meshmarketing Q&A: Randy Frisch

Within Toronto’s startup community, Uberflip has established itself as one of the leading content marketing players.

Randy Frisch, Uberflip’s chief operating officer, will bring his insight to meshmarketing as a panelist on the digital tools panel with David Singh and Karen Schulman Dupuis. (Note: Pre-registration tickets are $199 until Oct. 30).

We did a mini-Q&A with Randy to get his thoughts on where content marketing is going and how brands can effectively leverage content.

What do you see as some of the more interesting trends within content marketing? What should brands be focused on?

Video and image-based content is definitely one of the biggest trends in content marketing right now. Audiences find these content formats extremely engaging and it’s easier to digest visual content quickly. For visual content to be most effective, it should also be mobile friendly. This leads to another trend in content marketing right now, which is making content mobile-friendly and responsive.

Brands should focus on understanding which social channels their audience spends time on and deliver visual content across these social channels. Marketers should also ensure they have a mobile strategy in place to capitalize on the massive trend toward mobile content consumption.

What the keys to success when it comes to doing content marketing well?

One of the most important components of a successful content marketing strategy is to know your audience – who are they, what do they like/dislike, which social channels do they spend their time on…once content marketers understand exactly who they’re speaking to, they can create targeted and effective content that resonates with these people.

Savvy content marketers are also constantly measuring the effectiveness of their content strategy. They’re aware of key content marketing metrics and are optimizing their content based on how it’s performing against their pre-defined goals.

Successful content marketers are also good at creating effective long-term strategies – they plan ahead and have a roadmap for their content creation, but they’re also flexible in reacting to industry news and trends.

Any tips on how brands can sustain their content marketing activity, and how they can drive distribution?

We’re seeing a massive rise in content clutter these days and marketers need to find ways to break through the noise and capture their audience’s attention. Savvy content marketers find ways to make all their content discoverable without creating extra work for themselves by going through the IT department – and to be frank, this is exactly the problem that Uberflip’s latest product, Hubs, solves.

Brands can also sustain their content marketing activity by monitoring what their audience is interested in. They’re talking to customers and getting their feedback; they’re monitoring social media networks and listening to the pain points and conversations being expressed online. They’re then always refining their content marketing such that it caters to their audience’s wants and desires.

Any new or favourite digital tools these days?

Canva is a new tool that’s definitely on my radar. It’s basically an online software that allows non-designers to create and collaborate on design. Especially with content marketing trending towards visual content, the ability to create great design is an important asset to have. I’ll be sure to check out Canva when it comes out of beta.

meshmarketing Q&A: David Singh

kira talentThe idea for a digital toolbox panel at meshmarketing came from David Singh, VP strategy and operations with Kira Talent. Over coffee, he talked about the different digital marketing tools he was using.

I did a quick Q&A with David about his thoughts about content marketing, social media and connecting with digital audiences.

What do you see as some of the more interesting trends within content marketing social media? What should brands be focused on?

I don’t think it’s necessarily new, but I’m always struck by content that is beautifully packaged and designed. Well thought out info-graphics are great ways to show a great story and support your visual brand. I’m also loving how companies are using short video more and more. It’s easier to produce more than ever and all of our devices are ready to help is digest it voraciously.

Where do most companies fall short when it comes to social media and content marketing?

Failing to connect with / listen to their audience. If you were speaking at an event, you would quickly see that everyone has their back to you and earphones in. With digital content, it’s more important than ever to build truly personal relationships online. In the early stages, this can’t and doesn’t really need to scale. I believe authenticity will scale far faster than volumes of content.

What do you see as the biggest marketing challenge for a startup given the limited people and resources?

Mixed messages. I think back to my day as a consultant advising senior executives. If we were lucky we had 30-minutes to pitch them weeks of analysis. We had to synthesize our message to be crystal clear and compelling. In the advisory case, we had an established relationship and dedicated time. As a start-up, you are disrupting a space so any dilution of your message will only weaken your results and waste the precious resource of your and your targets time.

Any new or favourite digital tools these days?

Mouseflow – this is a quick and cheap tool that allows you to track everyone’s interaction on your site by hover time, clicks, and visitor flow. You can analyze by co-horts, batches, and specific pages. A very insightful tool if you have low volume traffic.

Woopra – this allows you to see visitor actions/behaviours over time in real-time. You can tag specific users (if you know who they are) and you can see their longitudinal relationship with your site. It’s like Hubspot lite.

Yesware – a fantastic Google plugin that allows you to track open rates and send personalize mass email.

To access the Websites mentioned by David, as well as meshmarketing pages, click on the tile below. Tickets for meshmarketing are $199 until Oct. 30.

$199 = Awesome ROI

ROI$199.

That’s the cost of buying a ticket for meshmarketing until October 30.

Any way you want to slice and dice it, that’s a sweet deal for a day of digital marketing insight, information and inspiration.

So, why $199?  (and a handful of $49 student tickets)

For one, we wanted to make meshmarketing accessible to anyone interested in jump-starting their digital marketing game.

