Lend Us Your Eyes
Everyone wants eyeballs on their content. But humans have the attention span of a gnat. Such is the Catch 22 of modern marketing.
By 2020, half the world’s population will be online every day. That’s almost four billion people, and the average attention span of those people is about eight seconds and declining all the time.
So long gone are the days of folks sitting down with the newspaper (and accompanying newsprint on their fingers) for a few hours, it’s almost impossible to imagine anymore.
The competition among marketers for those eight seconds of our attention is fierce, and the ways to get it are many. Only a strategy that employs a multimedia approach has a fighting chance of engaging your target audiences.
Different Learning Styles, Different Media
Even more important than identifying what kinds of content to produce (the list is long) is understanding why and for whom it should be created. People learn and engage in a variety of ways and through many different media channels. Generally, there are three different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (learning through touch).
Visual Is King
Nearly everyone processes visual content more quickly and easily than text. It also stays in our long-term memory longer. This is why videos, photos, animations, webcasts, slideshares, and infographics are so important to a robust marketing campaign. Most smart phones today have high-quality camcorders, so producing simple videos and uploading them to YouTube (the second most popular search engine after Google) is inexpensive and relatively straightforward, as long as your content is engaging, meaningful and consumer-centric. And super awesome, too.
Multimedia utilizes all learning styles and appeals to almost all consumers.
Where Is Your Audience?
So Many Screens. Reaching consumers on the platforms they frequent is every bit as important as the types of media you choose to deliver your messages. The average adult 18 and older spends as many as 11 hours a day looking at a screen. Most of that time is spent watching live TV, and a large portion (almost two and a half hours) is spent on a smartphone. Only about a half hour is spent at a desktop computer (outside of work) or on a tablet.
Social Media. While Facebook has become decidedly uncool among people under 25, 72 percent of Facebook users are between the ages of 50 and 64, and 62 percent of seniors 65+ are on Facebook. Younger audiences live on YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and binge-worthy TV, such as “Game of Thrones.” Brands are also wise to leverage Twitter, where 37 percent of people aged 18-29 and 25 percent aged 30-49 follow their favorite celebrities, athletes and politicos. About 347,222 tweets go out per minute.
WWW. Your website is your virtual front door. This is where all your owned content lives and where prospects will either engage with you or move on to your competitor’s site. It’s safe to say that nearly all segments of society consult and expect comprehensive information from a website and have at least a basic understanding of how to navigate around. A killer website is an absolute must for all businesses today, no matter how small. There are just too many fish in the digital sea for anything less.
Print. Print is still a viable marketing medium, even in today’s online world, and resonates more with older audiences who still value the experience of receiving something tangible in the mail. Print also has special appeal to those who learn best through tactile experiences, as modern printing presses can do some amazing things with surface texture!
Email. Nearly 4 billion people across the world use email, up 100 million from last year. Needless to say, email campaigns are also still relevant, especially if they include good storytelling, personalization and interactive features.
Consumers Demand It
There’s no going back to the days of three media: print, radio and TV, none of which facilitated any conversation with audiences. Today’s consumers are “prosumers,” active participants in the buyer journey with the ability – and willingness – to advocate, critique, persuade, dissuade, advise, share, upload, download, and build up or tear down a brand before the entire world. They demand engagement – experiences – and only a multimedia marketing approach will satisfy them. Anything less will knock your brand back into the dark ages and leave you wanting for leads and customers.
Let our team of experts help you strategize, develop and deliver the best multimedia campaigns for your unique audiences.
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
Have you ever been in a business meeting when someone used an acronym you didn’t know? Did you sit there with sweaty palms, hoping your part of the meeting wouldn’t require you to know what it stands for? Did you ask what it means? Or did you quickly and surreptitiously look it up on your device at hand?
While the word “acronym” was first coined by Bell Laboratories in 1943, acronyms themselves are nothing new. Even the Romans used them (as in the roll-off-your-tongue SPQR for Senatus Populusque Romanus), but more are tossed around these days than ever before.
