No Left v Right Brain – And Other Mythconceptions

Myths

I love this infographic on various urban myths that permeate our modern existence. By author, David McCandless, it visualises some of the most Googled myths and misconceptions – with larger bubbles indicating that it is a common search term. Some of my personal favourites include:

  • That you SHOULD wake sleepwalkers
  • That bats are NOT blind
  • There is no solid division between the LEFT and RIGHT hemispheres of the brain.

What surprises you?

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Why Do People Leave Jobs?

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When I begin working with clients I work to understand what their ambassadors think about them. I look to their customers and suppliers to get a sense of what is working and what is not. But there is no better source of insight than a company’s employees. These are the people who are actively engaging and promoting the company every day. They are the face of the brand and are – in many instances – the custodian of customer experience. If an employee is having a bad day, your brand is likely to feel the impact.

This infographic from Bamboo HR is based on interviews with over 1000 US-based employees. And they look not just at the reasons that people leave, but the conditions that make people unhappy. Because unhappy employees perform worse than happy ones. No surprises there, right? But there is a substantial difference between an employee who is unhappy and a company culture that MAKES people unhappy. And far too often, the reasons that people are unhappy is not to do with the people that they work with, but the conditions that they work under.

Take a look at the statistics in this infographic. Do these situations worry you? Do some of these apply to your business? Do you even know?

There are ways to fix this and it may be easier than you imagine. Let’s chat!

 

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Influence: Be the First to Give

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In the digital world we are fascinated by influence. We want to know who has influence and we want to know who is influenced by whom. We strive for influence in our personal and professional lives and we reject the overt nature of influence that impacts us through advertising and messaging (even though it still affects us).

Robert Cialdini’s book on Influence is a must-read for marketers. His six principles of influence work together to connect intention and action and are vital to the success of any marketing activity. However, in digital and social marketing, the focus tends to rely on just two elements – social proof and liking. It’s partly why we often feel marketers and brands are “yelling” at us online. There is a simple antidote to this:

Be the first to give.

In this infographic from Everreach, summarising the six principles, they call out that proactive use of reciprocity as a “weapon of influence”. Working this way creates a faster and more immediate bond between brands and their customers. More importantly, it sets the scene for the remaining elements. So, next time – before you ask someone to buy, think about what it is that you can give.

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Disrupt Your Strategy – Planning for Audiences not Generations

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I have never been a fan of demographic profiling. Sure, this information, at scale, can reveal certain things about a population – and this can be useful to understand whether there might be a connection between our age and (for example) our propensity to over-eat. Or contract disease. Or buy new cars every four years.

But populations don’t interest me. They feel like a dead weight around my sense of, and interest in, humanity. Instead, I prefer audiences – which is perhaps why I studied theatre rather than statistics.

It’s also why I am continually fascinated by digital technology and transformation – and it is why social media continues to attract the attention of people, corporations and governments. For digital transformation is not just about bringing the non-digital world online – it’s challenging the very nature of what we consider “our selves” to be.

As marketers, we are constantly drawn to the idea of demographics – the cashed up profiling of the Baby Boomers, the anxious, try-harder Gen X-ers and the slacker Gen Ys. But like any generalisation, these labels are easily unpicked. There are plenty of Baby Boomers who are slackers and plenty of cashed up, power wielding Gen X-ers. And Gen Y are just starting to flex their creative, financial and intellectual powers – and there is more goodness to come. Rather than simply relying on this style of profiling, we should be working harder to understand these audiences. We need to map their behaviours, attitudes and interests, not just their age, sex and location.

This is why I quite like the work that marketing automation firm, Marketo, has done on Generation Z. And while, yes, they have started out with the age-focused label, the research carried out by agency, Sparks and Honey, reveals the patterns of behaviour, interests, attitudes and insights that can help build a deeper understanding of this audience. While the data reflects a US-based audience, there are cultural parallels that are useful indicators such as:

  • Do-Gooders – an interest in making a difference in the world
  • Shift FROM Facebook – Facebook lost its allure when the parents arrived. Gen Z are embracing newer platforms like snapchat, secret and whisper
  • Creation trumps sharing – Gen Z embrace the prosumer ethic of digital media creativity.