Two, we want to have a full house on November 7 at the Toronto Reference Library to create an event with energy, excitement and, as important, lots of opportunities to network, meet new people and establish new connections.

Three, we have embraced a new model for meshmarketing that makes the numbers work, particularly if we can get some help from sponsors.

Four, there is a need for a digital marketing conference with great content/speakers that focuses on delivering tactical and actionable insight.

Let’s be honest, the days of talking about content marketing, digital optimization, social media and inbound marketing at a high level are over because they’re a fact of life.

What’s more important is giving people counsel, advice and ideas about how to make their digital marketing efforts more productive, efficient, successful and profitable.

In other words, meshmarketing involves less talk, and more walk.

Here’s another way to look at $199:

If you attend one session that really makes an impact or gives you a great idea, it’s instant ROI.

If you meet a new connection or establish a new business relationships, that’s instant ROI.

The reality is there are lots of digital conferences battling for your dollars but given our speakers, the content and focus on encouraging networking (and mesh-ing), you’re going to get great bang for buck.

Looking to buy a ticket now? Here’s where to do it. By the way, the $199 pre-registration price lasts until Oct. 30.

A 360° View of meshmarketing

We’re really excited about meshmarketing, which is happening on Nov. 7 at the Toronto Reference Library.

We’ve got great speakers such as Jay Baer, Peep Laja, Danny Brown and Amrita Chandra. We have a fascinating case study involving Oreos (and likely a lot of Oreos as snacks).

And we’ve programming focused on delivering actionable insight so you change change or improve your digital marketing efforts when you go back to the office.

There’s so much we want to share about meshmarketing so we created a cool “magazine” powered by LookBook. To use it, click on the image below, and then select the content that you find interesting.

meshmarketing Q&A: Sam Fiorella

sam fiorellaSam Fiorella and Danny Brown, who co-wrote Influence Marketing will be doing a session at meshmarketing about influencer marketing, a topic that many brands are seriously exploring to drive their digital marketing efforts.

Here’s a mini-Q&A with Sam about his thoughts on the social media landscape:

When it comes to social media, what strikes you as the most interesting or exciting trends or developments?

Funny enough, it’s the anti-social movement. I’ve noticed more people are taking “digital vacations” and culling their friend lists because social media has created a conflicting world. We’re connected to more people, yet don’t have more meaningful relationships. We’re encouraged (and rewarded) to connect with more and more people, yet we don’t have the time to manage the expectations that come along with that. There’s so much noise created in our digital world today that we have to work too hard to find real value in the cacophony of content that is being created. Similarly, businesses are struggling with Big Data – they’re collecting more and more consumer data, brand “Likes,” and earned media but they can’t clearly connect that engagement to customer life time value.

The pendulum is swinging back and it seems that individuals and businesses alike are seeking more meaning from smaller niche communities or by compartmentalizing their audience. This will have a big effect on technology from a GUI perspective as well as a programming and analytics one.

What’s your take on how social media, content marketing and inbound marketing are converging or intersecting?

They’ve always been one, yet we’re just starting to understand how they work together. Social media is not a different from of marketing, it’s just another channel. Content marketing is not another form of marketing, it’s just another technique. In fact, I could argue there’s no such thing as “content marketing;” before social media (social networks, blogs, etc.), content marketing was just marketing.  I’ve heard this claim from early adopters for a while but it seems the mainstream is now becoming aware. My clients are more comfortable with marketing solutions when these tactics are presented as just that: tactics within an integrated marketing plan.

Brands are fascinated with influencers. How do they get started in the right way? (A loaded, softball question!)

This requires an entire book to spell out properly. Oh, wait, there is such a book!  If I had to provide an elevator pitch, I would say brand managers must better interface with sales and customer service teams (and software) to identify how customer make purchase decision, what  factors affect how they make decisions, and who are they speaking with at the point a decision is made.  In short, start with the customer and link their decision making to your business’s product or service. Understand the purchase life cycle of your customers and orient your influence marketing strategies around that. A recommendation or product offer is received and interpreted differently by a prospect who has never heard about your business than it is by someone who is already considering a purchase. Similarly, someone who is in the market for a specific product will react differently to a recommendation than someone who has no need.

I’d warn brands away from quick-start/short-cut solutions like using social influence scoring platforms to identify who is deemed influential. Instead, I’d recommend focusing on the factors that affect how their customers make purchase decisions and build communication paths between those customers, at each stage of the life cycle, to those who can sway those decisions in your favour.

What are the new and favourite digital services in your toolbox?

I have a long list of new products that I want to try out but currently I’m playing with new influence marketing platforms like Little Bird, Traackr, Appinions, and InNetwork that are applying new methodologies to the industry.  Little Bird does not factor social conversations into their determination of who is – and isn’t – influential on specific topics. Appinions uses natural language processing against a database of online and offline content  to understand who creates the opinions that drive action in specific industries. InNetwork is a fantastic tool that uses both software and “elbow grease” of its analysts to understand the makeup of a blogger’s audience.  Each is pushing the industry forward and I’m fascinated by each.