Crowdsourcing consumers started in 2007 with getting them in creating selfie videos to asking them to design luxury watches today | Author : Rawpixel.com| Fotolia #88900750

Summary: The Trump administration’s tougher stance on China will surely continue to curtail global trade.
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s letter to shareholders in 2019 blames weaker economies and trade tension for lower revenues.
What it all means for marketers, strategists, and investors.
Read #DrKPI’s 11 trends for 2019 and get the insight story!

Share this blog entry: DrKPI’s 2019 trends: Google, Apple, Facebook, or Amazon?

Creating buzz is of interest to any brand manager I have talked to recently, but it keeps getting harder and harder to get it right. In the recent past, social media was useful to reach certain client groups. But will it still work tomorrow?

Remember Second Life? In Spring 2008, Madagascar and Sweden each raced to open a virtual embassy on the platform. By 2012 Flickr was a popular photo sharing site. Today, Instagram has surpassed it.

BMW and others spent plenty to engage with users on Second Life. And today? The platform still exists, but most large brands have pretty much withdrawn from it. If that isn’t enough to convince you that putting your bet on one or two platforms is risky, Beebo was once a formidable Facebook competitor – and who remembers MySpace?

Our past predictions covered these changes with 78% accuracy.

For 2019, we again address the trends in marketing and business policy as we expect them to unfold and why this matters to investors.

Just click on the hyperlinked points below to read more.

♥ Curious? Join 1,500 other subscribers to this blog’s newsletter and read on!

1. How things were…

One way to get more buzz, in theory, is getting customers involved. In the past, some companies like Starbucks did it on their Facebook page. A popular way to get more likes or comments was giving people free goodies or coupons to get their next cuppa for free.

Long before that became so boring, however, Fast Retailing in Japan invited clients and bloggers to produce their own short videos.

Sounds stale, but in summer 2007 this was innovative and a creative way to get buzz on social media. In particular, it got those target audiences involved – the same people that were supposed to flock to your outlets when the new line of apparel went on sale in your stores.

The company produced a whole series of videos that bloggers were invited to show on their own blogs.

What was innovative was that it produced plenty of content, including videos, photos, text, and so forth. Most important, it was easy for bloggers to embed such fan-produced content along with their own blog posts.

In 2007, shared content and using a press campaign to launch a new line of apparel got attention, but will it suffice 12 years later in 2019? Of course not!

Much has changed since then.

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[embeddoc url=”https://blog.drkpi.com/wp-content/files/Fast-Retailing-Uniqlo-offers-free-uniqlock-blog-parts-in-new-promotion-June-2007.pdf” width=”100%” viewer=”google”]
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Go back in time with UNIQLO new media promotion or view it on Fast Retailing’s webpage, where it is still shown (a very good thing). Or visit the Uniqlo international retailer website – no news is good news?. See also Fast Retailing cuts profit guidance for third time in 2016.

2. Broadcasting was, is, and continues to be… OUT

Private as well as corporate blogs have been with us for some time. But around 2011 many companies started to focus on social networks instead of corporate blogs. Since 2016, fast-growing and large companies seem to have rediscovered public-facing corporate blogs, however:

  • 55% of Inc. 500 – the fastest growing companies in the US – use blogs, the third yearly increase since 2015.
  • 53% of Fortune 500 companies use blogs, an 11% increase since 2017.
53% of Fortune 500 and 55% of Inc. 500 firms in the US have public-facing blogs. Source: Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

53% of Fortune 500 and 55% of Inc. 500 firms in the US have public-facing blogs. Source: Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

While blogs have regained momentum in the US, in Europe several companies and charities have orphaned their blogs (Caritas Zurich), or taken them down completely (e.g., Möbel-Pfister, Oxfam).

The primary reason may be a lack of understanding of how important blog content can be for branding, SEO (search engine optimisation), and getting increasing engagement from your target audience. Some had their budget reallocated or began re-focusing on their press releases.

Other misunderstandings about corporate blogs’ potential for getting your target audience’s attention can be:

  1. Believing your target audience cares about company events or new products, and
  2. thinking high-quality content requires neither time, investigation nor a writer that really understands the topic.

As well, the novelty of commenting on corporate blog sites, especially considering boring content, has long since worn off. As we know at DrKPI, it takes effort to get reader comments – i.e. engagement – for your corporate blogs.

When producing content like videos, for example, just ask these two questions:

  1. Why should your target reader view your content and spend time writing a comment?
  2. Are you answering these comments? If so, are you doing it in the right way? If you get comments, a thoughtful answer of each one is a must to show respect and appreciation for your reader or viewer.

So some people are falling back into behaviour from the lates 1990 and early 2000s: Broadcast and many will listen. Really? I don’t think so!

3. #Crowdsourcing can matter

Crowdsourcing can mean many things. One example is Patek Philippe and Beyer Chronometrie (the oldest watch shop in Switzerland). They invited the latter’s employees to create buzz and attention with customers.

35 submissions from Beyer Chronometrie employees were made in the contest for the best design. One employee’s design was chosen as the winner of this contest.

The winner’s design was then used to produce a luxury Dom-Pendulette of which Patek Philippe only produces a few each year. Unfortunately, whatever else the employee may have received and whether she did her designing during work hours at Beyer Chronometrie is not known.

In this case, Beyer Chronometrie did a write-up in its magazine that is available online. It was also mailed in print form to clients. (Picture taken from the Beyer magazine, Beyond, Nr. 22 / 2016 – page 50 shows the winner of the design contest with the completed Dom-Pendulette.)

Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern and René Beyer had the idea to get Beyer employees to design samples, with the winner used to create a luxury Dom-Pendulette. #Crowdsourcing to create #BrandBuzz (via print media, etc.).

Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern and René Beyer had the idea to get Beyer employees to design samples, with the winner used to create a luxury Dom-Pendulette.
#Crowdsourcing was used to create #BrandBuzz (via print media, etc.).

This is certainly an attractive approach for creating synergies between the manufacturer and the retailer. The latter’s employees may even create brand buzz, if they share their experience on the web.

However, it continues to be ever harder to stand out to your target audience. And even if you do, there’s no guarantee that they’ll spend time with your content.

Incidentally, micro-influencers such as employees or your customers are far more authentic and trustworthy to your target audience than people who sell their services as influencers.

