Archive | March 2013

Free Mobile Apps to Increase Productivity

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite,  shared 7 Must-Have Apps for today’s business professional on LinkedIn a few days ago.

Smartphones are becoming the essential everyday tool for communicating, both personal and business – an estimated 200 million workers tap into mobile business apps to collaborate and conference, access and edit docs, check email, chat and more.

BREWSTER: Instant Rolodex – pulls in contact info and other details from all social platforms and creates eye-catching, in-depth profiles for each person. Its also fully searchable not just by name, but keyword, location and photo?!

HERE ON BIZ: Meet LinkedIn contacts in real life – shows you which LinkedIn contacts are physically nearby, segmented into visitors and locals. You can also chat directly through the app to set up the kind of in-person encounter that gets results. CON – limited to LinkedIn.

HOOTSUITE: All your social media, anywhere – handles social media on the go and has all the features of the site for publishing and scheduling messages. You can also set up streams for monitoring feedback.

DROPBOX: Your anywhere hard drive – It’s a classic for sharing files across devices. The best feature is you can edit from anywhere and changes are saved and synced. You get 2GB free and more if you refer friends.

TRELLO: Beyond to-do lists – Tasks (or lists) are represented as columns on a virtual corkboard. add as many cards as you wan to a List then customize each card with comments, checklists, attachments… It’s as useful for personal to-do lists as well as coordinating complex projects among big teams.

EVERNOTE: Junk drawer for your digital life – Cloud-based note taking app keeps your photos, voice memos, attachments, clips, notes… just about anything in a searchable database and syncs across all devices. You can upgrade for added features and space.

UBER CONFERENCE: Calls on the go – Select attendees from your phone’s contact list and UberConference automatically calls, emails or texts them to join, no pin required. Makes conference calls easy but lack the ability to schedule in advance.

An unabridged list of 2013’s must-have business apps (both mobile and desktop) is available on HootSuite’s app directory.

What Apps do you find most useful?


Enhance Your Content Marketing!

big-pitch-meeting-agencies-and-clients-300x300Here are 9 great tips from PRNews Online about enhancing your content marketing…

1. Start with your audience.
Listen and find our what your audience needs

2. Work like the pros.
Its about finding best practices, reporting, curating and pulling things out

3. Tell a story.Every good story has people, tension, action, resolution, and meaning (some kind of context)

4. Start with the content you have.
You already have tons of great information at your fingertips, start sharing it with your online audience

5. Re-imagine content.
The most frequently asked questions about your business can likely be make into individual blog posts

6. Think like a publisher
Consider a content partnership. Set clear measures grounded in your business and do the ABCs for a content partner – audience, brand fit and credibility to be your partner

7. Tap brand advocates.
Fans want to be heard – embrace them and create brand advocates

8. Make mini-campaigns.
Approach every bit of content like a campaign to ampify its reach and success. Keep monitoring and adjusting

9. Understand whether its working.
What are your communication goals? If you’re trying to sell or gain donors you must have a Call to Action

FTC Revises Online Advertising Disclosure Guidelines

The Federal Trade Commission today released new guidance for mobile and other online advertisers that explains how to make disclosures clear and conspicuous to avoid deception. Read full disclosures here…

The new FTC “Dot Com Disclosures” guide (first released in 2000)  takes into account the expanding use of smartphones with small screens and the rise of social media marketing,. It also contains mock ads that illustrate the updated principles.

Like previous FTC guides, it emphasizes consumer protection laws that apply equally to marketers across all mediums.

If a disclosure is needed to prevent an online ad claim from being deceptive or unfair, it must be clear and conspicuous.

Under the new guidance, this means advertisers should ensure that the disclosure is clear and conspicuous on all devices and platforms that consumers may use to view the ad.  The new guidance also explains that if an advertisement without a disclosure would be deceptive or unfair, or would otherwise violate a Commission rule, and the disclosure cannot be made clearly and conspicuously on a device or platform, then that device or platform should not be used.


With these new changes, what adjustments will you or your clients have to make in their marketing communications?

4A’s Conference Take-Away

AdWeek had spectacular coverage of the 4A’s Transform Conference last week in New Orleans, LA. You can read more here…

From the conference the biggest take away… Quality trumps quantity in social media. In other words, it’s great for a brand to have a lot of fans on Facebook, but it’s even better if they’re actively sharing your brand’s content in the News Feed.

As recently as three years ago, most companies were focused on amassing a large number of fans/followers. While a large audience can increase a company’s reach, its not doing much for the company’s brand message.