New ones are born seemingly every day, in every industry and social arena. You’d have to be a walking urban dictionary to know or remember them all. So, forgive yourself your FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and accept that you’re never going to keep up.
That said, there are some acronyms that marketing professionals simply CNK (Can’t Not Know, and we just made that up). But first, why is it important to know and use them?
Why Use Acronyms?
- You’re going to look like a dinosaur if you don’t. Remember that business meeting, when CMO Joe kept dropping DKA (Don’t Know Acronyms), and you felt like a dope? You felt that way for a reason. Anything that’s used in the normal lexicon of your industry should be second nature to you. Otherwise, you and your company look well behind the times.
- They’re efficient and convenient. It may not seem like such a big deal to type out “as soon as possible” one time, but multiply that by the number of times you convey that sense of urgency in a week, and you’ve added several minutes to your precious time.
- They save money and trees. If you’re printing hard documents, acronyms take up less room and, thus, use less paper.
- They’re quicker and easier to say. Consider the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Emergency Guidance Abort Destruct System, for example. Isn’t it just a lot faster and simpler to say NASA’s EGADS?
- Their brief, snappy character lends itself perfectly to texting and social media, especially on hand-held devices.
- They’re hip (think young) and fun to use, as in the EGADS example above.
The acronyms one should know off the top of their head depends largely on the business one is in. Because you’re reading a marketing blog, we’re going to focus on that arena, along with its first cousins, social media and email. Keep in mind that the same acronyms can have multiple meanings, depending on the industry. Therefore, it’s best to specify that industry when searching acronyms. For example, “AMA in healthcare.”
We’re not going to include the acronyms that are familiar to the lay person, such as FYI, OMG, ASAP, TGIF, LOL. If you’re not familiar with those, here’s a good primer.
Top Marketing (and a Few Sales) Acronyms You Need to Know
B2B: Business to Business
B2C: Business to Consumer
CRM: Customer Relationship Management
MAP: Marketing Automation Platform
RSS: Really Simple Syndication
HTML: Hypertext Markup Language
CPC: Cost Per Click
CPL: Cost Per Lead
CTA: Call to Action
CTR: Click Through Rate
PPC: Pay Per Click
BR: Bounce Rate
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
RFP: Request For Proposal
SAAS: Software As A Service
PR: Lest we insult your intelligence, PR stands for Page Rank as well as the better known Public Relations
SMM: Social Media Marketing
ROI: Return On Investment
Top Social Media Acronyms You Need to Know
AMA: Ask Me Anything
IDK: I Don’t Know
DM: Direct Message
LMK: Let Me Know
IMO/IMHO: In My Opinion/In My Humble Opinion
SMH: Shaking My Head
YOLO: You Only Live Once
JSYK: Just So You Know
ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5
LMAO: Laughing My Ass Off
NSFW: Not Safe For Work
Top Email Acronyms You Need to Know
NRN: No Response Necessary
EOD: End Of Day
EOM: End Of Message (allows you to put your brief message in the subject line so email doesn’t need to be opened; e.g., “Meeting at 4:00 – EOM”)
BCC: Blind Carbon Copy
CC: Carbon Copy
OOO: Out Of Office
OT: Off Topic
YTD: Year To Date
We at IVY have enjoyed sharing this sampling of common marketing acronyms with you. We ask you to remember one more: our MAPS approach to all your marketing needs. Let us help you make the most of your campaigns in the following areas of expertise:
If you have a favorite acronym(s) that is not on our list, please let us know what it is and what it stands for. Please share this blog on your social media for even more feedback!
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
Have you noticed when you’re on your various social media platforms that the sponsored messages you’re getting are more and more personal and relevant to you in particular? A few years ago, users were getting content that had little or nothing to do with their tastes or interests – stuff that could have been sent to anyone. But now, it’s laser-focused on individuals or (more accurately), segments of individuals, right down to the type of shoes they like and the way they prefer to spend their free time.