4. The more things change, the more they stay the same

The video shown under point 1 above is just one of many options that companies were and still are using to get their customers involved in campaigns. In 2007, Uniqlo was able to get quite a lot of #brandbuzz for its Fall collection release.

But in 2019 this will not be good enough.

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What we know

a) Seen that, have the t-shirt

Many users are inundated with ads, content, news tickers, and so on. The content must be good enough so people want to share it.
Creating something that sticks in people’s minds is a challenge for any brand or company AND it is getting even tougher.

b) People always want more for less

Some younger consumers may not want to pay to attend an event that is being sponsored by a brand. And even if it is free, they may not be satisfied with what they get.

Incidentally, millennials (born 1981 – 1997) are not that different than the older generation when it comes to consumer habits. BUT they are the first generation since 1950 to be worse off than their parents (see OECD data).

c) Sharing economy grows as market domination is on the rise

Ever more people use AirBnB, Uber and many other services. As these companies try to optimize their tax bill, free-riding by companies avoiding taxes and social insurance contributions is increasing (see also point 8 and 9 below).

While consumers want the best deal from companies shirking their social responsibilities, they fight for secure jobs with lots of fringe benefits and lower gas taxes – France’s Yellow Shirt demonstrators. Oddly enough, consumers seem to be comfortable with these seemingly conflicting standpoints.

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Millennials in OECD countries have less real disposable income than their parents - by DrKPI

Millennials in OECD countries have less real disposable income than their parents – by DrKPI

As the above graphic indicates, real wages and therefore also real disposable income have hardly increased. This means millennials might be strapped for cash in some cities (e.g., New York, Paris or Munich), were apartment prices, public transport, as well as entertainment costs eat up much of the disposable earnings available. In turn, not having a car may be as much an economic decision as an evironmental one.

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TRENDS that we should take into consideration

4. 1990 was about webpage strategy, today a hashtag strategy is a must

In 1990 some early adopters started to add their URLs and email addresses to a business card or company stationary. Today a company needs to use hashtags in content, on social media posts, in blogs, and everywhere else.

Using a hashtag such as#ccTiM for Competence Circle Technology and Innovation Management, or #DrKPI for our own brand is a start. For starters, just using a hashtag in a print ad would suggest your c-suite fails to understand the digital economy and search marketing. Not a good thing – you’ve got some educating to do.

Actress Jane Fonda, the 1980s fitness queen made videos that millions of people purchased and used to stay fit. Nevertheless, she neither had a webpage nor a hashtag strategy.

A very different example is Kayla Itsines. She is neither called an actress nor a fitness trainer, but most experts and media call her an influencer. Nevertheless, she has built a virtual fitness conglomerate with more than 22 million fans, partly using social media. Hashtags are part of her marketing strategy, such as.

  • #DeathbyKayla are selfies posted by her fans after having done a strenuous training session, or
  • #KaylasArmy and #BBG (Bikini Body Guide), which are both about her fans’ training progress and successes.

More info: #MCLago – 2018 Hashtag strategy makes the difference

5. #Crowdsourcing must be carefully managed

We all want the crowd to help us, but morals and ethics must also play a part. For example, it is unhelpful if the public, customers or employees perceive the situation as exploiting one’s employees.

Getting the latter involved is one thing, but making their sharing of content on social media a must threatens the authenticity of your brand, an, in turn, the trust of your customers (see image below).

More info: #helpIlayda crowdfunding campagin: The interview

6. Experiential word-of-mouth marketing is critical to protect brands

Word-of-mouth is helpful for spreading the word about a position at your organisation. Of course, your employer appreciates if you love your brand, spread cheers, and maybe help raise awareness about it on your Instagram account.

But ever more important is that clients that have used or experienced your product, service, etc. talk about their great experience. Even if things go wrong, take care of the problem, learn from your mistakes – and talk / write about it!

Both Jane Fonda and Kayla Itsines are both successful in business. But Kayla uses Word-of-mouth (#WOM) marketing and #crowdsourcing (including hashtags #DeathbyKayla and #BBG) to spread her virtual fitness empire around the globe (see also point 4). She is called an influencer while Jane Fonda was ‘only’ an actress. But what’s the difference?

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Functionality helps improve client's trust in brand, loyalty to brand, and word-of-mouth about the brand - by DrKPI

Functionality helps improve client’s trust in brand, loyalty to brand, and word-of-mouth about the brand – by DrKPI

The above chart shows that building brand strength, trust, awareness, and loyalty can all benefit from word-of-mouth by your customers about how great your product is… such as value for money, innovation, great service. You know the drill.

By the way, just because media houses have rediscovered podcasts does not make this a trend we need to be concerned about. #DrKPI staff did podcasts starting in 2005 until about 2009, when it got a bit boring.

Welcome to the latecomers! And no, your customers or investors will rarely care about your corporate podcasts unless you are Apple’s Steve Cook announcing that you sold less or more than predicted for this quarter…

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What is just around the corner – watch out, beware, and take care

What Google, Apple, Facebook, or Amazon worry about are the things listed below.

7. Walk-out technology: Aldi, Amazon, BP, Shell, Wal-Mart

Will you shop at your favourite neighbourhood store next Christmas or will “Amazon Go” and stores using other walk-out technology get your hard-earned cash (oops cashless shopping)?

Cameras, sensors, and so on will continue to disrupt your shopping experience. Nevertheless, having a short chat with the cashier is still more enjoyable than scanning the products yourself.

Having purchased overpriced processed or pre-cooked / prepared food at Amazon Go or your gas station convenience store does not make me enjoy shopping. Does it do it for you?

8. 2019: #Blockchain will become boring

Many of the projects launched in 2017 are getting close to getting beyond the prototype. Smart contracts are being put in place to take real advantage of the blockchain (a system of distributed ledgers).

More info: Blockchain – protect your assets – what is a blockchain video

9. #GAFAtax: Nothing is free, and free-riding is out

The Google, Apple, Facebook, and Apple (GAFA) tax went into effect in France on January 1, 2019. The UK intends to follow in 2020 after EU-wide efforts stalled. The French government hopes to raise €500 million with GAFA.

France and other EU member states such as Germany want to tax companies according to where their digital users are based.

On a side note, the past few months have seen Apple’s share price take the sort of fall that would usually result in an Apple Watch calling for an ambulance.

10. People have to care about each other before they care about the environment

All of us, except maybe President Trump, are aware that climate change is causing increasingly severe problems with droughts and storms. Nevertheless, unless we care enough about each other, we will be unwilling to do our share to solve the problem.

