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October 2014 archive

Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: Beardbrand’s Urban Beardsman

Now that we’ve covered the brilliant content marketing campaigns of McDonald’s Canada, Airbnb and Chipotle, things are about to get a little hairy – literally.

Beardbrand's Urban Beardsman Content Marketing CampaignWhat do you do when you have an awesome beard to share with the world, but need to keep it real? Beardbrand created the Urban Beardsman Magazine for just that purpose. As they say on the Lifestyle page of their blog, “While having a beard is a pretty epic thing; it’s not the only thing that matters in life. Throughout these pages you’ll find information about style, music, beard car, travel, and other things related to the bearded lifestyle.”

While the concept of the “bearded lifestyle” makes some people laugh, myself included even though I know people who travel to beard competitions, I can’t deny that Beardbrand has a good content marketing plan. They sell beard oil, mustache wax, combs, brushes, shaving soap, entire grooming kits and more. What’s interesting is that they’ve cornered the market in their niche of what they call the “Urban Beardsman” and developed content that speaks to their lifestyle. Here are some content marketing aspects that make Beardbrand noticeable:

Complete understanding of a persona. If this isn’t a great example of persona development, I’m not sure what is. From the variety of products in the niche – I’m not sure of the difference between Tree Ranger, Tea Tree and Spiced Citrus beard oil, but I’m sure bearded men do – to the topics of their videos, Beardbrand covers an inordinate amount of material about facial hair. Not only does the product surround the needs of bearded men, but they go deeper to provide content their audience is interested, including music, and travel among other topics.

Videos. The videos posted on Urban Beardsman Magazine speak to the mindset of a bearded person. These videos cover emotional dealings such as how to deal with the emotions of being forced to shave the beard, to styling tricks and general growth and maintenance concerns. Think of it as the male version to every female beauty product. And they’re the only ones with traction in this space, creating videos for potential customers. Here’s just one of their epic videos on how to remove “Beard Bed Head.”


Web Seminar Recap: How to Maximize the Power of Google Analytics in Your Marketing Campaign

Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful free tool for measuring the performance of your website.

On October 20th, Tina Arnoldi prestented the free web seminar, How to Maximize the Power of Google Analytics in Your Marketing Campaign. In this one hour presentation, attendees learned how to use Google Analytics to see which marketing efforts are working and understand traffic patterns. This whirlwind tour provided tips and tricks regarding date ranges, annotations, segments, and finding the best days to post on social media.

Missed it? Grab a copy of the presentation slides and a full recording from our web seminar archives.

Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: Chipotle’s the Scarecrow

So far in our Content Marketing Campaign of the Week series we’ve discussed McDonald’s Canada’s “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign and Airbnb’s “Hollywood & Vines” campaign. Next up we’ll show you how restaurant chain, Chipotle, grabbed the hearts of the nation.

Chipotle's "The Scarecrow" Content Marketing Campaign

Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow,” an award-winning creative piece by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is a follow up to the “Back to the Start” video from 2011. The entire campaign encourages more than just eating at Chipotle, it’s a storytelling piece encouraging consumers to be responsible in their decisions, know where their food comes from, and how that affects different parties involved in the making of their food.


Social Media is Just a Fad

If you’re a marketer who works a lot with social media (like myself), you’ve no doubt come across a potential client who is … let’s just say … not quite sold on the usefulness of social media. Despite the countless statistics and case studies of social media’s success in the marketing world, some people are still convinced it’s nothing more than a fad. I’ve done just fine without it. None of my customers use Facebook. Oh sure, I bet it works when you’re marketing to younger people, but…

Often times, the argument is more concealed. I know I should be on social media, but I can’t justify spending the time and money. It’s less blunt, but it’s the same argument.

To you and me — and anyone else who spends a lot of time marketing through social media — these arguments don’t hold up. Just look at the recent statistics. Social media marketing budgets are projected to double in the next five years (SocialTimes). 83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand exposure; 69% to increase web traffic; and 65% to gain market insights (Social Media Today). 87% of small businesses say social media helps them win business (Media Bistro). What’s the holdup, people?

Why they haven’t joined social media yet

Whenever I’m pitching a client, my questions vary from industry to industry. But one question stays constant: “Regarding your company’s broader goals, what do you hope to accomplish with your social media channels?”

The answer is always the same. I don’t mean it’s mostly the same, or that nine out of 10 times, it’s the same. It’s always the same: “I want to increase sales.” I have never had a client tell me anything else. Sometimes, it’s thinly-veiled behind a “I want to strengthen relationships with my customers,” but mostly it’s pretty blatant.