Personalized content is certainly no accident, and more and more, consumers are welcoming it rather than feeling like they’re being invaded by Big Brother. As we grow more comfortable with and accustomed to highly targeted content, we’re not only okay with it, we expect it.
The Psychology of Personalized Content
Instead of feeling intruded upon by digital content that has little or no relevance to us, consumers are feeling understood. What could be better than that? According to Psychology Today, feeling understood is even more important than feeling loved, because if people don’t get who we are or what we’re about, all other needs can feel pretty meaningless.
Knowing who we are and what we’re about. That’s the very heart and soul of successful marketing, isn’t it? Marketers who know their audience and what makes them tick are far more likely to create lasting relationships with their prospects than those who are taking stabs in the dark. In fact, a 2017 study showed that 79% of companies that exceeded their revenue goals had a personalized digital media strategy in place.
The Technology of Personalized Content
What is to credit for extremely personalized content and, more importantly, its ability to engage consumers in truly meaningful ways? In a word, technology. In two words, advancing technology. As we know, technology is constantly ushering us into the future, and content marketers are benefiting considerably from the move. Reaching the right people at the right time with the right approach on the right media channel is increasingly possible. As data-rich tools and platforms become more and more sophisticated, content marketers are poised to thrive in their ability to identify audiences, track and characterize their behavior, and purposefully analyze it to create galvanizing content.
The Internet of Things may seem like high-tech on steroids now, but in less than 10 years, it stands to be as routine as getting directions from your smart phone. In a nutshell, the Internet of Things will allow us to have real-time, interactive media experiences on more than just our electronic devices. By way of trillions of sensors providing data streams on everyday items and products, marketers will be able to reach people in more private, personal spaces.
Creepy? Not if content marketers provide messages and experiences that feel welcome instead of invasive. Think of it this way: the technology that affords such intensely keen knowledge of individual consumers will also be the blueprint for precisely how to effectively reach them.
Next week, we’ll examine how to bring psychology and technology together in methodology and ideology. In the meantime, contact our team of experts to find out how to reach your prospects on a new – and very personal – level.
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
In parts I and II of our series on crisis communications, we provided an overview of what crisis in business is – and is not – and explored how to plan for crisis and respond to the media and other outside parties.
In this third and final part, we look at internal crisis communications – the all-important, two-way flow of information between employers and employees.
Though we tend to prioritize outside messages (what will we tell the media?), internal crisis communication is every bit as important as what is said to external audiences. Company personnel are our most precious resources. Not only do they ensure effective business operations, they are also the rank-and-file staff in whom outside parties often have more faith than corporate officials (though designating spokespeople is paramount). Putting staff first is critical.
Have a Plan
The need for a strategy in advance of crisis to share with all levels of staff cannot be overstated. Not only does a plan equip your company with a road map of what to do if crisis occurs, it also imparts to your team how valued they are, building trust, morale and even work ethic.
How Will You Protect Your Team?
Assuming that you will brainstorm all manner of disastrous possibilities (and you should), the physical safety of your staff is top on the list of priorities. Envision scenarios that could pose bodily threat (a fire, flood, explosion, bomb, shooting, widespread food contamination), and devise a plan for how you will quickly and efficiently safeguard your team in each of them. Obtain advice ahead of time from police, emergency personnel, government agents, etc., as appropriate. Run drills of these procedures so your staff can practice and become familiar with them and you can assess their effectiveness before they’re actually needed.
How Will You Inform Your Team During Crisis?
Information is the first line of defense during crisis, and having push notification technology in place is a formidable shield against danger. Push notifications go out through various channels (text, email, phone alerts, P.A.) without requiring recipients to solicit – or pull – information themselves. These notices should be clear and explicit about what has happened, what to do and where to find further information, such as a dark website.