Therefore, shopping trips to cities like London or New York, or weekend trips to far away places for adrenalin junkies will continue to increase in 2019.

11.  Google might collapse, Amazon could run the world and Apple?

Ever more people block mobile ads (e.g., with your iPhone) and an ever larger group in North America search for products on Amazon first, not Google.  Also, people have trained themselves to ignore online or mobile ads entirely, a phenomenon that is also called “banner blindness.”

2017 Amazon Web Services (AWS) dominated with a 33.8% global market share. Microsoft, Google and IBM together accounted for 30.8%…
In 2019 AWS is surely gonna account for about 63% of Amazon’s profits (growth continues).

Alexa does well and YouTube/Google are trying to get you to subscribe to all types of content including music and podcasts.
In 2019 Apple’s revenue from services like iMusic, iCloud, AppStore will account for about 20%, compared to today’s 15% of its revenues.

What is clear is that searching for new products are ever more happening on Amazon and more and more users are blocking ads. And while Apple is moving from a hardware provider over to become more of a service one, Google’s search for revenues beyond ads continues.

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By the way, regardless of what you do, interesting content is popular – but what is interesting? For instance, US teens care mostly about groups and online forums that have content regarding hobbies such as gaming (41%), humour (40%), pop culture, and sports (both 28%)… position 9 is politics (9%). (Pew Research, Nov. 2018)

5. Have your say – join the conversation

What is your opinion?

  • What important 2019 trends for marketers, strategists, and investors did we forget?
  • Know of other great blog entries on these topics? Provide a URL for our readers in the comments below!
  • When was the last time you shopped for a brand or stayed at a hotel because of your awareness of the brand or positive feelings toward the brand?

Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

The author declares that some of the companies mentioned herein are clients of CyTRAP Labs or subscribers of DrKPI® services.

Thanks for reading. If you liked this one, you should follow me for the next one (or get the RSS feed if you prefer) and learn about another way the market changes.

Developing an expert system: Much work, many challenges, challenging job. | Copyright iStock 912613902

In Brief: Last time we talked about the equipment, responsibilities among the involved, legal aspects and the shooting location.
In the third part of the series there are more important tips with examples on how to make a marketing video successful.

Now we are closing this series with more thoughts on these last 4 points (click and read the answer immediately):

  1. 1. Budget: Something always goes wrong
  2. 2. Where do we launch our video?
  3. 3. Which duration is best for our marketing video?
  4. 4. Epilogue: The actual secret recipe is to plan long-term
  5. 5. What is your opinion?

And there is more you might be interested in:

[su_box title=”How to Prepare Your Marketing Video?” box_color=”#86bac5″ radius=”9″ class=”alignlcenter max-width: 700px”]

Video marketing: 4 tips for creating relevant content 
Video marketing: 4 tips for avoiding trouble
Video marketing: 4 secrets experts won’t tell (you are here)

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Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on successful video marketing, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. Budget: Beware, something always goes wrong

  • Do we have the necessary means to fund the production?
  • Does our calculation comprise every detail and is there a financial buffer (it is almost always needed!)
  • Is there a need for external financing?
  • Where can we find sponsors and how can the compensations look like?

Especially this last point is interesting to all of us. If you can pay your video production yourself, then there is no need for this. But the sooner you get more partners and cooperators on board the better!

This is because you should not stop after producing only one video (for further details see below!). It is beneficial to find sponsors even though there is no need to find external investors in the first place. But in future these can support your projects and furthermore promote your video in their own networks.

Sponsors can not only give money, but provide for catering or a perfect shooting location. In this way working with sponsors means your marketing video can be really good even though it is a low budget production.

Then it’s your turn to give something back to your sponsor. This can be as easy as incorporating the sponsor’s company’s logo into the picture. Or thank him in the end credits.

For our Deutscher Marketing Verband (#DMV) video, we only needed someone who had a white wall we can use as a background

By the way, we had to go there twice. By the time we were there the first time we noticed that Urs’s shirt (white with small, light green dots) was practically indistinguishable from the white background. We could not shoot a floating head…

We had to postpone the shooting. Fortunately, we lost only one week.

Dies ist das YouTube Thumbnail unseres Videos für den Deutschen Marketing Verband (#DMV) zum Thema DSGVO

This is the YouTube Thumbnail for our Deutscher Marketing Verband (#DMV) video.

2. Where do we launch our video?

This is a question we ask ourselves and we work on theoretical solutions even before we start putting something into practice.

  • Which video platform can we use to launch our marketing video? YouTube, Vimeo, something else?
  • Do we have a YouTube channel that matches the corporate design or do we have to create one?
  • Do we have to write blog entries about our video and the production, where we can embed the video? (YES, definitely! We do this every time.)
  • Does our sponsor have a blog? Can we embed our video in one of his blog entries?
  • Do we have social network accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? There we can for example post a short version to generate traffic on our blog site or YouTube channel.

Another question is: How to launch the video.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

If you have a short movie that’s about 10 minutes long, task the cutter to make a trailer or teaser of about half a minute. This will be posted on all social media channels before we launch the actual video.[/su_note]

Maybe there is the option to show your marketing video on local TV channels or in the cinema in the surrounding area. Obviously, this depends largely on our target audience as well.

3. Which duration is best for our marketing video?

In the first 15 seconds of your movie the viewer chooses if he wants to watch more of it or not. This means, the first few seconds have to be as interesting and eye-catching as possible.

Turned out – after many projects – our DrKPI camera team spends most of the shooting time with these first seconds. It’s definitely worth it, to be a perfectionist when it comes to the introduction.

The rest will fall into place: If you are going to talk about a to of complex information, you have to ensure the talking speed is appropriate for your target audience to understand. Do not tell too much in too little time. But make it as short as possible, so it will not become boring half way through.

Duration time largely depends on your budget as well. For example, 1 minute of video needs 1-2 hours of basic cutting. (Consequently, more complicated editing like animations needs more time.)

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

In general we can say: The video has to be as short as possible, as long as necessary.[/su_note]

4. Epilogue: The actual secret recipe is to plan long-term

If we are going to produce only one video alone, it has to become something magically perfect to be a success just like that. Videos get more attention if they appear in as a series, therefore we have make new videos on a constant bias.