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But to really understand this “Gen Z” audience, I would go further. I wouldn’t stop at the age of 19. I would ask:

  • Why would my brand be relevant to audiences exhibiting these behaviours
  • Why would these audiences choose to purchase my product/service/thing
  • Which values embodied by my brand augments the life, behaviour, experience or purpose of this audience
  • How do these behavioural profiles help me understand my customers regardless of age / demographics

And when it comes to planning, insight and future proofing your brand, I’d look to opportunities to self-disrupt your strategy. Ditch the path of lazy profiling, put the work in to really understand your audiences, and then invite them into the process of creating a brand that has a purpose. Start by delving into the data behind the Sparks and Honey research (below) – and then work on your own business by starting with the audiences you rely upon.

The A-Z of Personal Branding

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What do you do before a meeting? Do you Google the person you are meeting? Do you look up their profile on LinkedIn? Do you stalk them on Facebook? Do you go to the trouble of talking to people that you know in common?

No doubt, a large part of this research will be done online. And while I often wonder if there really is such a thing as “personal branding”, it seems clear that our “digital footprint” has an impact on the people we meet, connect to or pass on our digital travels.

And given this is the case, there are some basic things that are worth doing. I call it the “4 BEs” – be found, be known, be trusted and be successful. But the folks from Placester have put together this interesting infographic that goes into some depth around personal branding. You don’t have to do all 26, but covering most of these will see you well on the way to making sure that your personal brand, digital footprint or online identity has all the bases covered.

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The Buyer’s Journey Takes the Long Road

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A marketer’s job would be so much easier of customers followed a set path. In fact, if buyers could fit into a convenient model that allowed us to identify, track, monitor, engage and convert them, life would be rosy. But this is never the case.

If we take a moment to consider the buyer’s journey based on our own experiences, we can yield insight but also understanding. Think, for example, of your last major purchase:

  • How much time did you devote to research before your purchase?
  • How many times did you test, validate and change your mind?
  • How long did you wait before you actually engaged with a salesperson?
  • Who did you ask for advice, reviews and input?
  • What were the prompts that helped to trigger your decision and purchase?
  • How much time did you spend online (email and mobile included) in the leadup to the decision?

Now, consider that your customers are going through very similar processes. Oracle Eloqua’s latest infographic provides some insight into this process. Clearly, their focus is on automating the process of marketing, but importantly, they are also showcasing the important role of integrated marketing. After all, we rarely make a decision based on a single interaction.

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Time to Bring Down the Search and Social Silos

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When I first joined the ADMA expert group for social media, there was a separate expert group for search. But as we met and discussions flowed, it seemed obvious that the two should merge. After all, when it comes to all things digital, search and social were – in most cases – essential collaborators. Or should be.

In many cases, however, search and social are kept at arm’s length – each claiming digital marketing top spot.

There is no doubt, however, that combining search and social has a much more powerful impact on almost any of your metrics. And with Google’s recent announcement around shared endorsements, this impact will become more formally entwined. Those who continue to resist social media’s siren call, or who keep the artificial silos in place across their marketing teams, will start to see performance of both search and social flounder.

The only way ahead for digital is integrated. And for 2014, you can expect this to accelerate and broaden. It’s time for the walls in your marketing silos to come down – and this is the year to do it as this infographic from Prestige Marketing shows.

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STHLM #12Creative Commons License Thomas Leuthard via Compfight

Spoken and Unspoken Rules of Social Media

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When I first started blogging I voraciously read Darren Rowse’s Problogger website. It seemed like every conceivable issue I was facing had already been tackled and fixed by Darren. Similarly, I followed Yaro Starak’s advice, thinking I’d tread the entrepreneurial path. And when it came to marketing, I’d look to Olivier Blanchard’s insightful Brand Builder blog.

