The Future of Marketing is Automation

marketing automation infographic
Email is one of the most widely used and established platforms and has long been the cornerstone of many business-to-business (B2B) marketing plans.

Even as new digital marketing and advertising platforms, formats, and channels draw companies’ attention and budgets, email remains vitally important and is arguably more valued by B2B marketers now more than ever before. While its core function has not changed substantially, there are new developments and challenges marketers must address: mobile, content marketing and automation.

marketing automation

For B2B marketers today—personalizing messages and integrating channels are vital, and automation is essential for executing those tactics.

With content marketing now mandatory for email marketers and mobile making it critical that B2Bs reach the right individual with the right message at the right moment, it becomes nearly impossible to personalize email marketing without some form of automation.

B2B marketers recognize the value of marketing automation solutions, but many have been slow to fully integrate the technology into their sales and marketing efforts. Data released in November 2013 by BtoB Magazine showed just 26% of US B2B marketers had completely integrated automation into their sales and marketing initiatives at the end of 2013. More than half (52%), however, expected full marketing automation adoption for this year.

marketing automation features

Automation solutions are often broad and can be applied across multiple channels and formats, but for most, email automation is vital. B2B marketers surveyed by Regalix in March 2014 reported that among marketing automation features, email automation was the most important to them.

One significant insight from the Regalix data is that marketers say the email technology they need is not simply mechanisms to automate and manage email. Instead, they want sophisticated systems to manage cross-channel campaigns and deliver personalized, targeted experiences to customers.

Have you automated your marketing? To learn more – call Lori today at 877.447.0134.

Advertisements

How Marketers Can Capitalize on Live Events

event-marketing
Previously seen as simply a one-way advertising opportunity, mobile’s ability to facilitate a conversation with customers has transformed live events into a key component of cross-channel marketing efforts.

This allows for customers to become part of the event – whether in person or watching it online. However, just like any program, a campaign built around a live event requires preparation that identifies goals and key messages to ensure it’s a measurable success.

The multitude of screens proves to be an opportunity for brands to use mobile to create a direct connection with customers that is personal, engaging and measurable.

Here are three ways brands can capitalize on live events and make it a year of interactivity.

1. Make your audience part of the event

Customers are constantly using their phone at live events, and often, it’s for social sharing.

This constant connection to mobile phones provides brands with the opportunity to leverage audience members as brand advocates and take the conversation from not only at the event but out to social communities.

Having fans upload and share a photo to win prizes is a simple way to spread the word and share their experiences via their social channels.

The Sprint NASCAR Series has done a nice job of extending the passion for racing beyond those in attendance at the track. By using venue screens to invite fans to tweet a question or upload a photo that would be posted to Facebook, they’re engaging the attendees at the event, and reaching the fans’ extended social community, potentially drawing in more viewers.

2. Capture opt-ins for ongoing communications

You have a captive audience at live events which makes it an optimal time to acquire permission-based mobile and email opt-ins for future communications.

These opt-ins can be used to drive traffic in stores, encourage app downloads, provide exclusive product info and more. The opportunities are endless, and live events are the ideal place to start this rich engagement, especially if sponsorships are already in your marketing mix.

For example, to generate interest in and increase viewership of the Country Music Association (CMA) Awards show, text-to-win programs have been created for the past three years through televised mobile calls-to-action.

By offering prizes, such as a guitar autographed by Brad Paisley, the CMA team saw 56% of fans opt in for continued mobile communication.

3. Turn live events into commerce

Mobile opt-ins like the fans captured by the CMA represent a powerful opportunity for marketers to drive engagement and increase revenue. Subsequent campaigns can be designed to drive purchases through exclusive offers and/or coupons.

The Portland Trail Blazers were looking for a way to bring mobile engagement inside their arena and around the team. To do so, they created contests that combined mobile and social integrations to provide fans with discounts and in-venue promotions on tickets and merchandise.

The results were impressive: as the discounts and promotions sent to fans contributed to the highest grossing sales night of the year.

Brands spend large amounts of money in event sponsorships. Adding mobile to a live event strategy won’t make a big dent on a brand’s budget, but it will make that sponsorship more impactful both at the event and long after.

As marketers, we talk about how consumers always have their phones with them and the impact of mobile as it relates to the on-the-go customer.