That is why we ask ourselves: Is there a potential for continuation of our idea, our project? Do we have other similar ideas with the same style so that our videos will be recognized?

If the answer is no, you should consider making another movie.

Another fact is, that videos will be outdated after a while. Sometimes because of the content, sometimes because there are so much more new videos with the same content.

This is not very surprising when we consider that every minute there about 400 hours of video material are uploaded to YouTube. To make it even more stunning: Every day there are 576.000 new hours of moving pictures on this video platform alone!

What we learn is simple.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

Video content has to be renewed on a regular bias, because one video alone is never enough. [/su_note]

A video will at some point become less and less interesting for the viewers. Even though the content might still be up-to-date after months or years.

It depends mostly on the industry and the nature of the video contents, but there is a tendency that in about 2 to 8 weeks there are no more new views. Of course, you can post the video again and again and stretch this period. But, at some point, everyone who wanted to has watched it and will not watch it ten times more.

So think about the continuation, think about your first video as the beginning of a long-term project. This is what we always suggest our clients to do.

What is the secret behind videos gone viral?

What is the secret behind videos gone viral?

Maybe you are lucky: You succeeded in making your first marketing video a hit. And you gained a lot of new costumers.

But will these costumers be loyal? Especially, if the concurrence is uploading new videos with even more innovation in the same field every month. This is problematic…

5. What is your opinion?

  • Do you want to make a marketing video, but you are still looking for a good idea or do you need help with the execution of your project?
  • Do you have experience in video marketing? What would you improve next time?
  • You have already succeeded in making a marketing video for your company? Show us your project with a link in the comment section below and tell us how you made it.
  • Or are you planning to make a little movie for your company, for an event or produce a short video for some of your blog entries? Tell us about it in the comments. We answer as quickly as possible.

We are glad to get to know your project and wait for your comment.

 

Making a movie for your blog: the best social media marketing strategy, youtube video marketing

In Brief: In the first blog entry of this series about Marketing Videos we talked about: Why a movie? Plus, thoughts about our target audience, our goal, and what is the best content.
The second part of our series covers more production tricks and examples.

How can you avoid common problems in video shoots and preparing for them?

We can provide details, because our own past experiences were a process of trail and error. To reflect on our projects allows us to optimise our working process in the future. Learning never ends and we are motivated.

This time we came up with a variety of answers to these five questions (click and read the answer immediately):

  1. 1. Which equipment do we need?
  2. 2. Who is involved and who is responsible for what?
  3. 3. What are the legalities?
  4. 4. What is the best location?
  5. 5. What is your opinion?

For more information read the following articles:

[su_box title=”How to Prepare Your Marketing Video?” box_color=”#86bac5″ radius=”9″ class=”alignlcenter max-width: 700px”]

Video marketing: 4 tips for creating relevant content
Video marketing: 4 tips to avoid trouble (you are here)
Video marketing: 4 secrets experts won’t share

[/su_box]

Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on successful video marketing, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. Which equipment do we need?

The technology

Everyone would probably list the same item first: a camera. But keep in mind, lighting and sound are equally important. These two components are almost always underestimated, especially by beginners.

I would say, if you provide for professional lighting and sound you don’t even need to have a big professional movie camera. A good video nowadays can easily be shot with your iPhone. The image quality is more than sufficient. That is, under certain circumstances (outdoor shooting on a bright and sunny day).

However, without a high-quality microphone, your marketing video will seem amateurish no matter how good the image quality is. Synchronisation in a recording studio is possible but requires a lot more technical know-how and an experienced voice behind the mic.

If your shoot takes place indoors, you can almost never expect the natural light (from the windows) or the installed lighting in the room (usually only from above – another disadvantage) to be enough.

If you want to guarantee a professional-looking outcome, consider good-quality spotlights a must for every shoot.

And, to be honest, we from DrKPI do not make the marketing videos with our iPhones. We use camera-like camcorders like the P2HD solutions offered by Panasonic. Of course, you need a lot of accessories as well: memory cards and devices for transfer data compatibility, the tripod, and so on…

Without sufficient know-how in camera technology, you might be lost. And the same goes for the cutting. The Windows Movie Maker cannot compete with a professional video editing software like Final Cut Pro X. But this program calls for an expert, too.

In short, everything calls for one thing – and that is professionalism.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

A highly authentic marketing video can be shot with an iPhone and some headlights.
Start collecting short videos (pictures only) from products that are made, hands that work on something, a walk through your company (for stabilization consider using an Osmo that fits your Smartphone), etc.
Film everything that comes to your mind.
Then contact an expert and discuss the value of your material and what can be done with your clips.[/su_note]

More equipment needed

If you work with a production team, you can leave these questions to the experts. That gives you time to think about other things you need, such as:

  • props,
  • clothes (also known as costumes), and
  • catering.

For LomMedical (more information here), we made a video about how they integrated the smart retractable syringe for single use.

By the way, this is one of our first videos. It illustrates, what can happen, if you do not have the opportunity to test the location prior to the actual shoot. Therefore, we had no time to conduct light and sound tests.

It turned out that the long and narrow conference room was poorly lit, with windows at only one end. Even with the three spotlights on (at the best positions we could manage) the lighting for this project was not the best…

What clothes should our speaker or actors wear? The director and camera operator (responsible for visuals) can help you. Start with thinking about the Corporate Design first. This should form part of any marketing video.

And then, if your project will take a lot of time, you should provide for your team. Prepare some food and drinks. Or, at least, inform them that there will be no lunch at the set, but there is a restaurant and a supermarket nearby.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

Show your process on Facebook, Instagram and other platforms!
Take pictures from behind the scenes (Smartphones are perfect for a cool little making-of).
But keep in mind, everything that’s in the room – cups, plates, bottles, food, notebooks, pens – will become props. It’s worth thinking about how these things look on moving (and unmoving) digital film, and how they will be perceived.[/su_note]

2. Who is involved and who is responsible for what?

Participants can be divided into two groups:

  1. those working in front of the camera, and
  2. those working behind the camera.

Choose the face on screen: should it be an influencer, CEO or an employee “like you and me”? A poor choice can ruin the whole project.

All persons involved are present at the shoot (left to right): Peter Johann (CEO, Lumendi Ltd.); Corina Rieflin (Investor Relations, Lumendi Ltd.); Patrizia Sinistra (camera operator and editor, DrKPI); Urs E. Gattiker (producer and director, DrKPI).

