Here’s this week’s round-up of “must read” news stories for marketers. What makes these stories stand out? They offer key information or lessons that multi-channel distributed marketing organizations should take to heart.
- Facebook Launches SMS Service — This week, Facebook launched Facebook Messenger, a free app that lets users access Facebook messages from their phone without installing Facebook Mobile. It’s the first time Facebook has unbundled one service from the rest of its services, and the media reaction has been mixed at best. Some love it, because it simplifies the process of checking for messages without waiting while your friends photos attempt to load onto your mobile device. Others hate it, preferring more traditional messaging services. The lesson for marketers: Don’t be afraid to simplify things. Instead of trying to use a firehose to deliver content to your audience, think about ways to send them just the parts of your message that are most relevant to them. As more and more people check email on mobile phones (88.5% of all email users now check mail on a hand-held device, according to one survey), short and simple is becoming more and more important.
- The Copyright Wars Heat Up – This week was full of stories about the copyright wars, as enforcement actions stepped up. Here are two news stories that have lessons for marketers. A new report shows that more than 200,000 John Does — unnamed defendants — now face copyright infringement litigation from a variety of sources. Senator John McCain and several others have pledged their support for the Protect IP Bill, a measure that would require search engines, ISP’s and other services to proactively block access to sites where copyright infringement takes place. The lesson for marketers: As copyright holders and legislators tighten the enforcement noose on pirate web sites and scofflaws, corporate marketers and website managers may be caught in the net. Anyone who markets products or services online has to be vigilant about protecting other people’s copyrights if they don’t want to wind up becoming collateral damage in the copyright wars.
- Size Doesn’t Matter in Marketing: A new survey tracks multi-channel marketing sophistication among non-profits, and concludes that size doesn’t equal reach, success, or marketing automation prowess. The report says that integrated marketing sophistication and size do not closely correlate. There are some large organizations where integrated marketing is in its infancy, while some smaller organizations are more advanced in their practices. What is critical is tracking, analyzing, and understanding interactions with the target audience, the survey concludes. The lesson for marketers: Most multi-channel marketing automation solutions include a range of tracking analytics and reporting metrics. The question in many companies is whether or not they have the bandwidth and expertise to understand and act on the data they’re collecting. It’s one reason why professional services engagements continue to be a key part of many successful distributed multi-channel marketing automation initiatives.
- Customer Experience Management (CXM) is Critical — A corporate press release this week included excerpts from a February report from Forrester Research, and it’s that six-month old date which seems to be newsworthy. Web content management is now commoditized, the report says. The key today is a website that supports rich, contextual, engaging, cross-channel experiences. The growth of new content types, the emergence of new channels, and the increased expectations of customers all drive this significant change in, according to Forrester. The lesson for marketers: Customer experience management (CXM) needs, including multichannel delivery, content targeting, analytics, and integration with other CXM technologies should be built into company websites. One reason is that as consumers — not corporations — control social media, so consumers have come to expect that they will be able to control all of their online interactions. It’s one reasons that the abandonment rate for sign-up forms that require contact data is declining — and also the reason that 58% of email users report having a separate junk email box they use as their “sign up” address, while just 12% have separate personal and business email boxes.
- Looking for Inspiration Just Got Easier — Silicon Valley Twitter and social media marketing guru Steve Farnsworth (@Steveology) interviewed Joe Chernov, VP of Content Marketing at Eloqua on his blog this week. The subject was where content marketers could look for inspiration, and Chernov talked about Hunch.com, a recommendations engine that looks as the social media profiles of people you follow in social media, and offers suggestions for sites, articles, posts, and other content on a topic you’re interested in. The lesson for marketers: Aside from the tip about Hunch.com, this is a great example of what LIMRA’s Steve Selby talked about in a webinar earlier this week. Selby said that generosity — remembering that social media isn’t all about “me,” but rather all about the audience, and freely sharing good ideas and inspiration from others — is the cornerstone of building your online network. Steve Farnsworth is a master at this — a generous retweeter and giver of credit to others. As a result, his blog and Tweets are themselves often retweeted and shared. More germane to what Steve Selby had to say, however, is the fact that it’s just the right thing to do.