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Are You Utilizing Expert Content?

3 October 2014 by

A new study by Nielsen titled The Role of the Consumer in the Decision Making Process confirms what the Public Relations profession has known for years, “content written by credible experts performed best overall” in strongly influencing purchase.

“Expert content was the only content type to exhibit a strong lift in all 3 areas of the purchase cycle.”

The study found that the third-party content was important as consumers trusted third-party content much more than a product’s branded website and paid product reviews.

“Consumers perceived expert content to be 10% and 8% more informative than both user content and branded content respectively.”

The net is “the impact of expert content on consumer decision making demonstrates the important role that objective and credible information from trusted sources play in the purchase process.”

This is one of the many reasons why media relations continues to be a key PR and marketing strategy even in today’s fragmented media and social media environment.

Check out the Research Brief from the Center for Media Reach titled “Expert Content Is Best Influencer in Purchase Funnel” [http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/235030/expert-content-is-best-influencer-in-purchase-funn.html] to read more about this study.

New iText Logo

25 September 2014 by

Logos are one of the most recognizable elements of any brand. So when our client, iText, today launched their newly designed logo, we couldn’t help but be excited! Below is a brief snippet from the blog post.

 

Big day today at iText! Our new logo is ready for the world to see! We thank to all our amazing users and staff who were part of this process, and our amazing agency Arketi Group who helped make this happen. We believe that our new logo reflects our belief in open source, providing a future-proof solution with features, support and reliability.

 

ITSC Logo Horizontal

 

 

Check out iText’s new logo and full blog post at: http://itextpdf.com/itext-new-logo.

 

 

Don’t Talk About It, Be About It – Lessons from the NFL

10 September 2014 by

Growing up, many of us often heard the old adage “actions speak louder than words.” And, as much as public relations professionals strive to build images and change behaviors with our strategies, perfectly planned events and clever copy, sometimes the best p.r. is action.

Case in point is the Baltimore Raven’s recent decision to cut one of its players after a disturbing video surfaced of the star running back punching his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City casino elevator.

The video didn’t leave much to question and also left the team without any possible way to spin the incident into something other than it was – a case of domestic violence that left the player’s fiancée, (now wife), unconscious on the elevator floor.

Whether you’re a football fanatic or someone who only watches the Super Bowl for the commercials, you’re probably well aware of the growing popularity of the sport in the U.S. and abroad. Beginning in the 2007 season, the NFL has hosted games outside of the U.S.

And, according to Forbes, the average NFL team is currently valued at more than $1.4 billion. That makes the NFL and its teams very much a business – a business that like any other must take actions to protect its reputation.

Talking points have their place in the NFL. And, there are teams and players who are doing wonderful things in the communities in which they play and live. Those deeds should be promoted.

But, when something as egregious as that infamous video comes to light, there’s no hiding behind a press release. The only course of action is immediate and swift action. Or in other words, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

B2B Tech Marketing Lessons from the ALS Ice Bucket Campaign

27 August 2014 by

No one can deny the great success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign. Its success has even caught its creator, Pat Quinn, off guard. He states, “I couldn’t imagine it would be like this. It’s been unbelievable.” He’s right – it is now a worldwide social phenomenon.

Marketers and agencies across the globe are being asked by their bosses and clients, “Why can’t you do a campaign like that for us?” Of course, it is easy to know when a viral (or guerilla) campaign is actually going to work after the fact. But, it is quite difficult to know ahead of time whether something is going to take off, particularly when it depends on user participation to not only succeed, but to fuel the flame of it going viral.

We are often asked if these types of campaigns have any lessons for B2B technology marketers, who tend to target “serious” business people within a corporate setting. Am I really going to get a CFO to do this type of campaign in a work setting, in front of peers, or by challenging peers?

 

Ice Bucket Challenge

Applicable to B2B Marketing?

 

It is much harder of course to execute a campaign like this within a B2B setting, because people are paid to do a job, not to participate in selfies and promote themselves in the process. Nevertheless, there are some serious lessons here from the ALS Ice Bucket campaign which should not be ignored.