The next question is, who is responsible for what? Expertise is needed in every area. That is why it’s almost impossible to make a movie on your own.

For instance, the head of a company can instruct a manager to take on the organisational tasks of a producer, but they will not necessarily have the technical know-how to operate the camera and lights, or the eye to arrange a scene.

It would be frustrating to realise that the material just does not look good once you’re in the editing room. Or an editor from a contracted company tells you, there’s nothing to be done with material this bad.

And you will still have the production costs to deal with.

It’s helpful to include everyone from the beginning:

  • actors, speakers, extras – everyone who is expected to be in front of the camera,
  • producer,
  • director,
  • camera operator,
  • lighting and sound experts,
  • someone responsible for legal issues
  • financial officer,
  • editor, and
  • the marketing people.

There has to be an active exchange of important information and the communication must be totally reliable to avoid misunderstandings.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

Include everyone from the beginning before taking any step in any direction. (Sometimes you will not need everyone, but it is good to have someone for everything – just in case.)[/su_note]

3. What are the legalities?

Do we need consents, contracts, insurance?

For everyone’s sake, any agreements should be done in writing. Especially when it comes to personal rights there should be signed consent forms. Prepare the paperwork with your legal expert and collect the signatures.

That goes not only for your actors or anyone else on camera, but also for anyone in the background, who may not want to be filmed. This is of particular importance if your shoot takes place outdoors. For shooting in public, you almost always need to obtain a permit. For privately-owned places, you might need permission to access the facilities.

Ensure that you have insurance to cover the work you’re doing – just in case. It would be terrible if you suddenly could not publish your marketing video because you unwittingly infringed on someone’s personal rights…

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

Start the paperwork by making a list of every consent you will probably need.[/su_note]

4. What is the best location

You have an idea that suits your marketing video? A location with the perfect atmosphere or one that is able to reflect your company’s philosophy? Be sure to do light and sound tests before the shoot.

If necessary, you may need to increase your equipment, e.g. more spotlights, a wind-attenuating cover for the microphone, etc. Sometimes you need to reconsider your choice in order to prevent budget overruns.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan ahead. There should be an alternative date for the shoot. The publication can be delayed by weeks or months if you start organising a new shoot date too late.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip

Be specific. The location has to be perfect.[/su_note]

5. What is your opinion?

Have these tips helped you so far? Feel free to leave a comment below. Or proceed with the third part of this series (coming soon) to get more answers to important questions regarding the preparation of your successful marketing video.

During production we often experience sudden insights we want to share with you as our secret tips in filmmaking. We hope to support you in optimising your own marketing video production.

  • Do you have experience in video marketing? What would you improve next time?
  • What interesting insights do you want to share? Tell us about your “Eureka!” moment.
  • Are you planning to make a little movie for your company, for an event or produce a short video for some of your blog entries? Tell us about it in the comments. We answer as quickly as possible.

In brief: This is the first of three blog entries about marketing videos.
In this post, we show you what it takes to create a successful video.
Careful preparation is the first and biggest step.

Keep reading to see a full post and how you can implement these tips for your next video.

Almost five billion videos are watched every single day on YouTube alone.

Another interesting fact about video marketing ROI (return on investment) is that 92 percent of mobile video consumers share content with others.

We are convinced that good preparation is half the job. Conversely, a lot of time and money will be lost if we realise during production or – even worse during post-production – that our project was not thought through properly…

That is why we made this series of twelve questions with tips, tricks and examples you should know before you dive head-first into shooting.

Below are four questions that need to be answered carefully during the preparation phase. Please address these issues before you do the video shoot (click to get straight to the answer):

  1. 1. Why a video?
  2. 2. Who is our target audience?
  3. 3. What is our goal?
  4. 4. What will the content be?
  5. 5. What is your opinion?

For more information, read the following articles:

[su_box title=”How to Prepare Your Marketing Video” box_color=”#86bac5″ radius=”9″ class=”aligncenter max-width: 700px”]

Video marketing: 4 tips for relevant content (you are here)
Video marketing: 4 tips to avoid trouble
Video marketing: 4 secrets experts won’t share

[/su_box]

Read this blog entry in German here.

To stay tuned and get the latest updates on successful video marketing, sign up for our newsletter here.

1. Why a video?

Making a movie or simple video is easier said than done. Why not a white paper, blog post or press release, instead?

First and foremost, we need to clarify our intentions. Otherwise we will get lost during the process of shooting the video. This helps bring everything into focus.

For example, why should we make a video instead of, or in combination with, a blog entry?

Of course, a video will be more easily remembered, and over all, people love to watch videos on the internet, even more so than reading a blog entry. A video might be easier to understand as well, because it generally demands a lower level of concentration than text.

In particular, we have to think about what we want to show. If we provide our costumers with audio-visual material, we need to give them something particular to see.

For instance, if we are going to talk about a lot of information, our audience be better off with text. An interested user is able to read through important sections of a text again and again. He or she doesn’t have to search for the very second where the important part begins. In a text, there are headlines that structure the information so that one can easily find a sentence or word again.

Then again, there might be a very complex issue that requires a more precise explanation. Why not make a video about this very matter to accompany the text? In the video, we explain the issue and visualise it with an exemplary demonstration.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip 1

Making a marketing video just for the sake of having some video might not be beneficial, but it is always useful to have a short video a blog entry to supplement a text with visual content.[/su_note]

2. Who is our target audience?

Who are we trying to reach with this content? Existing customers, key accounts, or employees? Or are we trying to get new audiences on board, and reach even more people?

Does our target audience consist of pupils and those looking for a job or training, or of companies that could become affiliates? Or do we want to get closer to the end-user?

Children? Artists? Sportsmen? Dog lovers? You know what I mean…

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip 2

It is helpful to look for the kind of videos your target audience is watching, but keep in mind, your audience might be interested in completely different videos when it comes to your business.[/su_note]

Most adolescents love to watch vines (7-sec-videos) by their favorite YouTube star, but if you want to air those, the situation gets more complex. If we want to produce a video that will go viral, we had best also include an influencer (note the irony).

This inauthentic video might deter the student. She wants to be taken seriously by her future employer, who has to show they understand her situation, probably characterised by her uncertain future.

In this case, we had best focus on our qualities as trainer and an employer that provides our trainees with security, learning support, and other important qualities.

We made a video (in German, see below) about Hadya Khalil from Syria.