Live events are the perfect place to turn that marketing talk into marketing strategy.

Get the most out of your event marketing. Call 877.447.0134 today.

Mobile’s Share of Email Opens By Time of Day [report]

Mobile Email
Mobile’s share of email opens continues to increase, with various sources reporting that share to be 50% or higher. A new report from Knotice pegs mobile’s share of commercial email opens at 48% during the second half of 2013, and analyzes how that share varies throughout the day. Mobile’s role tends to be greater in the pre-workday morning hours and in the evening, with tablets coming out at night.

 Mobile Share of Email Marketing by time of day

While the share of opens occurring on mobile phones was more than twice the share occurring on tablets between 9AM and 2PM, that wasn’t the case for the afternoon and evening hours. In fact, the tablet share of opens rose throughout the afternoon hours, reaching a peak at 9PM (25.5% share). At that hour, phones’ share of opens was only about 11% higher than for tablets.

Overall, the share of email opens occurring on a mobile device (phone and tablet) showed two peaks. The first was at 5AM, when they reached 52.8% share of opens, and the second was at 9PM, when they accounted for 54% share. When limiting the analysis to mobile phones, though, there were 3 mini-peaks: at 5AM (33.4% share); at 11AM (31%); and at 5PM and 6PM (31.1% share each).

The results suggest that mobile email opens trends haven’t changed too much over the past couple of years; back in October 2012, a study from TailoredMail found that mobile email opens tended to peak in the hours immediately preceding and following the traditional workday.

The Knotice report also reveals some other interesting trends: for example, despite their mini-peaks, mobile phones’ share of opens tends to stay quite constant throughout the day, ranging from a low of 27.4% share at 8AM to a high of 33.4% share at 5AM. There’s much more variance in tablet opens, which ranged from a low of 12.2% share at 10AM to a high of 25.5% share at 9PM. In other words, the mobile peaks tend to be driven more by tablet use than mobile phone use.

The report also illustrates that the tablet share of opens was notably higher in the second half (H2) of the year compared to the first half (H1).

For data on when B2B buyers and decision-makers access email on their mobile devices throughout the day, see the recent MarketingCharts Debrief, “Reaching and Influencing B2B Buyers and Decision-Makers”.

Other Findings:

  • The iPhone (25.6%) and iPad (15.7%) combined for more than 41% share of email opens in the second half of the year, compared to just 6% share for Android devices. This can be attributed to the manner in which a mobile open is recorded based on images downloaded… It also could be impacted by email app preview panes. Image download is not a default setting for all smartphones (particularly Android ones).
  • The 48% share of email opens attributed to mobile devices in H2 was up from 41% share in H2 2012.
  • Mobile’s share of email opens was highest in the consumer services (54.8%) industry in H2 2013, with consumer products (38.1%) on the lower end. Retail (49.2%) saw a high share of opens and B2B (37.6%) a relatively low share, consistent with recent data from Experian Marketing Services.
  • Mobile phone and tablet click-to-open (CTO) rates were highest for the financial services and consumer products industries, but continue to lag desktop. That aligns with findings from Yesmail Interactive, which indicate higher CTO rates on desktop than mobile.

About the Data: The report is based on a composite cross sampling of approximately 500 million emails sent across 11 industry segments in each half of 2013 in North America.

Are you email marketing campaigns optimized for mobile? Don’t miss any opportunities, call 877.447.0134 today.

Mobile & Video Ads Deliver More per Impression

mobile video ads
In the first quarter of 2014, the vast majority of digital marketing spend across display, social, video and mobile was allocated to display ads (83%), which delivered 84% share of actions. Video (4% share of impressions) and mobile (1% share) ads each outperformed in terms of share of actions, with video accounting for 6.5% share and mobile 2.5% share. While social captured 12% of impressions, it accounted for a relatively smaller 7% of actions, likely due to its influence being more in the upper funnel.

Mobile & Video Deliver More Per Ad Impression

The study finds that as was the case last year, social ads continue to outperform portals, networks and exchanges in “reach efficiency,” which measures channels’ efficiency in reaching new users and takes into account cost-per-unique-user.

