7 simple ways to fit LEARNING into a busy schedule

Posted by Bethany Simpson in Opinions on February 25th, 2015 at 10:05 am

tl;dr: We're all maxed out, time-wise. In order to learn new things, both for the present job and the future, it will take, for some of us, not finding more time to learn, but creating an environment of learning in everything we do. Here are some tools that can help.

I think most of us would agree that ongoing learning is critical to our work productivity, not to mention our future career potential. Learning also helps us to find meaning in our personal lives. All well and good, but it can be hard to make the time to read and study when we’re already juggling a full work schedule, as well as family and other important commitments.

Today’s digital tools can help us to do two important things: take advantage of pockets of time that might otherwise be used less constructively, and weave ongoing learning more effectively into our work and home routine.

The following list covers some resources I’ve gleaned from colleagues, and used to help grow my own skill set. During a lunch break, waiting for an appointment to begin, or on a Saturday afternoon, it's good to know...

How agility will set you apart from the competition

Posted by Agata Smieciuszewski in Opinions on February 24th, 2015 at 1:46 pm

It used to be that the same great strategy would result in a competitive edge for a long time. Today, however, the most successful companies are the ones that adopt a more agile approach.

At the 2015 iMedia Brand Summit in Amelia Island, Florida, Amanda Setili, author of "The Agility Advantage: How to Identify and Act On Opportunities in a Fast-Changing World," described how these newly agile companies use data strategically to pinpoint customer behavior and utilize it most efficiently. Marketing is at an intersection of change, and marketers need to be aware of new technologies, new ways of interacting, and micro-segments.

Agility is the ability to identify new opportunities and capitalize on them quickly. In today's changing marketing landscape, new technology will always be right around the corner. Although it's impossible for anyone to constantly be on top of all changes, the way you approach a new idea is crucial to your success. Reacting to a new stimulus the same way your competitors do will keep you running alongside them. To pull ahead of the herd, you have to think differently and swiftly.

The interactions between companies and consumers has also...

The great content debate: Creativity vs. measurability

Posted by Jacqueline Lisk in Opinions on February 24th, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Marketers discussed their approach to social media, emerging platforms, crisis management, and content creation in a candid, spirited debate at the iMedia Brand Summit in Amelia Island, Florida.

“How can brands create effective content that drives conversion?” asked Carlos Gil, digital strategist and the moderator of the content-focused master track. What ensued was a lively discussion, with plenty of audience involvement.

Some conclusions proved rather universal. Brands are strapped for resources -- time, money and talent. To create content, they rely on a combination of in-house talent and agency partners -- partners being the key word. “I see the agencies as an extension of my team,” said Billie Goldman, partner marketing manager at Intel.

Doug Robinson, CEO of Fresh Digital Group and the panel’s only agency representation, noted that an agency partner will challenge brands’ notions of creativity and help push the envelope.

Other topics proved more polarizing.

Real-time marketing

The panelists and audience members were divided on the effectiveness of real-time marketing. Kasey Skala, head of digital and social at Solo Cup, declared it’s often poorly executed and unnecessary. “Brands are trying to score in these short spans. It’s lazy marketing,” he noted.  “We...

Marketers Should Have a War Room Mentality Beyond the Big Game

Posted by Assaf Henkin in Opinions on February 24th, 2015 at 10:10 am

The Big Game is a great example of the convergence of TV and digital media strategies, further bridging the TV-online divide. NBC reported that the 2015 Big Game attracted a U.S. television-record of 114.42 million viewers, and more than 1.3 million people watched the game through NBC's web stream.

Many marketers and marketing technologists, myself included, were in “war rooms” across the country alongside clients and partners ready to respond, create and activate digital media based on the public’s reaction to TV spots, digital engagement, and other game-day festivities on and off the field.

A war room is the nexus of everything most marketers experience in their career – intensity, strategizing, risk taking, immense satisfaction when everything goes right and upset when things go awry.

My recent war room experience affirms the future of digital marketing is contingent upon brands making data-driven decisions that drive media activation based on real-time information and insights.  Immediate action is required by marketers to keep up with consumers’ evolving multi-screen behaviors. Forrester Research’s analysis of the state of digital marketing predicted this shift toward real-time activation in 2014 stating that advertisers “must deliver immediate value to earn brand loyalty.”

Lisa Donohue, Chief Executive Officer at Starcom USA,...

How Customer Education is Vital to Your Marketing Strategy

Posted by Jeannie Walters in Opinions Targeting Websites on February 24th, 2015 at 7:33 am

Marketers have enjoyed a long love affair with lingo and inside speak.

It's easy to throw around terms like PPC in meetings and assume, typically correctly, most in the meeting will understand.

But customers are now seeking guidance on everything from data privacy to the Internet of Things (IoT) and it may be up to marketers to help them understand.

It's easy to fall into the trap of speaking as we speak to one another, instead of really articulating what the customer or prospect needs to understand in order to not only consider a brand's offer, but to eventually gain long-term loyalty.

What does this mean for marketers?

Marketing starts way before it used to, and prospects often discover brands in ways we can't track, such as word-of-mouth referrals or the scary-sounding "dark web." People are seeking information on how to solve issues, understand what's happening next or just what their friend is posting about on social media.

Education about products should be in the greater scheme of a customer's life. This means marketers must understand...