Video in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace
10 Sep 2015

For the past decade the battle cry of marketing has been, “Content is King! Content is King!”  Well guess what?  Now everybody has content.  And by everybody, I mean – everybody.  Your dentist, your place of worship, and even the makers of the cereal you ate for breakfast all create content.

Of course, content has always been available; there just used to be infinitely less of it in the world. The overproduction of content has made it more difficult for brands to stand out.

The goal is to generate engagement with every item you publish. This provides a challenge for content marketers. While blogs, decks, and newsletters are important, these forms of content can fail to connect with busy prospects.  That’s why it is more important than ever to incorporate video into the marketing mix.

A video can require a bit more of an investment, but it is an effective way to hook consumers and drive them toward more comprehensive information. No video will close a deal but it can get you one step closer to it by peaking interest and opening the door for discussion. Also, a video is more enjoyable than opening and reviewing a deck, or reading a newsletter.  Instead of being confronted by a screen full of text there is just a big red “play” button to push.

Here are three keys to developing a successful video for marketing initiatives:

  1. Keep it short.  Remember, the video is being used as a door opener, not a deal closer.  Potential viewers will often glance at the total running time of a video; if it is longer than a minute or two it will be moved to a “watch later” list and likely never be viewed at all.  A good target is 60 seconds.
  2. Keep it moving.  Whether a video or animation, never let your video become too static.  Even a “talking head” video should include cuts between camera angles or the inclusion of supporting graphics and photos.  You should never to be able to count to ten between cuts or camera moves.
  3. Keep it specific.  Your video should have a job to do.  This might be encouraging the viewer to call for a free consultation, join a mailing list, or dig deeper into your website.  End your video with a clear call to action.

One last thought: when it comes to producing a video, trust it to the pros.  Just because you can buy fabric and a sewing machine doesn’t mean you should make your own clothes.  And just because you can make videos with your phone doesn’t mean you should produce it for professional purposes.

The Importance Of Mobile Marketing
10 Sep 2015

Mobile marketing is one of the fasting growing areas in marketing. Approximately 99% of Americans own a cell phone, with roughly 64% of those devices being a smart phone1. Additionally, around 20% of Americans own a tablet1. And users aren’t just utilizing their devices to make calls and surf the web, as smart phones and tablets are allowing consumers to get their news, follow political campaigns and elections, and most importantly for marketers, shop and make purchases.

At the end of 2012, about 11% of retail spending was done via a mobile device2. By the end of 2013, that figure had more than doubled, as mobile spending accounted for 25% of all retail purchases2. But the importance of mobile for retailers is even more significant, because even when customers don’t buy something directly from their mobile device, they’re interacting with company websites and apps. This in turn helps shape their image and perception of that particular brand, and more than 75% of mobile interactions lead directly to an in-store purchase2. With figures like this, it’s evident that brands should utilize smart phones and tablets to not only drive sales, but also interact with the consumer and help foster strong brand identities.

Smart-phones and tablets are becoming an increasingly larger part of American life, especially for the younger generations. Currently, roughly 23% of our free time is being spent on a mobile device. Because of the wide array of media channels available today (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, YouTube ect.) in addition to storage devices like TiVo and DVR, Americans can squeeze 12 hours of media into a 9 hour day1. Many mobile users are able to utilize of these streaming services directly from their smart-phones and tablets, making mobile marketing even more important. Furthermore, of those mobile users who are watching TV at home, around 86% of them are surfing the web while watching TV3. This gives brands and advertiser a unique opportunity to simultaneously target their audience through TV and mobile. Since the proliferation of mobile users show no signs of slowing down, it essential that marketers and advertisers take advantage of the unique opportunities that mobile marketing provides.

Sources

1- www.pewresearch.com

2- www.smartinsights.com

3- Arbitron, Omniture, and Comscore

Social Listening Research 101
10 Sep 2015
It’s more than just listening to those who talk positively or negatively about your brand and your competitors online.  Social listening is such a stronger and more powerful research methodology.  It allows you to understand what trends are impacting your consumers and prospects and also learn what they are talking about so you can join the conversation.   It also provides a stronger understand of what social media channels are most suitable and effective for your target audience.  

Just like any other research methodology, you need to have a concise plan in place and formulate your objectives.  It’s important to think about why you are listening online and what you hope to achieve with this information.

Once your objectives are formulated, it’s now key to find your brand’s target audience.  Using client data, primary or secondary research to understand what is the ideal audience:

·       Psychographics

·       Beliefs

·       Interests/Hobbies

·       Media consumption

Once your audience is clearly defined, now social listening begins. You should listen to what is being said on various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, online blogs and news outlets.    The more you listen, the more  accurate the perspective.

There are several social listening tools out there such as Trackur, or sproutsocial. Each tool has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to social listening. Look for what your audience is saying about the industry, trends, interests, beliefs and media habits.