This DrKPI production shows what it takes to make an authentic video. Hadya herself is not an influencer, but she is authentic in speaking about her personal situation. As a refugee, she was looking for an apprenticeship in Switzerland. After a lot of hard work, which she talks about in the video, she secured a position.

For Hadya, Alpiq InTec in Zurich is the best employer / trainer she can imagine. That comes across as authentic and truthful, based on her experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlX6mSkY2n8

Obviously the video’s tone (factual, emotional, etc.) arises from the objective, which was to reach a younger target audience.

Understanding your target audience’s preferences, needs and wishes is a first important step. As we show below, defining what you intend to accomplish comes next.

3. What is our goal?

The next step is to ask:

Do we want to produce an image video, to illustrate our corporate culture or philosophy?
Do we need to increase awareness for our newly launched product?
Do we want to increase the number of qualified and motivated job applicants for certain positions?

In some cases, the company may just want to document the annual shareholder meeting to communicate with an important group of stakeholders.

We must write down and discuss our objective or what we want to accomplish. Without this, it is difficult to stay focused when shooting the video. Moreover, this makes assessing whether you accomplished the goals you set feasible, such as with the help of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip 3

It is helpful to watch others’ videos with a similar objective to help you formulate your goal and decide what can be accomplished. [/su_note]

Of course, if you have the budget, getting advice and support from professionals is always helpful, but remember that, while creativity can be wonderful, keeping your goal at the forefront is key to getting your message across.

4. What will the content be?

Obviously, a marketing video about a toy train cannot be compared to one about an innovative accessory to an endoscope.

That is what determines the video’s tone. If a CEO of a medical company is talking about the technological advancement of a new product, the video has to be neutral and fact-based. This goes beyond just the product, the firm’s strategy or an event. It is about communicating what needs to be communicated well. This can easily go wrong, whether you keep your target audience in or not.

[su_note note_color=”#86bac5″]

Tip 4

Tell a story. That goes not only for better blogging, but for videos – maybe even twice as much.[/su_note]

We often want to tell a story (see Hadya Khalil above), but sometimes we only want to give important information. Either way, we need to specify what is to be communicated.

A script has to be prepared beforehand, which must be structured properly. Without structure, you risk your audience losing the thread of what you are trying to communicate, in which case they will not watch your video to the end.

Do you want to share your views? Have these tips helped you so far? Leave a comment below or read the second part (coming soon) to get more important information on how to make a professional marketing video.

5. What is your opinion?

  • How much time do you think you spend each day watching video content on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop?
  • Do you have an example of a great video for a product, event, or explaining algebra?
  • What would you advise someone wanting to make a great video? Please share in the comments.
What customers would like to get for 2017 when it comes to GREAT customer service. | Urheber: MaskaRad | Fotolia #97117209

In short, we all have wishes for 2017 (I wish for better customer service in my Christmas stocking). The bad news is, you better manage three challenges to improve your customer service.
The good news is, there’s some low hanging fruit: change quality control, improve procedures for handling client requests / questions, and use one little modification of your marketing team’s behaviour.
It’s that easy, trust me. We spell it out below.

Customer service is constantly gaining importance, and we need the right procedures to deal with a flood of inquiries. Online chat is often expected, and 24/7 service is the norm.

♥ Curious? Join 1,500+ other subscribers to this blog’s newsletter and read on!

We discussed how challenging this can be a fortnight ago in, Booking.com, Yeego: NH Hotel Group #epicfail. Now we present another case and we have some pointers on how customer service mishaps can be reduced in our and your organisation.

1. Mistakes happen: Let’s make fewer errors

We all make mistakes and that won’t change any time soon. Keeping the number reasonably low, however, is a great start to improving things.

For instance, avoid situations in which your service or advertising is confusing for your clients. In turn, they have to get clarification = more work for you. Worst is if they decide not to buy because asking is too cumbersome for them. Instead they choose a product that may not be as good as yours but seems better because the service is more easily accessible.

One example is below. If your Cyber Monday Week ad is incorrect, you will get people like me to inquire.

Answering customer inquiries that result from our mistakes may be the right thing to do… but avoiding the situation altogether would be better. In turn, we have to answer fewer emails from clients :-)

Vidar Brekke - CMO Highsoft explains 2016-12-06 in an email to DrKPI: "Highstock, Highcharts and Highmaps, ... individually would amount to $2370. The savings are $1210, not $550, which equals a savings of over 50 percent, not 65 percent. We made the necessary corrections on our site."

Vidar Brekke – CMO Highsoft explains 2016-12-06 in an email to DrKPI: “Highstock, Highcharts and Highmaps, … individually would amount to $2370. The savings are $1210, not $550, which is equals a savings of over 50 percent, not 65 percent. We made the necessary corrections on our site.”

The above email is wrong: a 65 percent discount means it should cost $829. The same error was still on the website December 1. I and many other newsletter subscribers got another email with the wrong pricing on December 1, 2016.

Take-away

Discounts are popular, but you have to get it right. Moreover, if a client points out the error and wants the product at the discount you stated, you should come though on your promise.

2. KISS – Keep it simple, stupid: Beware of scalability

In 2012 a Long Island student created a ruckus by going public with the fact that Steve Jobs refused to be helpful for her semester assignment. But he was of the opinion that helping students was not part of his job description.

From: Steve Jobs [address and header confirmed – CA]
To: Chelsea Isaacs
Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs – Student Journalist Concerned about Apple’s Media Relations Dept.

Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.
Sent from my iPhone

See more here: 2010-09-20 – The Guardian – Steve Jobs: not what you’d call helpful to a trainee journalist. At the time, I wrote the following in our previous blog called Commetrics:

Let us be clear: a CEO like Steve Jobs has better things to do than help a student write her paper for a university course. Of course, if this had happened with my company’s CEO, the student would have gotten an answer. But at most, we get one such request a month AND we enjoy giving an answer since it allows us to gain some more insight.

In our case study with Highsoft, I went to the trouble to write an email to Grethe Hjetland, Highsoft’s CEO. I pointed out this problem to her, suggesting she get it fixed quickly to avoid any backlash.

I got no answer for more than two days. So I went to the trouble to write to the Chief Marketing Officer.

For Ms Hjetland it might be useful to have a procedure in place for such cases. The procedure would spell out what is to happen when she is out of town.

