On this week’s Hacks and Flacks, we discuss the concept of a brand story. First, we ask March EVP Jodi Petrie why it’s important for a brand to take the time to define its story. Then, we talk to March co-founders Martin Jones and Cheryl Gale about the recent process our agency went through to re-imagine our own brand, with lessons for companies like yours.
May 25 is when it all changes. If that date isn’t circled on your calendar a little over two weeks from now, it should be, because that’s when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will kick into effect. As my colleague Alex Jafarzadeh recently wrote, it’s imperative to communicate honestly with stakeholders about the change. But, marketers must also look inwardly to adapt their processes and adjust to their new reality.
Marketers must not only ensure that all of their systems used internally to capture and handle customer and lead data are compliant, they also need to worry about third-party providers. Your website, landing pages, forms, etc. will all potentially need to be updated. However, if, for example, you work with a publisher on a lead gen program, you will now need to ensure that they too are compliant with GDPR, as the rules apply to both owned lead sources and external vendors acting on behalf of your organization.
The costs of non-compliance are crushing for any organization that sells to customers in the European Union, particularly for smaller businesses, with fines up to €20 million or 4 percent of global revenues – whichever is greater.
Is GDPR detrimental to lead gen?
With the potentially disastrous consequences of non-compliance and the extra regulations imposed on the methods used to capture and communicate with leads, does this mean that your lead gen efforts will suffer?
For far too many businesses, the answer to that question may be yes because many organizations have been careless with customer data. However, if your organization already has a thoughtful data management process in place and it has implemented an inbound, audience-centric approach to lead generation and nurturing, GDPR may only result in minor changes for you.
Marketers have been playing fast and loose with leads for too long. As one example, email volume increased by 17 percent last year and that shows no signs of stopping. Just because a lead signed up to download one specific piece of content doesn’t mean that they want to receive daily email updates that may not be relevant to them, or that it’s an open invitation for your sales team to relentlessly hound them. While that should have been obvious all along, GDPR will help further ensure that that customer information isn’t abused.
How to adapt
First, ensure that you have permission for all marketing activities. You can’t assume that people who request to receive a promotional piece of content, such as a gated lead gen asset, want to be signed up for other communications. You must now have them opt-in (and preferably double opt-in) to every type of communication that they want to receive. Data permission must be made a priority. There’s an upside beyond GDPR compliance, too, as this also enables you to more deeply segment customers or prospects by their interests.
Second, you must ensure that you’re not collecting any more data than is necessary, because GDPR requires a legally justifiable reason to collect personal data. For most B2B brands, this won’t entail any major adjustments, but it’s worth considering whether anything other than a lead’s name and email is necessary in many cases to receive content. A smart demand gen program should be set up to progressively capture more information about a lead as their interest grows, and GDPR will force marketers to innovate on that approach by offering real value in exchange for personal data.
Lastly, as the right to be forgotten has entered the mainstream, it is no longer advisable to keep data in perpetuity. It is our responsibility as marketers to ensure that any time someone asks to access or remove their data from a database, that they can do so promptly. Regular cleansing should take place to eliminate leads that haven’t engaged with a company in a while to focus marketing efforts on leads that have the most potential. By keeping up-to-date lists and allowing leads to cleanse themselves or revise their information, it will not only save marketers time, it will shift the focus toward the best opportunities.
Be the change
GDPR may or may not require a major shift in your organization, but it’s going to force marketing innovation to rapidly accelerate. Creating interest in your company via PR activities and developing creative content to captivate your audience will become even more important. Promoting the fruits of those activities on social and using those channels to engage directly with target audiences will be critical to gain influence. Over time, new tactics will emerge that will rebuild trust between organizations and individuals, revolving around personalization, branding and influencer engagement.
Your audience’s attention is worth its weight in gold and it has been long overdue for the scales to tip in their favor.
Last month was women’s history month – a time to learn about the great accomplishments and contributions women have made to our nation, and to celebrate how far we’ve come. Yet, it often feels like we still have so far to go – especially in the way brands market to “the fairer sex.”
The recent “Lady Doritos”campaign shows another poor attempt to market to women with quieter, cleaner chips. But, people weren’t having it.