From AdWeek:
“The growing mass of people in social media has helped The New York Times build its brand, particularly during live events, such as the Republican national convention last year. The Times, for example, uses Facebook as another publishing platform, Google+ for reporter “hangouts” and Twitter as an audience engagement platform, said another panelist, Michael Zimbalist, who leads research and development operations at the Times.”

Social is where most audiences are today, so the best companies will make the effort to engage them. It’s a good strategy as long as you use it to your advantage, listen to your customers and engage them with your brand… that’s the real value.

Is Digital Marketing Essential?

1038728_lady stock exchange imageYES – in the realm of marketing communications, digital marketing is essential for as part of a successful marketing strategy. However, you do not have to participate in every facet of digital marketing to reach your audience and share your message.

Here are some reasons why you should have an online marketing presence…

It’s empowering. There is no better platform for brands to communicate with their audience. When brands listen to what their customers are saying about them, companies can make better quality products and provide greater service to their customers.

It’s to the point. some of the same platforms that have given people a voice have also helped companies learn more information about them. Brands can direct messages to specific audiences and tailor communications to meet their customers needs. Brands can communicate with people in a more efficient and valuable way.

It’s friendly. Digital platforms give companies an identity and personality. They are able to make themselves closer to their customers who are in fact now their “friends.”
According to Chief Marketer writer Tekin Tatar*, “Digital marketing adds significantly to the overall conversation and the language is typically more casual which adds a human element to marketing in the best way possible.

It’s social. Digital marketing can create a ripple effect on customers when you connect with those who have the most influence on your audience.  Companies can directly talk to customers and connect with them.

It happens in real time. Companies can get their products and services in front of billions of people in just a few clicks of the mouse. They can develop, adjust and refine these messages instantly based on feedback from customers and analytics tools. These innovations allow brands to respond immediately to crisis and make their messages extremely efficient and relevant.

Digital communications benefit both customers and brands, and make the messages more direct and enjoyable. By embracing digital media into your marketing strategy, you can interact with existing customers and reach more people in a way that’s personable to increase brand loyalty.

An online conversation is happening – get talking!

*Reference from Chief Marketer.

SMUCKERS Innovation Overload

According to AdAge, the Ohio-based and family-owned, J.M. Smucker’s Co is planning to unveil nearly 90 NEW Products in the coming year.

From the article:
Planned offerings include a new line of “Life is Good” branded premium coffee, peanut butter in tubs and an expanded lineup of specialty nut butters. In total, Smucker projected that products introduced in the past three years are forecast to contribute $550 million in net sales, or 10% of total sales, “representing the most robust period of innovation in our company’s history,” CEO Richard Smucker said in a presentation on Tuesday at a meeting of the Consumer Analyst Group of New York held in Florida.

Much of the companies new product development has come from the recent acquisitions of Folgers and Jif, giving it a lead in these markets. And what are a few of the new products we can expect to see on local grocery shelves…

  • Folgers Fresh Breaks single serve packets/Kcups and premium flavors  like Black Silk to compete against Starbucks
  • Dunkin Donuts bagged coffee “bakery series” with flavors like blueberry, jelly and chocolate
  • “JIF Whips” for quick snacking and dipping apples, fruits and crackers in PB
  • Expansion of Mio flavored water

With so many new products, do you think their strategy will be successful?

Disruptive Marketing Trends

Forbes writer, Christine Hall recently highlighted the Most Disruptive Marketing Trends of 2013.

I agree some forms of marketing are becoming intrusive – ie. mobile marketing is growing on my nerve… but as a professional I know the importance of keeping your brand in front of customers. So if you choose to buy into Ms. Hall’s list, please keep your messages short, powerful and engaging.

The list of disruptive trends includes:

7. “Virtual Malls” led by QR stores where people with smartphones can gather together could be the future of online shopping.

6. Advances in 3D printing, will it impact manufacturing? Through trickle down effect, manufacturers could lose the edge.

5.TabletMania – big spikes in its use and popularity will spur a war between Amazon, Apple, Samsung.

4. Mobile wallets that will eventually replace credit cards, debit cards, currency and banks?

3. Streaming TV is already having an impact on cable/satellite and over the next decade could change our current TV platform.

2. UnSocial Media – savvy companies will learn to better use social media to connect with their customers and monitor their brands in real time.

1. Mobile App-ocalypse – Mobile apps and the cloud will change marketing more than direct mail, newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet combined. Everybody’s talking about Big Data, but look for consumers to turn the tables.


Are there opportunities for your company’s marketing to capitalize on these predicted trends?