One possibility is an assistant who checks your email every morning and does triage, deciding which emails the CEO will need to reply to herself. Emails in a second group the assistant forwards to those best qualified to reply. The last group of emails get replied to by the assistant (if a reply is needed), or are simply archived.

If done correctly, this limits the number of emails the CEO has to wade or muddle through every morning while on vacation or a business trip. If emails are passed on, however, the procedure needs to include a follow-up. For instance, I triage of emails myself. Some emails that I am not qualified to reply to are sent to those within the organisation.

However, five days after I pass on an email, I will check whether the person has sent a reply. Or I might just send a short note to the person who inquired, saying something like, “I hope you have gotten an answer from us regarding the question you sent me…”

Generally, my email gets a response from the client 99 percent of the time. Usually it states that they are pleased that I have followed up. Sometimes I also get information that helps me do my work better.

Take-away – your customer service must be up to standard

Like Steve Jobs taught us, a company’s goal may not include helping a student get a good grade, but surely we want to address issues raised by clients as quickly as possible. Of course, in our small organisation I can answer most incoming emails myself. In Grethe Hjetland’s case, in a large organisation this is not possible. Instead, she needs a procedure in place that helps her get rid of emails like mine, while still getting them answered.

I got an answer in a roundabout way (see below). Unfortunately, this meant I had to spend more time than necessary to get it resolved. Totally unnecessary if your customer service is up to snuff.

Traditional red Christmas stockings - what we wish for 2017 - better customer service | Copyright: Family Business | Fotolia #94352650

Traditional red Christmas stockings – what we wish for 2017 – better customer service
| Copyright: Family Business | Fotolia #94352650

3. Truth in advertising: Do not add insult to injury

Since 2005, Cyber Monday takes place the Monday after the US Thanksgiving holiday and following Black Friday. It has turned into a four-day weekend of pre-Christmas sales. These days, Cyber Monday is spreading its wings to various countries in Europe such as the UK. Even in Switzerland, some store chains like InterDiscount have specials on Cyber Monday.

This is probably the reason why Norwegian company Highsoft AS sent out a mailing to its subscribers with the offer shown above. The CMO and myself went back and forth, and he acknowledged and apologised for the error.

Remember, 65 percent of $2370 is $1541. Truthful advertising requires that the final sales price is therefore $829.

Around December 16, just about three weeks after I pointed out this error, the Chief Marketing Officer had passed on my last email reply to an associate. This new person wrote me the following email:

From: Katharina von Oltersdorff-Kalettka at highsoft.com
Subject: Re: Cyber Monday – Misleading Ad?
Date: 19 December 2016 at 08:28:24 GMT+1
To: Urs.Gattiker

Hi Urs,
thanks for getting in touch.
I am Katharina, one of the Global Account Managers at Highsoft.
I am more than happy to give you the (although no longer valid) price of $1160 for the Highcharts Suite. This is a package price that includes Premium Support. An option for purchasing it without the premium support is not available.
Let me know if you would still like to proceed and I can arrange for that.
Much thanks,

With regards,
Katharina von Oltersdorff-Kalettka
Global Account Manager
Highsoft AS

Remember, 65 percent of $2370 makes up $1541, which would give us a sales price of $829.

What does the above email suggest?

  1. After several email exchanges, Vidar Brekke, Chief Marketing Officer of Highsoft decided to pass on the case to a co-worker. But how much information (i.e. all the email exchanges he had with me) did he pass on to her?
  2. Ms von Oltersdorff-Kalketta either did not get a copy of the whole conversation I had with Vidar Brekke or she may not have read it properly. Nevertheless, it sounds like I should be grateful to get the 50 percent discount.

What adds insult to injury is that it should show and reflect the adverised 65 percent discount. Truth in advertising requires that you keep your promises. Does this not violate my trust? Mind you, this is a company that claims on its website:

We are trusted by… 72 of the 100 largest companies… of the Fortune Global 500.

Trust is great, including truthful advertising. From Highsoft I wish to get truthful marketing campaigns and a speedier customer service. Moreover, starting in 2017, I do not want to get the runaround anymore when I point out an error in advertising.

Take-away

As an entrepreneur I have learned that it is sometimes smarter and faster to get the job done yourself. In this case, I would have sent the last email stating the final price, i.e. $829 to customer. The associate would have gotten a carbon copy and would have processed the order. Then she would have sent a confirmation to me about the order, such as a pdf file. In turn, our accounting department could process the payment.

  1. Apparently, CEO Grethe Hjetland does not have a procedure that takes care of such incoming email. But she requires one, considering the amount she must be getting, making it impossible to answer mine, and
  2. CMO Vidar Brekke should always finish a job he starts. In this case it would have resulted in this potential client not getting more run arounds.

Highsoft AS provides a great product that the company continues to improve continuously. Hats off!

If it now could just do the same in its sales and marketing, this would be the best service the company could do for all its clients. Wouldn’t it? And customers’ word-of-mouth marketing will surely help improve brand awareness.

4. Have your say – join the conversation

Source: Steve Jobs and great customer service: 3 keys to success

What is your opinion?

  • Do you remember the last time you had a company wriggle out of honouring its own advertising?
  • What procedure do you have in place, if a customer or potential customer sends an email to any C Suite employee?
  • What bugs do you hate the most when you need customer service?

The author declares that he had no conflict of interest with respect to the content, authorship or publication of this blog entry (i.e. I neither got a freebie from any of the mentioned companies nor are they our clients to the best of my knowledge).

By the way, we had a similar problem with a customer for our DrKPI software. I decided that it was our advertising error. Truthfulness in advertising is very important to me. Accordingly, the client who made us aware of the error got a freebie worth $1475. All others who paid or ordered before we changed the price, got a refund for the difference due to our error.

We felt that this was only fair, because we do not want to be accused of false or deceptive advertising.

I hope next year will bring us all better customer service. Happy Holidays | Copyright: JenkoAtaman | Fotolia #125884035

I hope next year will bring us all better customer service. Happy Holidays
| Copyright: JenkoAtaman | Fotolia #125884035

Final remarks

In case you’re interested, while Highsoft AS has a blog, it does not allow for client engagement, such as the option of leaving a reader comment. This means fostering engagement and dialogue has been deactivated. Surprising and so much Web 1.0.

Here’s the blog’s data as of today, and get more from DrKPI here.