So many took to social media to voice their disdain for the campaign, that it was the second highest trending topic in the U.S.
After the swift backlash though, Doritos clarified that they will not be creating such a product. Adweek reported:
In response to a request for comment, a PepsiCo representative told Adweek that “the reporting on a specific Doritos product for female consumers is inaccurate,” despite Nooyi’s statement indicating otherwise.
“We already have Doritos for women—they’re called Doritos, and they’re enjoyed by millions of people every day,” the spokesperson added. “At the same time, we know needs and preferences continue to evolve, and we’re always looking for new ways to engage and delight our consumers.”
Advice to Brands
You’d have thought these brands would’ve learned something from the 2012 Bic campaign called “Bic for her,” or other failed attempts. But, as this Washington Post article notes, “companies haven’t moved away from the idea that it’s smart to pander to women by changing the look and feel of a product, rather than improving its essential function.”
The author goes on to say that, to fix this, businesses need to hire more women at every level. “If we want companies to make products women really want, women should be well-represented in creative and product decision-making — not only financial or management choices.”
And, then, maybe… just maybe… we could better catch ideas like Jane Walker, Lady Doritos and Bic for Her before they hit consumers.
This article was first published on Muck Rack here.
Inbound 2017, the annual marketing conference here in Boston, has officially wrapped up. March sent several team members to the show, including Content Manager Andrew Grzywacz, who wrote a blog post (http://bit.ly/2xLoEN0) summarizing his top content takeaways from the show.
Now Andrew’s on Hacks and Flacks to share more thoughts from the event, including the science behind how stories stick in the human mind, tips on sourcing content ideas from Reddit, and insight into the future of podcasting.
Not only do we have to keep up with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter these days, but Snapchat is rapidly making its way to the top in the race for social media users.
As a 20-something, I fall right into the 18-32 year old age range that makes up 32 percent of the platform’s users, according to a survey done back in August. Snapchat offers the ability to send photos and videos – but, unlike similar apps, it also includes a unique feature where content disappears within seconds of being sent. As the sender, you choose how many seconds the content stays active for before vanishing.
Like many others, I often find myself sending the occasional “snap” to my friends (usually a shameless selfie) or posting something I find interesting to “My Story,” a feature that allows content to be replayed for up to 24 hours. We all have that one friend that always has the 120-second snap story. Snapchat has made it very easy and enjoyable to share a story with others, through your own custom combination of text, geotags, emojis and filters.
With 100 million active users, and growing daily, Snapchat also offers a promising marketing platform for businesses. With other social media channels, you would have to update, tweet or post at strategic times in order to give your content the maximum possible impact with your audience. But, with Snapchat, your content can be seen at the convenience of the viewer.
How are businesses using Snapchat? For one, they can use the platform to help put a familiar face on the company that their audience can identify. Take BuzzFeed, for example. You can follow them on Snapchat to see the faces of the employees behind these stories or just to see shirtless pictures of Zac Efron.
Other brands give followers behind-the-scenes access to foster a deeper connection. Like many Snapchat users, I love to follow celebrities, and some are willing to provide glimpses of their private lives. Did anyone else feel like they were celebrating Kylie Jenner’s 18th birthday with her while watching her snap story?!
Other businesses simply use the platform as a promotional tool. For example, for Kobe Bryant’s final road game against the rival Boston Celtics, the NBA used Snapchat to let fans follow his progress throughout the day. Fans could watch as Bryant arrived at TD Garden and conducted pre-game interviews. The NBA even sent snaps throughout the game, literally giving fans a courtside seat to history.
More than likely your favorite publications, brands or celebrities are already on Snapchat – since its release in 2011, the platform has grown tremendously, with more than 400 million snaps sent a day. All the while, Snapchat has evolved beyond its basic features to include stories, chat, video messaging and Discovery, which allows viewers to check out recent news from publications like CNN, Cosmopolitan, ESPN and others.
Ultimately, Snapchat’s growing popularity and potential to improve customer interactions is forcing many brands to re-think their social media strategy. If it’s not already, Snapchat may soon be an important part of every business’s social media regimen.