I appreciate this answer, though, because it means they’ve got their priorities straight. A large audience means nothing if that audience isn’t buying product. Nevertheless, this gets at the reason behind some businesses’ hesitancy to hiring social media managers. They don’t see the connection between Facebook, Twitter and their bottom line. Your job is to show them the possibilities. As a marketer, you know social media works because you’ve seen it in action. Use the following tips to champion your online skills.

Don’t: Use statistics. Stating that 87% of small businesses say social media helps them win business doesn’t help you make your case. It’s too abstract. If they’ve got a working model, it’s not going to matter to them what 87% of their peers are doing.

Do: Use case studies, preferably ones that you’ve managed. The cliched advice to “show, don’t tell,” proves itself useful once again. Talk about your clients that have seen sales jump or media placements increase due to your social media efforts. Be sure to tie back your accomplishments to the business goals. I mentioned it above, but it’s worth repeating: A massive audience is meaningless unless those people are also buying products.

Do: Use numbers to back up your case studies. This is where you get to pull in all the statistics that you want, but make sure they are things like revenue increases, product downloads, customer sentiment, etc. Not audience size. Remember — make it relevant. This is a sales pitch, not a masters thesis on social media marketing. General industry trends don’t matter. Trends don’t bring in money.

Do: Give a brief analysis of their competitors. If other businesses in their industry have huge followings, you can truthfully say your potential client has plenty of room to grow. Clearly there’s an interest. If other businesses have no followings at all, then your client can be a leader in the marketing efforts. Note that these arguments are much easier if you can back them up with a case study.

Don’t:  Over promise. Some industries will do better online than others, so don’t make promises you can’t keep (i.e. 100% increase in revenue).

Don’t: Limit your creativity. Even though some things aren’t easily marketed online, don’t limit yourself. I wouldn’t have guessed that marketing men’s razors would have been easy, but Dollar Shave Club (and it’s 1.1 million Facebook followers) proved it’s possible.


While each of these do’s and don’ts are things I’ve learned from my own experience, a lot of them are just basic rules of sales, with a little social media spin. Remember, as with any product or service, your job is to help your client increase his or her bottom line. That goes for social media as well. Prove you can help a potential client increase revenue or reduce costs, and you’ll be very, very hirable.

Web Seminar Recap: How to be a Revenue-Driven Marketer

It’s no longer just about lead generation, it’s about revenue and your job depends on it. Do you have direct revenue responsibility as part of your marketing role? As technology of tracking and analysis methods improve, we expect that over the next several years this will become a normal way of life for Marketers. In order to keep pace with this changing world, marketers need to align their efforts with sales, understand the numbers they need to track and how to talk about revenue in their organizations.

In this web seminar, attendees learned:
• The required skills for today’s marketers
• Defining the revenue strategy
• Aligning with Sales
• Defining what to track
• Reviewing how to track
• Analyzing Results
This one hour seminar, How to be a Revenue-Driven Marketer, was held on October 16th at Noon EST by Kaete Piccirilli and JT Moore. Missed this seminar? Catch up by downloading the slides and recording here.

Make an Impact with Social Media

This content was originally posted in Direct Marketing News.

Today, social media is becoming increasingly important to reach your customers on multiple levels and platforms. However, if you are in charge of your twitter handle or Facebook account you will know that is not just simply sending out a tweet about how awesome your company is. Messages have to be targeted, purposeful, and trackable. So, what can you do to make your social media more meaningful? Follow these four tips:

  1. Unify social media with other marketing efforts
    1. Putting your twitter handle on the signature of an email or on a piece of hard mail, for example, is a great way to up your twitter followers or Facebook likes. Social media is no longer just one marketing category; it is one collaborative marketing effort from beginning to end.  This is also the best way to target a person on multiple levels without them even realizing it.
  2. Have Great Content
    1. Though social media does up your visibility and reach in a customer’s mind, it can mean much more when you put out great content as well. Don’t just throw out some meaningless post that will cause viewers to keep scrolling. Include interesting pictures, videos, white paper, anything that will cause a viewer to stop and click on your content.
  3. Incentivize your Viewers
    1. If you use promos or gifts or even just a free download in your social media campaign you will incentivize your viewers to keep coming back. This will also give viewers a reason to interact which helps foster loyalty in the buying cycle.
  4. Track your Success
    1. When adding links or any type of web address on social media it is essential to eventually track those movements inside of Google Analytics. Tracking where a customer is in the buying cycle can make or break sale or purchase.  Furthermore, it will give you data to see where your campaigns are successful and where they aren’t working. You will never know if your tweet was the reason a customer viewed your website and then made a purchase if you don’t track their movements or process from social media to website and back.