Everything that you hear, make sure that you record:

·       The number of people talking about a topic
Where they are talking

·       What is the sentiment

·       Percent who are influencers and how influential they are (this is often determined by scores such as Klout).

4 Watch Outs When Conducting a Survey
10 Sep 2015

“There are errors everywhere,” my market research professor claimed on the first day of class.    He continued and said, “as a market researcher, your job is to reduce the errors as much as possible.”  As someone who has worked in the industry for fifteen years, I believe that this lesson is still extremely important.

If research errors are not found, the results will lead to inaccuracies.    Ultimately, the insights garnered from the study may lead a brand to the wrong conclusions.

If you are developing a survey, here are a few errors that you need to watch out for.

1.     Inaccurate Objectives

When constructing your research objectives, it is always important to think how the end results will be used.

2.     Improper Research Methodology

Sample size, language issues, and goals of research are aspects you need to consider when determining the methodology. For example, a survey with only 25 respondents only provides directional information and does not represent a portion of the population.   You may want to consider using more open-ended research approaches such as focus groups.

3.    Bad Survey Writing

Survey length is too long, leading with sensitive questions (i.e. household income), too many open ends, inconsistent or wrong survey scales are just a few of the problems that occur when writing a survey.   The best way to solve survey errors is asking others to take your survey. The more people who take the survey, the more errors you will be able to find.  Also, double check to ensure the survey logic is accurate.

4.    Sampling Bias

How you acquire your sample can impact survey results.    Your friends or colleagues may provide biased results if they took your survey.  Also, only researching a certain segment of your population may also skew results. For example, if you were targeting a national population, but only reached New Yorkers the results won’t be representative.

Research for Content Marketing
10 Sep 2015
Positioning your company as a thought leader is an art form.   By publishing research studies, you build your brand’s credibility.

With a proliferation of media channels available today, it is pertinent to make sure your data gets its full mileage.  Bring our research to life, using contenting marketing as a catalyst for B2B and B2C awareness, engagement, lead generation, and conversion. Tactics can include online videos, infographics, sales materials, email marketing, thought leadership pieces, press releases, and guerrilla efforts.   Plus, all of these content initiatives help grow your brands online presence, and ultimately help improve your organic search efforts.

1. Design Template

Before your questionnaire is even designed, develop a PowerPoint template.   Design is critical to research reports. It is key that the design fits your brand’s look and feel.

2. Headlines

Even before the questionnaire is fielded, start developing potential headlines for the report. These headlines are based on the questionnaire, and are used to help guide the story. SEO is important to build awareness and credibility.  When developing headlines, take into account the keywords your brand wants to be known for in online searches.

3. Storytelling – Report Writing

Storytelling is an art form.  Using the designed templates and headlines as a base, create stories that keep the readers excited.  Reports should include background/objectives, methodology, key findings, recommendations, and detailed findings.

4. The Extra Touch

After the content in the decks is finalized, use graphic designers to further enhance the decks.   The content, graphics and charts should be able to live in more places than just PowerPoint.   Reports should be designed so they can easily be used in sales collateral, press releases, white pages, Facebook posts, or even a blog.

Research for Content Marketing & Thought Leadership
10 Sep 2015

Check out our latest article on how market research can be used to create more interesting and insightful content for your business or brand.  Research can be used to generate awareness and increase engagement among your prospects and customers.  Additionally, conducting research on a specific topic deepens your understanding a particular segment of your business and allows you to tout your expertise in that area. Despite its numerous benefits, most companies think of market research solely as a Public Relations initiative; research needs to be more than a simple press release and should transcend multiple facets of your business. A single study can be used for social media, sales material, SEO, Slideshare, infographics, just to name a few. That is why it is essential to have a strategy in place for how your research will be utilized for a content marketing initiative.

When using research for press purposes, it is important that you get the most out of your study.  To do this you must be able to integrate the research with your SEO, social media and press initiatives. As your company successfully dovetails the research data with the different aspects of your business, you will see the full benefits of your study. The article is great resource for advertising agencies, public relations firms,  businesses of all sizes, and brands that want to become thought leader.

Survey States Web Developers Are Happy
10 Sep 2015
Looking at a Career in Web Development?

SkilledUp, the online educator, commissioned Provoke Insights to conduct a survey among 300 web developers, and some of our findings were quite interesting.  The survey results were a media sensation and were featured in USA Today, Inc, AM NewYork and Mashable. It really helped bring attention to the services SkilledUp has to offer.

Web development is a rewarding career, with 88% of respondents stating they were “satisfied” with their job. Some of the reasons for this happiness include the flexibility and work-life balance a career in web development offers. Another positive aspect of a web developer’s job is relative job security. As part of the technology segment of the job market, web developers are almost always in demand. Currently around 10% of unfilled jobs in America are in technology. As a result of this excess demand, jobs in technology pay, on average, 50% more when compared to the rest of the private sector. These figures only represent some of our research results.