About the Data: For the Q1 2014 Neustar Media Intelligence Report, data was compiled from a representative sample of its customer base. This includes 28 billion impressions across approximately 152 billion ad events. Data represented in the report covered over 1300 different inventory providers across key vertical industries such as CPG, Education, Entertainment, Health, Media, Retail, and Telco.

How are you using mobile and video? To learn more call Lori at 877.447.0134.

Content Categories Mostly Consumed on Mobile [study]

Mobile Content
Time spent accessing the internet on smartphones matched online time spent with PCs in January, according to a recent report from Millennial Media and comScore. But the extent to which online content was consumed on PCs versus mobile devices varied considerably by content category: for example, 80% of time spent with B2B content was via PCs, whereas 79% of time spent with streaming radio was on smartphones, per the study.

Mobile Content

B2B content emerged as the most heavily consumed on PCs, likely a reflection of B2B buyers and decision-makers being far more likely to be using PCs at work than the typical adult.

But beyond B2B, other content categories are also heavily consumed on PCs rather than mobile. Those include automotive (where PCs represent 76% of minutes), travel (68%), TV (67%) and business/finance (62%).

Mobile devices accounted for at least half of time spent in 6 of the 14 categories. Streaming radio was the most heavily mobile, with 95% of online time spent with the category coming via smartphone (79%) or tablet (16%). Mobile devices also comprised a majority of time spent with games (85%), social media (72%), weather (69%), and retail (53%), and half of the time spent with health content.

The distribution of time spent across devices also differs by age and gender. For example, women aged 25-49 spent almost two-thirds of their time with retail content via smartphones (47%) and tablets (17%), while men in that age bracket spent a relatively smaller 47% of their retail time accessing via mobile devices. And while business and finance content was generally consumed more on PCs than on mobile devices, there was a strong age gap in the findings, with 18-24-year-olds spending almost three-quarters (72%) of their time with this content using smartphones.-MarketingCharts

Is your marketing optimized for mobile? Call 877.447.0134 to learn more.

Desktop Still Leads Mobile For Content Sharing

Content Sharing mobile vs desktopIt’s a mobile world but desktop still holds the advantage in at least one area — engagement with content — according to first quarter data released today by social sharing plugin provider AddThis.

The mobile share of total engagement is increasing — gaining 17 percentage points since the first quarter of 2013 — but AddThis data still show a 65%-35% overall advantage for desktop.

That’s a trend-bucking figure considering how far the mobile pendulum has swung on the social media networks where much of the engagement is taking place. According to ComScore numbers for Q4 of 2013, 68% of the time spent by U.S. users on Facebook was on mobile devices. On Twitter, that percentage was 86%.

So why the disconnect? One possible explanation is that publishers are still clinging to the desktop environment and haven’t fully optimized their content for the small screen.

Another is that even on mobile sites or apps, the sharing and engagement tools are often cumbersome.

There’s also an issue of the definition of engagement. AddThis, which compiles its data from 14 million worldwide domains that have installed its engagement plugins, includes printing and “address bar sharing” in the mix, and both of those actions are much more likely to be performed by someone sitting in front of a PC. Here’s a breakdown of the top engagement actions tracked by AddThis:

how-they-share
After Facebook sharing with 26% of total engagement, the desktop staple sharing of URLs from the address bar is second at 21%.

Engagement By Category

AddThis also broke down engagement details by entertainment, sports, politics, food and travel categories, interesting information for marketers targeting those segments.  Download the full report here.  Notable findings:

Entertainment

  • —Peak sharing hour of the day: 2:00pm – 3:00pm ET
  • Top way to engage: sharing to Facebook at 36%

Sports

  • —Peak hour of engagement: 11:00am – 12:00pm ET
  • Top way to engage: 36% sharing to Facebook

Politics

  • —Peak sharing hour of the day: 10:00am – and 11:00am EST
  • Top way to engage: 27% sharing to Facebook

—Food

  • —Peak sharing hour of the day: 11:00am — 12:00pm
  • Top way to engage with food-related content: 46% sharing to Pinterest

Travel

  • —Peak hour of engagement: 11:00am – 12:00pm ET
  • The top way to engage with travel content is printing at 26%, followed by sharing to Facebook at 24%

-MarketingLand

Take your content marketing to the next level. Call 877.447.0134 today.

—