Don’t Tweet This…

Read nearly any blog post written in the last three years about social media, and you’ll inevitably find a reference to the “online conversation.” You need to demonstrate thought leadership. Your social media pages are a forum for customer feedback. We’re seeking to further engage the community. There’s a lot of online chatter about this.

Millions of conversations happen online every day, about an equally-large number of topics. Because social media allows brands to enjoy direct access to potential customers, marketing gurus are constantly encouraging donttweetthiscompanies to join these conversations. Unfortunately, some companies go overboard. For example, who else hates this comment:

“Great article, Joseph. My company actually does a lot with this topic. You should check us out at”

Forget any kind of real dialogue — this is a monologuing sales pitch. It’s not genuine, it’s annoying, and it does anything but make me want to hear about your company. Obviously, this is not the ideal reaction.

This brings online marketers to a crossroads. How can one join this “online conversation” without sounding like a billboard? How do I contribute something and have it reflect positively on me? Can I comment/tweet/post and not include a sales pitch? The answer to the last question is a resounding “YES!” Answers to the other questions are a little more (more…)

Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: Airbnb “Hollywood & Vines” and Neighborhood Guides

airbnb_horizontal_lockup_printWe’re bringing to light what different companies in diverse industries are creating for their content marketing in our current blog series Content Marketing Campaign of the Week. Last week we talked about McDonald’s Canada’s “Our Food, Your Questions” and it’s success in creating transparency, trust, outrageous engagement and enormous bank of content. This week we’re turning our focus to the community marketplace, Airbnb.

Airbnb started in a small loft in San Francisco in 2007, and gained popularity with customers due to their original thinking and easy to use concept of travelling cheaply. Their most recent content marketing campaign has again shown the spirit of living (and promoting) within a budget while being creative.

In their short film “Hollywood & Vines,” Airbnb takes six-second Vines that were submitted by people over the world and combines them into an inspiring piece.


10 Things I Learned from Live-Tweeting an Event

TwitterBirdA while ago, I helped plan, market and host a week-long event geared toward helping entrepreneurs. The event, called Triangle Entrepreneurship Week, consisted of two to three panels per day covering everything from small business legal needs to business sustainability. (If you’re in the Triangle area, I highly recommend you check it out.)

Like most event staff, I had several jobs throughout the process, but my main job was to manage the Twitter feed — both in the few months leading up to the event and during the event, in the form of live-tweeting. This was my first experience in such a role, and I had no idea how much to tweet so I decided to err on the side of too much. I’m sure I was quite a sight, furiously typing away, trying to make sure I didn’t miss any quotable moments. All in all, I tweeted about 1,000 times, and 600 of those tweets were “live.”

The entire experience was phenomenal. Throughout the process, the @TriangleEW account grew from about 550 followers to 1,000. (Note: I helped two years ago, so the numbers are different now.) We had a lot of engagement with the event hashtag, something like 1,200 tweets were composed in total.


Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: McDonald’s Canada “Our Food, Your Questions”

In an attempt to bring to light what different companies in diverse industries are creating for their content marketing, I’m starting the ASPE-ROI Content Marketing Campaign of the Week to highlight different stories, creative ideas and successes. With these stories, I hope our readers will be able to gain knowledge about how companies, big or small, are making their name in content marketing, and hopefully inspire some of your own ideas for content marketing within your organization.

As the first in many posts, I chose this behemoth that has been around for a couple years, but has seen success in many countries since. Yes, McDonald’s has what many marketers would consider an exorbitant budget for marketing, using their dollars in a diverse array of spending. However, their “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign has introduced a new era of fast food communication. Most large fast food chains have employees on staff to review and respond to social media channels, but this campaign went further. McDonald’s Canada dedicated a separate site purely for customers to ask their questions.

McDonald's Canada Content Marketing Campaign

Considering the social sharing about Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets, and who could ignore the McRib, this integrated social communication with answers from the source itself is brilliant. Instead of trying to follow every stream 24/7, responding to any mentions they could find, McDonald’s Canada opened a stream for customer questions. And why not go directly to the source? They’ve also promoted this with offline campaigns through TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising to drive awareness. Content galore!