Top in demand jobs developer jobs include: front-end, back-end, and full stack.  Are you ready to become a web developer?  Do you have the skills to become a web developer?

Similiar to SkilledUp, do you want to boost your brand through market research? It is a great way to gain media exposure and position your brand as an industry thought leader. If you are interested in how you can use content marketing for market research purposes, check out this blog post.   This blog entree will provide detailed steps on how to conduct market research for content marketing purposes.

Tech Companies…What’s Your Brand Strategy?
10 Sep 2015
Technology is the fastest growing industry in New York City.  In 2014, jobs in this sector had grown by 33%. As the tech boom continues, how can your brand stand out from the crowd?

Even if your product is unique, it is imperative to find your target and communicate what makes your brand special.  However, gaining a potential client’s attention poses a challenge since there are more communication channels than ever before.  Consumers’ attention is no longer focused on just one medium. Viewers are consuming content across mobile, desktops, and televisions.

To overcome these challenges, you need a better understanding of who your customer is.   For example, which clients will most quickly adapt to your technology? Does your audience desire to be part of a new emerging trend? Additionally, what are specific attributes of this audience (age, gender, household income, and/or psychographic attitudes) and how can you leverage that?

It is key to uncover essential information and gather important insights in order to reach your desired audience.   Companies, like Provoke Insights, provide services and tools to help you learn about consumers’ media usage, habits and even specific information about their favorite blog.

Even if your technology is the most advanced in the marketplace, it is a challenge to answer your customers’ needs in a simple and digestible method.   This ‘difference’ needs to be significant,  and can be developed into a compelling story that separates your product from the competitors.

As you can tell, there are many moving parts to a holistic marketing strategy.  Provoke Insights’s goal is to assist with all aspects of your marketing and branding needs.

About Provoke Insights

Provoke Insights is a full service brand consultancy and market research firm. Our innovative approach helps brands navigate through today’s cluttered marketing space.  We are the nerds behind the advertising, branding, media, and content marketing initiatives. Our obsession with data and research makes your marketing strategy compelling and impactful.

75% of Small Businesses Want to Use More Analytics
10 Sep 2015

Big data can sometimes seem like the cosmos; a nebulous mix of analytics, cloud storage, and private information that can be both mysterious and intimidating. This is especially true for small businesses. A recent survey conducted by Provoke Insightsa brand consultancy and market research firm, found that two-thirds of small companies still don’t know how to navigate big data. Despite this, most companies desperately want to be able to harness the power of analytics. Though intimidating, big data should be analyzed and leveraged appropriately; otherwise a company is not operating to its fullest capacity and money may be left on the table. Small businesses can’t afford to have others eat their lunch.

It is crucial for small businesses to have a well-defined marketing plan in place. Analytics and big data should be a big part of the plan. The power of big data and analytics can be harnessed in a number of ways. Some of these ways include using analytics to inform marketing initiatives, as well as using analytics as a way to gauge what’s working and what needs some improvement. Without analytics, a small business is simply guessing the right move opposed to using data to help them make more intelligent and informed decisions.

If you are a small business and you need help with your marketing plan, Provoke  Insights can help. Feel free to contact us for tips on how to create a marketing plan that uses analytics to make informed decisions.

Measuring Content Marketing ROI
10 Sep 2015
Content Marketing has become the number one way for businesses to increase their online presence. Through articles, blogs, videos, pictures, surveys, and infographics, companies can better communicate with their customers.

Companies use this marketing initiative to create a personality and thought leadership, as well as provide an opportunity to engage with consumers. Creating effective content improves SEO, thus enabling potential customers to find businesses more easily via online search.

However, determining the ROI on content marketing is not straightforward, but there are ways to measure it.

Consumption metrics– This metric measures how many people are consuming your content and which channels they are using to consume it. It also measures how frequent and in-depth their consumption is.

You can calculate the consumption metric by counting total and unique visits, downloads, time spent on site, cost per visitor, and bounce rate.

Lead generation metrics- This metric measures effectiveness of a content piece by requiring a name or email address before viewing the content.

Sharing metrics- This metric measures 1) what content is being shared and 2) by who. An increasing number of shares implies that your content is becoming more effective.

It is also important to analyze who is actually sharing your content.  Social influencers spread the word across a larger audience, therefore making them a more desirable target.

Sales metrics- This is the most straightforward way of measuring ROI for content marketing efforts. There are CRM systems to track actual sales close rates. It is key that the CRM system can follow a customer’s path from awareness to the actual sale.   With this type of system, you can determine which types of content really drive sales.

Content marketing is vital to a business’s marketing campaign. By using these metrics effectively and efficiently, businesses will be able to figure out which content works and which doesn’t.  It also helps companies determine how to best create and utilize content marketing.