the correct information is being posted, we have guidelines in place and we always have a meteorologist on duty to review posts before they are published if needed. We have a lot of checks and…

Maker of Hit Toy Hatchimals Hatches a Plan to Win Christmas

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Spin Master’s Hatchimals Credit: Hatchimals.com

Something is hatching this October. Spin Master, the Toronto-based company behind Hatchimals, the “it” toy of 2016, is preparing for the second iteration of its popular hatching egg toy. But unlike last year, when stores sold out in minutes and desperate parents paid as much as $500, more than eight times the original $60 price, for the privilege of having the must-have item under their Christmas tree, the toymaker will not be caught off-guard.

“It wasn’t that supply wasn’t there—it was an aggressive supply,” explained Tara Tucker, VP of global marketing and communications at 23-year-old Spin Master, which also owns Paw Patrol and Etch A Sketch. “It just caught on so quickly and exceeded anyone’s expectations.” She noted that consumers lined up for Hatchimal product drops as early as 4 a.m. in the months following the brand’s October 7 debut last year. One analyst estimated two million units were sold, generating some $80 million in revenue, according one CNN Money report.

Some retailers are dedicating more space to toys this holiday in an effort to boost sales and encourage in-store visits. JC Penney announced last week it will operate toy shops…

Product Hunt founder: ‘Launching is not a one-time thing’

At Startupfest this week, there was one piece of advice that really resonated with me, and it came from Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover. During an interview with TechCrunch’s Fitz Pepper, Hoover ended up downplaying what many startups naturally obsess about: the launch.

Hoover made a point to emphasize that startups should get their product out sooner rather than later. The important part is to have a small audience try it and then iterate based on their suggestions.

“Launching is a tactic,” Hoover said. “But oftentimes it’s better to find a few hundred users in your target market and get feedback from them. That doesn’t necessarily require a public launch.”

I’d like to add three simple rules:

Reducing Manpower: 13 Marketing Processes You Can Automate Or Outsource Today

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Are you seeking a way to reduce internal manpower without cutting back on your marketing efforts?

If so, it may be time to look into automation and outsourcing.

It can be difficult to automate and/or outsource marketing processes, as “having a hand in the action” allows you to feel more in control.

Even if you decide to move in this direction, it doesn’t mean you will completely remove yourself from the marketing side of your business. It simply means that you’re getting help where you need it the most.

Here are 13 marketing processes you can automate or outsource today:

1. Email Marketing

Did you know that approximately 205 billion email messages are sent every day?

Not all of these contain a marketing message, but many of them do. If you’re spending too much time on email marketing, such as by tracking results and sending follow-ups, you can…

The Rise of the UX Goldrush

UX design is one of the most in-demand disciplines but hasn’t always been the hot topic it is today. The term was created in the 90’s when psychologist Don Norman joined Apple. Norman wanted a term that covered all aspects of a person’s interaction with a device: physical, technical, and psychological. Soon, other industry leaders like IBM and Facebook put design-thinking front and center; and as studies began to suggest that design-driven companies could out-perform their competitors, executives across industries jumped on board.

Now UX is considered a key to successful product strategy. But how does it apply when you’re creating something the world has never seen before? Emerging technology is challenging the young conventions of user experience, and designers everywhere are excited to take on that challenge and define what’s next.

The result? A goldrush.

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Illustration by Propoint designer John A.

The Consumer Is Now The User

Consumer technology is becoming a status symbol, and with AI and the Internet of Things, that technology is only becoming more complex. Smart devices can include everything from connected home appliances to wearables, and UX designers are responsible for making them intuitive…

3 crucial ASO techniques to stand out (VB Live)

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To boost organic downloads by at least 20 percent — and we’ve seen triple that rate — you need your ASO game. For highlights of the latest VB Insight mega-report on ASO, key best practices, and can’t-miss insights, register now for this interactive VB Live event!

ASO, short for app store optimization, and the best thing ever for long-term value, means making sure your mobile app ranks as high as possible in app store search results. That’s a great outcome in any scenario, but in today’s app store environment, it’s literally do-or-dead app. Why?

“Oh, man, because there’s close to a billion apps just in iTunes alone?” says Trey Stout, CTO and Co-founder of ScribbleChat and Handwriting.io, and a self-taught nerd from back in the day when the Apple II was cutting edge.

Supply and demand in the app store

So Stout has seen some things, from the dawn of app proliferation until nowadays, when the prospects for a new app can be grim. Less than fifty percent of smartphone users actually installed apps in the last year, Stout says.

There’s not only a massive oversupply problem, but demand for new and exciting specialized apps is actually shrinking as the big platforms start to load up on features and take back ground they’ve lost. Within Facebook Messenger alone, you can take pictures and pretty them up, schedule events with your friends, buy concert tickets, find movie showtimes, and so on and so on.