  • First, when planning a campaign, particularly if it is viral, plan ahead on what you are going to do to get it started and make sure the flame continues. PR and corporate communications can play a vital role in supporting the initial efforts at having the campaign build some initial steam. You cannot necessarily create the snowball effect, but you can give the snowball a push at the beginning. Have a backup plan for how to get the campaign reinvigorated if it does not takeoff as initially planned.
  • Second, remember that even in a corporate setting, everyone loves a challenge, a contest, or a chance at winning something. Ice Bucket challenge works because it puts people on the spot to do the right thing. They win simply by participating and getting to challenge another. The “I dare you” part of this campaign is what makes it a must do for the next person.
  • Third, people are more likely to accept a challenge or incentive if it benefits others more than themselves. This seems counter-intuitive, but we have often found that a person is more happy to have $25 (or $50) given to their favorite charity than to receive it for themselves when they are asked to do something such as completing a survey. This is part of the ALS campaign genius – the end result is that it is being done for a charity not for oneself. People who participate can feel good about themselves.

In sum, what does this mean for B2B technology? Remember, you cannot control the outcome of a viral campaign, but you can try make it fun to increase chances of it taking off.

Tie it to something the individual within a company cares about. Challenge them to post themselves using your product in a selfie, but incent them to do so. Even better, ensure the incentive is for a charity they care about.

Keep it professional, but let customers run the show. Connect them to prospects through the campaign. It may not generate the notoriety of the recent Ice Bucket Challenge, but it may help put some new prospects in your pipeline and some new revenue towards your bottom line.

Technology in Georgia Leads the Way

26 August 2014 by

A few Arketians attended the PRSA Tech SIG event last week where TAG President Tino Mantella shared insights into the state of Georgia’s technology industry. Below are a few takeaways that we hope you can take pride in and share among the tech community!

AG president, shares insights on Georgia technology industry

Tino Mantella, TAG president, shares insights into the state of Georgia’s technology industry at the PRSA Tech SIG event.

 

  • Georgia’s technology companies continue to generate more jobs at a higher rate than the national average
  • Georgia leads the nation in six main areas: health IT, financial technology, marketing automation, logistics, mission critical (data centers) and entertainment marketing
  • Augusta is currently one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the nation
  • Fun fact: 70 – 80 percent of payment processes in the US flow through GA (making the fin tech sector HUGE)
  • STEM occupations are predicted to increase in Georgia by more than 22,000 during the current decade

For more tech insights, check out the complete 2014 State of the Industry Technology in Georgia Report at http://tagstateoftheindustry.com/2014/.

The Integral Role of PR for Social Change

23 July 2014 by

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a PRSA and BPRS luncheon at the newly opened Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta. There, Doug Shipman, the Center’s CEO and executive director, and Alexis Scott, the Center’s vice president of member relations, spoke to local PR professionals about the role of communications in the Civil Rights Movement and how communications strategies – including social media – lend a voice to human rights movements across the world today.

While Shipman and Scott emphasized a number of great points (of PR for social change) throughout the luncheon, three in particular stood out:Center for Civil and Human Rights

  1. Know your target – Many communications professionals make the mistake of trying to reach everyone with their messages, when in reality, only a select few people are needed to actually make a difference. Make sure you truly understand your target market before disseminating your key messages.
  1. Edit, edit, edit – Did you know that for every speech Dr. Martin Luther King gave, he wrote up to eight drafts beforehand? (You can actually view his many drafts in the Center for Civil and Human Rights!) Though Dr. King wasn’t born a remarkable public speaker, he used the art of editing to perfect his speeches and effectively touch millions.
  1. Stay social – Even though the Civil Rights Movement took place long before the days of Facebook, broadcast media – particularly radio – played a huge role in uniting activists. Since then, Facebook and Twitter have strengthened the power of digital activism, making social media an even more valuable tool for communications professionals today.

 

Can you think of any other communications strategies used during the Civil Rights Movement? How about in human rights movements across the world today? If so, please share them with us!

 

Word Crimes With “Weird Al” Yankovic

17 July 2014 by

As a child of the 80s “Weird Al” Yankovic resonates with me…and as a PR pro that has to write all day, so does his newest video –  Word Crimes!

Check it out:

 

Some of our pet peeves include:

  • “over” vs. “more than” - Over can be a preposition or an adverb. More than means “in excess of” when followed by a number or an adverb of quantity.
  • “uninterested vs. disinterested” – These are not synonyms. Uninterested means “not interested.” Disinterested means “impartial.”
  • “affect” vs. “effect” – Affect is a verb and means to influence something. Effect is commonly used as a noun meaning the result or impact of something, an outcome.