About Social Media
Social media is not ideal for the dissemination of information during crisis, to either external or internal audiences. Its potential to spawn viral false reporting is enormous, and the time and effort that goes into proper, up-to-the-minute monitoring is exhausting. However, because social media is an instantaneous and pervasive means by which anyone and everyone can say anything and everything, companies are wise to post an accurate, authorized, preferably pre-prepared statement about their crisis on social media. Boilerplate copy is okay, provided it can be tweaked and updated by vetted admins to individual circumstances. Heavens knows, you don’t want @ludesfordudes snapping a photo of your building’s fire and slapping it all over the Internet with no authorized response from you about the situation.
What Should Your Team Know?
Just as honesty is paramount in external crisis communications, total transparency must be the guiding rule inside the company as well. Provide staff with truthful, expedient, accurate information about not only the crisis itself (including damage to persons, property, reputation, stock holdings, etc.), but how it may impact their personal employment status, if at all. Let there be no time of silence, not only for the sake of trust and transparency, but to forestall the inevitable rumor mill that will grow the longer information is withheld. After push notifications have instructed employees about what to do during crisis, face-to-face conversations or audio/video conferences should ensue as well as point-by-point emails, internal memos and other company-wide communications about the situation and its impact.
Messages should be as consistent across all tiers of employment as possible and originate from the same source at the same time. This will mitigate misunderstanding of the situation and foster a sense of unity and ownership across the entire company. Convey to staff what you are doing to move forward in a positive direction – but be careful not to say more than you know. Don’t share anything you cannot verify.
Whom Should Your Team Tell – Or Not?
This question underscores the importance of keeping your staff in the loop, accurately and thoroughly informing them of the crisis as it unfolds and enters various stages. “Employees are increasingly important voices during crisis,” said Shel Holtz, principal at Holtz Communication + Technology in San Francisco. However, it is imperative that staff not speak to the media about the crisis. This is the territory of media-trained, designated spokespeople only.
Next, dissuade unauthorized personnel from posting information or engaging in commentary about your crisis on their social media, for the reasons stated above about the viral and erroneous nature of online discourse. That said, HR and communications experts differ on whether employees should be able to communicate externally about their company’s crisis.
Some say it’s simply not feasible to stem the tide of online comments and inquiries. Instead, employees should be armed with accurate and timely information to offer, if evoked, on their personal platforms. According to the Public Relations Society of America, “The natural inclination for many companies in crisis is to send messaging to employees and ask them to spread the word. But it only works if employees have been prepared, and if a discipline exists that allows them to do so effectively.”
Regardless of the differences of opinion on this matter, social posting should be done very cautiously and judiciously. It’s just too easy to get carried away in the exponential chitter chatter, and less is more.
What Should Your Team Tell You?
Encourage questions and conversations among your employees. Let them know there will be no reprisals for sharing and that your door is open to talk and, more importantly, listen. If possible, install a hotline or other line(s) of communication for staff to confidentially let management know of a potentially dangerous or damaging situation before it occurs. Examples of this might be witnessing abusive or neglectful behavior of residents by another staff member, in the case of a senior living community, or a malfunctioning gas line. Freedom to communicate in both directions is essential to the prevention of, reaction to, and recovery from crisis.
Thank you for your engagement in this three-part series on crisis communications. We hope this has been a helpful guide. If you have further questions or would like the assistance of our team of experts in planning for and managing crisis in your business, please feel free to contact us. We’re here for you!
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
In part I of our series on crisis management, we explained what a crisis in business is – and what it is not.
In this second part, we will examine external crisis communications and how to effectively plan for and disseminate information about your company’s crisis to the media, customers, vendors, stockholders and other outside interested parties.
First, it is essential to have a plan in place before crisis occurs. Be proactive, not reactive. Recalling that a crisis is newsworthy (something unlawful, immoral, unhealthy or even deadly), it is a fatal error in judgment to assume that nothing dire will ever happen to your business and that preparing for crisis is unnecessary. Let’s also recall that a bad review is not a crisis.