But I wasn’t really looking for a “how to guide” – I was seeking to learn the ropes. To understand the ways of this new, digital world.

What I realised pretty quickly was that this brave new world was not so unlike the scared old world that I was leaving behind with every tap on my keyboard. The lifeblood of social was relationships and the currency of that relationship was trust. And, really, the only way to learn the ropes was to participate – voyeurism can be fine for a while but is ultimately unsatisfying.

The deep water of social media, however, can be managed effectively with a few simple rules:

  1. Don’t swim with sharks: We have an inbuilt radar for detecting danger and threat. In the real world (IRL), the hair stands up on the back of our necks, a little voice whispers in our ears and we cross the street to avoid an unpleasant person or situation. In the digital world the same approaches apply – yet we seem to turn off our threat detection system the moment we turn on our computer. Be sure to keep an eye and ear out for scammers. Trust your friends – the ones you know IRL. Don’t click random links in email or send money to people you have never met. Don’t believe strangers when they tell you how much better they can make your website.
  2. It’s not rude to ignore people: Following on from the previous point – if you don’t know someone IRL, it’s fine to ignore them. You don’t have to “friend” or “follow” someone who follows you on social networks. You don’t have to answer a random email. Develop a healthy sense of scepticism and you’ll be fine.
  3. Don’t publish anything you wouldn’t show your Nan: Yes, I did say “publish”. It’s important to realise that everything you put online is a form of publishing. That means it’s trackable, findable and traceable. Google will find it eventually. So before you go an have that argument with a stranger; before you flame your boss (when you think she’s not looking); or before you start sharing those photos of your ex that you really should delete, think again. If you wouldn’t say or show your grandmother what you are going to publish online, then your best bet is to save it for home.

But if these three rules are not enough for you, you’ll love Jeremy Waite’s 80 Rules of Social Media.

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Via BitRebels.

Tablet Market Up for Grabs

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When the iPad appeared on the scene its dominance was all encompassing. But just as the battle for marketshare in the smartphone market is shifting away from Apple’s iPhone towards the plethora of various Android powered devices, the tablet market is seeing a similar pattern emerge.

Apple now holds less than 30% of the tablet market which is down from almost 50% at the same time last year.

In this infographic, eBay Deals, took a different approach – and rather than just relying on pure sales data, they analysed thousands of tweets, search data, YouTube views etc. The aim was to reveal not just market share (which we know), but aspects of behaviour, sentiment and – dare I say it – love.

And in this respect, Apple’s products continue to perform well. But interestingly, it is Google (not Android) that seems to be emerging as a strong competitor in the “tablet passion” stakes. And that – for Apple at least – should be more worrying than the sales figures – after all, one is a leading indicator of the other. And that early dominance can easily be squandered.

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"iPaid too much" Asim Bharwani via Compfight

Kickstart Your Campaign with Video

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The crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, is a fascinating microcosm – it brings together all the elements and challenges of a business often before that business exists. So in many ways, a Kickstarter project is a pre-startup startup – and accordingly it faces many of the same immediate challenges. But where startups sprint towards product, Kickstarter forces a path towards market development. Those who can’t market, don’t win. And like current marketing trends indicate, video plays an increasingly important role in that process.

Research from MWP Digital Media shows that Kickstarter projects that have a video are 85% more likely to achieve their funding goals. This tends to match some of the trends we are seeing in broader marketing circles – with YouTube and Vimeo consumption continuing to rise – impacting not just brand and engagement metrics but also working at crucial junctures in the path to purchase.

Video, however, is a steep learning curve – so there are obvious benefits to outsourcing. But new features in familiar apps/platforms like Instagram and Twitter (via Vine) make it easy to experiment. And I have a feeling that the role of user (or brand) generated video content is only going to accelerate in the next 12-18 months. I have already begun testing this out for myself and with clients.

These days marketing never sleeps. I hope this shift isn’t catching you napping.

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