 

Are there any word crimes or grammar pet peeves you can’t stand? If so, let us know!

 

5 Must-Haves for a Buyer-Centric B2B Website

1 July 2014 by

We all know that your company’s website is the first place prospects go to learn a little bit more about you. However, the question remains: Is your website making the impact you want?

It isn’t? No worries, because Arketi’s Jim Densmore is here to share five must-haves for every buyer-centric B2B website!

Tip #1: Develop fresh and relevant content

Video Transcript: 

Your company’s website is the first place anyone, and most everyone, goes to understand who you are and what you do. To ensure your website is making an impact with visitors, the following are the top five must-haves for a buyer-centric B2B website.

First, develop fresh and relevant content. This will boost your search performance, and keep prospects engaged and moving through the sales cycle.

Second, use a content management system. This will empower your marketing team to easily make updates and keep the site fresh.

Third, install analytics and pick five metrics to regularly monitor. Data only has value if you actually look at the numbers.

Fourth, integrate your site with a marketing automation system to track prospects. You can nurture their interest in your product and close more business.

Fifth, include a corporate blog. A blog post usually gets read more than most static content pages. They highlight your company’s expertise, and Google loves frequently updated blogs.

And there you have it – five must-haves for a buyer-centric website. Try incorporating some, or all, of these tips to engage more prospects, encourage them to identify themselves, and foster relationships – which will ultimately lead to more sales.

Weekly B2B News Round-Up for June 23, 2014

27 June 2014 by

Here are the top 10 business-to-business PR and marketing articles from this week. Hope you enjoy!

The State of Marketing and PR in 2014: Myth Versus Reality
Ad Age
Vocus worked with Virginia-based Market Connections, Inc., an independent research firm, to understand how social and digital media are changing marketing and PR. We discovered that some commonly held beliefs about content marketing and SEO adoption are more myth than reality. That being said, the results showed us that progressive strides are being made in the two industries.

The Dying Art Of Leaving A Voicemail
Business Insider
The New York Times took a look at the state of the voicemail in this story by Teddy Wayne. To that all-important demographic known as “the millennial”, the voicemail is antiquated at best and quickly approaching obsolescence. Texting is on the rise, according to a Pew report, with teens sending and receiving a median of 60 messages per day in 2011, up from 50 per day in 2009. And a text can effectively serve the same purpose as a voicemail — it’s a communiqué for the recipient to catch at his or her convenience.

Here’s one way to fix boring meetings
Washington Post
Stand-up desks are all the rage in many workplaces. Maybe the next trend should be stand-up meetings. A new study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that when people stand during meetings, they appeared more excited by their work, acted less territorial about their ideas, and interacted better as a team. [Check out how a few team members at Arketi have set up standing work stations!]

Stand-up desks at Arketi

Jim Densmore, Amy Leefe and Sami Jajeh show us their setup of stand-up desks.

 

10 reasons people don’t care about your content
Ragan.com
Most brands are full of content creators. Content creation was made easier thanks to the computers in our pockets connected to incredible networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. This means people want to start a blog or a Facebook page—they’ve seen the power of these channels and they want to “spread the word.”

Edelman Study Finds Consumers Want Entertainment “Selfie-Style”—Immediate, Engaging and Socially Driven Content Are Fundamental to Today’s Experience
Daily Dog
Edelman recently released the results from its eighth annual study on how and why people consume and share entertainment. The study’s findings for the U.S., UK and China highlight consumers’ expectations for unprecedented control over their entertainment experience. “This year, we found that consumers want their entertainment ‘selfie-style’—content centered on them, immediately gratifying, engaging and shareable across their social networks,” said Gail Becker, president of strategic partnerships and global integrations at Edelman, in a news release. “Brands that can successfully deliver or enhance compelling entertainment to consumers stand to gain through positive word-of-mouth and association.”

From Mad Men to Math Men
Marketing Insights
Modern day marketing demands right-brain thinking with a left-brain approach
Suits, scotch and cigarettes come to mind when many people think about professionals in the marketing industry. While the 1960s’ depiction of the advertising industry shown in the AMC TV show Mad Men has garnered widespread critical acclaim, when compared to today’s actual marketing landscape, the show no longer represents reality. The role of marketing has truly changed. The creativity and storytelling that is often associated with advertising and marketing are no longer the only skills needed to succeed in the industry—and there’s enough data to prove it. Today’s marketer has many more channels to choose from, access to unprecedented amounts of data, and ultimately, more responsibility across the entire organization.