“A lot of things that used to be single-purpose apps have just sort of been consumed by these ever-expanding social platforms,” Stout explains, “So the demand has shifted away, I think, from just cruising the store looking for cool stuff, to where it’s basically just noise. And so I think because you’ve got this oversupply and a shrinking advantage, it becomes more important than ever to stand out in the crowd.”

Leave the gimmicks behind

That means you need a solid ASO strategy that doesn’t rely on tricks and schemes like keyword stuffing, but instead is fueled by an solid understanding of the context apps are being sold in, and what customers are actually interested in and need.

Apple especially is coming down hard on the gimmicky ASO techniques. For instance, shrinking the title character limit all the way down to 30 words, as well as explicitly banning terms or descriptions that are not actually the name of the app,…

9 Strategies for Using Customer Testimonials in Your Content

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We look for and act on (even if subconsciously) social proof in all areas our life – including how we behave and the purchasing decisions we make online.

It doesn’t matter if that social proof comes from friends or strangers. What matters is that we’re seeing evidence from our peers – in this context, other consumers – that the decision we’re about to make is the right one.

As OptinMonster, co-founded by Syed Balkhi, writes:

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.

In fact, according to Nielsen research, “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”

These recommendations can come in many forms. Word-of-mouth and third-party reviews come to mind, as well as what I’m focusing on in this article – testimonials.

Testimonials are a type of review and social proof. They serve the same purpose (guiding potential customers and helping overcome objections), but they’re different in one big way: Testimonials are sought and selected by you. This means you have full control over which testimonials are used, as well as where and how they are displayed.

We’ll look at ways to leverage testimonials in your content and other marketing materials; but first, let’s talk about how to get them and present them for maximum impact.

Getting and crafting testimonials

The only way to get testimonials is to ask for them – but how?

Randomly contacting customers to request a testimonial can work only to an extent. For best results, implement a system that allows you to request and receive testimonials at scale.

Follow up with recent customers

Your product or service will be fresh in the minds of your recent customers so this is a great time to ask them what they think of their experience.

Bear in mind that recent customers are only going to be able to comment on their experience with you up to this point. This isn’t a bad thing. Securing testimonials from customers at all stages of their relationship can help you address and overcome a wider range of objections.

Use drip campaigns to automatically send emails to recent customers after a set time to secure their testimonial.

Follow up again later

Expand those same drip campaigns to send emails to two groups of customers:

  • Customers who didn’t respond to your initial email – Perhaps they hadn’t yet formed a solid opinion of your product or service and will be more receptive to a request for a testimonial later down the line.
  • Customers who replied to your initial email with a testimonial – You know they’re receptive to your requests, so why not ask them for another testimonial now that they’re better acquainted with your product or service?

Approach your best customers individually

You know your best customers are going to give you a great testimonial. Better yet, the simple act of reaching out to them personally will strengthen their relationship with you and your brand. It’s a huge win-win all around.

Ask the right questions

Don’t just ask for “a testimonial.” Ask product- or service-specific questions that guide your customers toward writing testimonials that aren’t just complimentary but informative and inspirational as well.

Ideally, aim to extract examples of how your product or service has benefited them. You can do this by asking questions like:

  • How much money did our product save you?
  • How much time does our product save you each day/week/month?
  • What’s the biggest benefit you’ve seen as a result of using our product?

Design great testimonials

We know that a great testimonial should include specific product or service details, but what does this really mean?

It means that vague statements like “great product” or “love it” don’t cut it. Instead, your testimonials should describe what is so great about your product or service and how it benefited your customers.

Remember, too, that you don’t have to use testimonials in the exact format you receive them. Edit spelling or grammatical errors and feel free to paraphrase if it helps focus your message and maximize impact. Just be sure to send any significant changes back to the customer for approval before publishing the testimonial.

Include these elements in a testimonial

Alongside the testimonial itself, include a name, date, and photograph of the customer who provided it. If possible, include a link to the customer’s website. This information all serves to help legitimize the testimonial. After all, which of these would you trust more?

These?

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Or these?

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Now that you know how to collect testimonials and how to present them for maximum impact, let’s look at nine ways to…

Rented media: When paid and owned media combine

Owned media and paid media are merging — enter “rented” media.

What was once taken for granted as free access and unfettered distribution to brands’ audiences is now increasingly being charged for. For all the discussion of martech and ad tech colliding, what’s been overlooked is that these technologies are simply following the media they power. Social, email, and now even web presence channels are increasingly not pure free media, but the media equivalent of freemium heading to premium only.

Case #1: Social

When Facebook and Twitter first exploded onto the digital media scene, brands couldn’t get enough of it. These platforms encouraged brands to build out their pages, acquire followers and invest in regular publishing on social. The tech companies promised brands a way to engage with their audiences and told investors not to fret monetizing because the key was building a vibrant community first.

After significant investment by the brands, and huge growth by the platforms, we now live in a world…