11 Things Marketers Should Know from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit

October 8, 2014

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media

Last month hundreds of marketers, communicators and social media experts met in Baltimore for the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit to discuss the latest trends in all aspects of marketing and best practices for increasing engagement, sales and ROI.

In this piece, we will look at the top 11 marketing predictions for 2015, including the rise of the social CMO, a movement away from real-time marketing to right time marketing and the increased importance of the online newsroom.

  1. The rise of the CSMO (chief social media officer): Social media has evolved from short form messaging communication tool to a program that directly affects every part of a business.  As the real-time customer engagement platform, data generated can directly impact the future of one’s organization.  This role will be a hybrid between creative and analysis.  Those social media teams focusing only on outbound communications, ignoring the data available will not succeed.
  1. Multimedia is here to stay: More and more studies are showing that multimedia is now considered a mandatory element when looking to increase the response rate of any communications program. In addition, we will see a huge increase in mobile video investment as mobile device penetration continues to skyrocket
  1. Paying to engage with your social audiences: As Facebook, Twitter and other platforms mature, their business models are moving quickly into revenue generation and profit.  Look for these platforms to continue to roll out paid opportunities such as geographic and demographic targeting to increase the ability for a brand to reach their brand fans.
  1. A refocus from real-time marketing to right time marketing: Thanks to the meme that the Oreo Superbowl ad was created on the spot and thus is real-time marketing (completely false by the way, the ad was created months in advance), there became a push in 2014 for brands to jump into real time marketing.  Instead thinking about “real-time” organizations in 2015 will move towards “right-time” which involves the use of data to determine how and when to distribute each piece of created content – from social updates to press releases – to maximize the result.
  1. The rise online newsroom: As it becomes harder to get media’s attention, more and more organizations are building branded newsrooms – or including within their existing newsroom a section for brand-created content.  This content allows brands to tell their story, utilizing their own voice.  However it is important to remember that the only good branded content is seen branded content, many of these organizations are not only setting budgets aside to build these newsrooms and create this content, they are putting budget aside to distribute the content as well via press releases, coverage amplification services and more.
  1. A breakdown of internal siloes: As more and more data is becomes available through various marketing channels, it is imperative that marketing work with more and more internal teams to improve processes, define customer expectations, provide stronger customer service, increase sales, build corporate reputation and more.
  1. A better understanding of the ROI of a communications program: Marketers are moving away from “last click” attribution to multi-touch point attribution, allows brands to track customers through their entire journey ensuring that every touch point along the way is credited.
  1. A big shift from content creation to content distribution: As content marketing becomes a staple for most marketing programs, more and more marketers are turning to paid tools including press releases and amplification tools to ensure their created content is seen content. After all, there is no reason to pay for content to be created, if you aren’t paying for it to be distributed.
  1. The growing importance of social customer service as more than 50% of customer service interactions begin on the computer, well before the customer has engaged the brand.
  1. Look to smart devices and wearables to change news consumption from tweets to bursts. How can you increase the impact of your news as you decrease the amount of space needed to tell it!
  1. Sharing corporate sustainability responsibility news will continue to increase in 2015 as more and more consumers are choosing to align with brands and organizations that reflect their own beliefs. Organizations of all sizes from Nike to Honest Teas have connected with customers and build entire brands by focusing and staying true to their CSR message.

This year’s speakers shared so many wonderful thoughts but it was these 11 that resonated with me the most.  Which of these surprises you?  Which does not?


Engagement: Buzzword Bingo Term, or Something More?

February 1, 2012
by Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist, Business Wire/SF
Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

Sandy Malloy, Senior Information Specialist

I had two experiences recently that started me thinking more deeply about one of the 21st century’s hot topics, “engagement.”  One was a webinar on the topic.  The other, which I found more compelling, was a blog post about how the Veterans Administration launched Facebook pages for all 152 of its medical centers.  (I was not biased toward this story just because its genesis was a Business Wire release, by the way.)

There is nothing wrong with measuring engagement and, in fact, it’s a critical part of a proper measurement program.  Communicators should be concerned not only with who might have seen their messages but how many cared enough to take some kind of action.  That’s really the simple definition of engagement: It’s active, not passive.

But some of the articles, blog posts and presentations I am seeing make me wonder whether some of these communicators are going far enough when they say they want to promote engagement.  Engagement isn’t just a buzzword, nor is it simply getting people to like (or “Like”) your company enough to buy something, although that CAN be your objective.

The reason I was impressed by the VA initiative is that they had a clear goal in setting up their social media accounts.  Said Secretary Eric Shinsheki:

“Veterans and their families told us from the beginning that they want to engage and they want relevant information delivered at the local level. By leveraging Facebook, the Department continues to expand access to VA, and embrace transparency and two-way conversation.”

This statement encompasses two goals:  “relevant information delivered at the local level” and “two-way conversation.”  In addition to Facebook, the VA produced 64 Twitter feeds, a YouTube channel, a Flickr page and a blog, all with the aim of helping veterans understand their benefits and “receive the health care their service has earned them.”

With the goal established, it becomes possible for the VA to measure results.  Are veterans receiving the information they need, and is their care improved?  Are they communicating with their local VA office?  In short, are they taking the actions the Department set out to promote when they established their social media program?

A goal can be as detailed as what the VA outlined, or as simple as increasing visibility for a brand.  Either way, though, measuring “engagement” is not an end.  Measuring engagement in the service of [fill in the blank] is a much more meaningful exercise.


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