5 simple tips for visual branding on social media
The Next Web
Over the past few years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have introduced a series of design changes that have increased the ability to personalize the look of of account pages. To help your brand from getting lost in the clutter, it’s important to stand out visually as images, colors and context are some of the first elements your audience will notice. Here are five things you should keep in mind.

Verizon Reminds Parents That Girls Aren’t Just Pretty but ‘Pretty Brilliant’
Ad Week
It’s 2014. We’re in a post-feminist society, right? Ha ha. Nope. That’s why campaigns like “Inspire Her Mind,” from Verizon, in partnership with Makers, are so important.
The initial spot, which had me tearing up more than the supposed cry-fest The Fault in Our Stars, features a young girl in various situations and the subtle cues that push her away from pursuits believed to be for boys. The campaign was born out of research that shows there’s a significant drop-off in women interested in these fields between childhood and adulthood.

Top Tips to Boost Your Mobile Marketing Campaign in 2014 Revealed In New AWeber/60 Second Marketer Study: Report Also Includes Action Plan to Maximize Campaigns
Daily Dog
Global email marketing software company AWeber teamed up with the 60 Second Marketer to survey nearly 200 businesses from around the globe to learn about their mobile marketing habits, objectives, obstacles and plans for the future. The research identified trends and norms in mobile marketing among small, mid-size and large companies.

5 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Over-Stressed
The Edge
One of the things that drew me to work in PR most was the diversity; the diversity of clients, the range of topics you “become an expert” on, the fluidity in your schedule and how no two days are alike. It’s liberating… but it’s also very consuming. Your brain is always running and playing connect-the-dots between your clients and the seemingly unrelated beats desirable journalists want to cover. And although I argue that those right for the field should thrive in this state, sometimes it can be a bit much. [Insert disquieting yearly statistic where PR is ranked as one of the most stressful jobs in the nation.]

Is Your CEO “Totally Committed” to Your Marketing Team?

23 June 2014 by

The annual Ifbyphone State of Marketing Measurement Survey found that CEOs have become increasingly committed to their marketing teams. The 2014 survey measured how often CEOs look for marketing reports, the variety of channels being measured and how marketers are planning to use technology to measure their efforts in the future.

According to the survey, the amount of CEO support of marketing teams is up 8% since 2013 with the majority of respondents stating their CEO is “totally committed” or “significantly committed” to the marketing process.

With increased attention being placed on the marketing team, it’s no surprise that an increase in measurement metrics is being demanded by CEOs. But, what are kind of metrics are CEOs requesting? The ones focused on return on investment and conversions, of course.

While marketing teams may place a priority on brand awareness and reputation, CEOs are after the real meat of marketing goals: the growth of sales revenue, the generation of new customers and the amount of new leads. If marketing professionals want the continued support of their CEOs, they need to produce the information CEOs desire most.

As CEOs realize how huge a role accurate marketing data plays in the growth of their company, they are turning toward advanced marketing automation technology. What does this mean for marketing teams? An increase in marketing tools that allow for easier and faster ways to report marketing information. Hooray!

According to the survey, the most popular results measured using marketing automation technology are:

  • Increase in sales/revenue: 69%
  • Number of new customers: 63%
  • Number of new leads: 58%
  • Increase in website traffic: 53%
  • Conversion rate: 46%
  • Marketing ROI: 45%

As you can see, the metrics attributed to sales growth are being measured the most.

The survey also highlighted the channels marketing teams are taking advantage of to generate high-value leads. The not so shocking finding was that marketers are increasingly turning to mobile platforms to source high-quality sales leads But, less than half of the respondents reported to be using mobile web measurement tools to assess the channels accessed by mobile devices.

So, what could be holding back marketing teams from using advanced tools, like mobile web measurement? Money. According to the survey, marketing teams believe an increased budget would allow them to better measure marketing ROI in the future. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it might be able to buy you the ability to deliver on the measurement your CEO is likely to be demanding.

What about you, do you think your CEO is “totally committed” to your marketing team?  What marketing measurement information does your CEO desire?