Here are some tips to prepare for crisis and the external messages to be conveyed in its wake:
- Brainstorm potential situations. In the senior housing industry, for example, what could happen that would merit crisis status? Think of anything and everything and write it down. Here’s when it’s wise to go to the worst-case scenario, to imagine all the things that you hope and pray will never happen. A fire, flood? Widespread food contamination? Reports or evidence of abusive/neglectful staff? Sexual harassment or assault? A major lawsuit? A shooting?
- Prepare mid-crisis action. Once you have determined all the possible crisis situations that could occur, determine what actions will be taken to safeguard staff, residents, the community at large, if applicable, as the situation is unfolding. Which public officials or authorities will be contacted, if necessary; which staff will do what; what onsite protection plans will be activated (exit procedures, lockdowns, etc.).
- Designate spokespeople. WHO speaks about your crisis is as important as WHAT is said. Specific people should be designated – and only them – to make statements or respond to questions. Whether they are CEOs (usually the most appropriate spokespeople), department heads, marketing or PR personnel…whoever is authorized to reach out or answer to the community should be media-trained (see below). No one who isn’t a media-trained, designated spokesperson should respond at all, nor should any messages be conveyed without spokesperson(s)’ and participating officials’ approval (police, federal agents, etc.).
- Prepare appropriate messages. Case studies show how to – and not to – respond to disaster in business, but keep in mind that no response is a negative response, conveying indifference, irresponsibility, defensiveness, or worse. In part I of this series, we cited three questions that must be addressed following a crisis:
1) What happened? 2) What caused it? 3) What are you doing to keep this from happening again? Answers to these key questions should be formulated ahead of time and come across as positive and reassuring as possible. But they must also be truthful. Transparency in communicating what happened is absolutely essential
A boilerplate response prepared in advance is good practice, but also craft messages that are unique to individual scenarios. Decide which channels will be used to reach which audiences, and make sure people with media training are monitoring and responding to social media around the clock. The age of social media has thrown fuel on the rumor mill fire, and “fake news” proliferates like a contagion online. Design advance messages that deal with each stage of crisis: the immediate aftermath and post-event follow-up.A “dark website” should be implemented as soon as possible. This is a page on top of your regular home page containing the most updated information about the situation. Any inquiries should be referred to this page until spokespersons can get out to the public or other channels of information are established.The passage of time will determine when to re-engage and disengage with the issue, but each subsequent message should be as acutely responsive and well-constructed as the first. Stay connected with your customers, stockholders and vendors throughout the relevancy of the crisis, because they are key to your credibility and recovery.
- Provide media training. HOW a message is conveyed is as vital as WHAT is said. Only individuals who have been educated on how to maintain control and composure, exude confidence and credibility should partake in interviews. This person(s) should also be proficient in redirecting (not obfuscating!) unproductive questioning back to pre-planned, and always truthful, key messages. While preparedness is critical, designated spokespeople should also be able to think quickly and clearly on their feet, should unexpected inquiries or commentary come their way.
- Establish a liaison for police/investigative personnel. In addition to, and separate from, a designated spokesperson(s), a media-trained employee should be assigned as communications liaison to sit on a committee of police or whatever investigative personnel the crisis warrants. The liaison will ensure that nothing goes out to the media or public without said police/official’s permission and will then – and only then – relay sanctioned information.
- Enlist the help of outside partners. Be they health professionals, law enforcement, emergency response personnel, educators, law practitioners (note: lawyers should not be designated spokespeople), or other relevant individuals, rely on the expertise of professionals that can team with you if crisis hits. Arrange this team ahead of time, so that mutual trust and lines of communication are already in place.
- Rehearse. Schedule a “what if” day, seminar or retreat to rehearse responses to potential crisis. Conduct practice Q&As; if practical, run a drill on actions to take during various situations (without alarming residents or other non-staff people); role play interview scenarios. Get creative imagining the worst – but be prepared!
In the next and final blog in this series on crisis management, we will explore internal communications, or how to relay information to company employees and their families.
If crisis strikes, let our team of experts guide you to recovery with appropriate preparatory communications and trusted public relations finesse.
IVY MARKETING. COME GROW WITH US.