Highchart Software's Corporate Blog does not allow for reader comments | so Web 1.0 instead of Web 2.0 | Urheber: DrKPI®

Highchart Software’s Corporate Blog does not allow for reader comments
| so Web 1.0 instead of Web 2.0 | Copyright: DrKPI®

Check the original research first, before you re-tweet the URL

Summary: 4 tips for using storytelling to create great fact-based content.
Martha Lane Fox (founder of lastminute.com) is right in suggesting instinct should be ditched.

Recently I came across a LinkedIn Update from my colleague Karen Dietz that made it clear that if I started my blog post with a story, I would get:

  1. 300 percent more visitors, And
  2. 68.5 percent more reader engagement beyond the first mobile phone screen.

Who would not want to achieve such results? I was intrigued.

Then my colleague Sandra turned around and said:

“Urs, show me the numbers.”

I answered:

“Sure Sandra, no problem. I just need to dig for them first.”

So I shared my insights with Sandra, but also thought that my experience hunting for these numbers is definitely worth sharing with you!

Learn about 4 things great bloggers do better.

This post is part of our series on business analytics and big data.

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 3581″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”780px” height=”309px” Title=”Karen Dietz Update on LinkedIn: Is this maybe too good to be true?” alt=”Karen Dietz Update on LinkedIn: Is this maybe too good to be true?”]

Permanent Link to the above Status Update from Karen, found on my LinkedIn Update list 2016-03-27.

1. Storytelling is what it takes

So I clicked on the LinkedIn post that got me to Karen’s scoop.it page with the story (2016-03-28). There I clicked a link again. This brought me to 5 Storytelling Methods to Captivate Your Audience (2016-02-28), published in the Search Engine Journal.

Here the author outlines that somebody else did an A/B test. One of the blog entries had a story at the beginning and the other started with the topic of the blog entry right away. Sure enough, the former supposedly got 300 percent more readers than the one without a story at the beginning.

The Search Engine Journal’s entry referred me to a Buffer blog entry by Alex Thompson entitled, The power of storytelling: How we got 300% more people to read our content, from 2014-04-22. Here, he supposedly unravels the mystery by going into detail as far as this case study is concerned.

After some digging, I learned that the A/B test was really sending two types of emails containing the blog entry. One began with a story and the other dove right in.

Okay, is testing whether a blog entry attracts readers versus what works better in an emailed newsletter the same? Personally, I think those are two vastly different things.

Plus, Alex never gets around to telling us exactly how many people participated in the A/B test and how the sample was selected (e.g., clients, webpage visitors, combination thereof, etc.).

But the example below does not suggest this kind of storytelling works, does it?

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 3675″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”780px” height=”563px” Title=”Nemu Chu at Kissmetrics Blog – telling me a crazy story in 173 words before you get to the beef I want to read is not effective use of the story metaphor ” alt=”Nemu Chu at Kissmetrics Blog – telling me a crazy story in 173 words before you get to the beef I want to read is not effective use of the story metaphor”]

2. Gut feelings are out, science is in

The fact is that science tells us that a person decides whether or not to read your story within the first five to ten seconds. If just your title is 12 words long, you have five seconds left to get the person’s attention – at most.

Using a story about driving a Porsche blindfolded is cute… but will it get your target audience’s attention? Of course, we are all smart and at least one of us will point out:

What is the target audience? Are these geeks doing social media monitoring, managers or housemen/housewives?

This is an important question. Research with over 400,000 page visitors to some of the biggest websites in the US provides the answer. It points out regardless of your target audience, they want a headline that is relevant to them. As well, if the first three lines of text fail to convey anything important, 60 percent will already be gone by line four.

Hence, striving for high quality content means short introductory stories at the beginning might work very well. Long-winded intros are less likely to encourage your reader to go beyond the second mobile screen.

3. Facebook or Twitter: Check before sharing

Getting 300 percent more readers thanks to starting a blog entry with a story is a wonderful result. But I hope you do not mind me asking:

– What type of story are we talking about (e.g., length, relevance, etc.)?
– What type of story will work with my audience?

I was unable to get an answer to these questions in those blog entries as mentioned above.

So I took the trouble to dig a bit deeper in the subject matter. For instance, in the Search Engine Journal’s entry the author had used a model from a study on mice (see below).

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 3598″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”781px” height=”472px” Title=”Nice graphic – that is the proposed model, but what about the one confirmed by Lisrel analysis? That looks a bit different!” alt=”Nice graphic – that is the proposed model, but what about the one confirmed by Lisrel analysis? That looks a bit different!”]

I then found the original paper from which the above graphic was taken. Read it here (sign up free to view and download the paper): The Customer loyalty to content-based Web sites: The case of an online health-care service. Journal of Services Marketing, Vol 18(3):175-186, May 2004

The paper yielded some interesting new facts that we should ponder.

For instance, on page 179 of the paper, the reader is told that the study is based on 421 usable responses on a health site. Where the site is located and in which language content is written is not clear.

We are also told that the online survey was responded to by 6 percent of those that were asked to fill it out while visiting the website. Moreover, 93 percent of these respondents are women (see page 180).

Just looking at this information tells us that the study does not allow us to generalise from its findings due to sample selection and so forth.

Also, “Need fulfillment” is set to equal content quality by the Search Engine Journal’s author Razvan Gavrilas. However, as the study clarifies, need fulfillment was measured using four items. We are not given their exact wording except one: Net Clinic meets my personal needs (page 179). For all I know, this could mean finding the doctor’s address I am looking for. That does not measure content quality, does it?

Put differently, the study does not address quality content. Hence, the Search Engine Journal’s author simply misconstrued the study’s findings, then wrote a great story about it. But storytelling based on misinterpreting research findings does not help us gain and maintain our readers’ trust.

4. Checklist

This story perfectly illustrates that one best check one’s sources carefully. Unless you prefer to have metaphorical egg on your face as a blogger?

Here are four science-based tips that will help you use storytelling effectively while building trust and reputation for your publication.

[su_box title=”The no bullshit guide to better blogging” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff”]
1. Mobile readers want you to get to the point – fast.
First, tell me why you think I should read this, and what I will get out of it (20 words max).

Second, don’t give me a 170-word story about the blindfolded Porsche driver. Start your blog entry with a great story but keep it to about 30 to 50 words maximum.

By the time they hit 60 to 100 words (including the headline), readers want to be convinced that reading onward is worth their time.

2. Remember your favourite librarian’s advice.
I remember a librarian telling students in her workshop for new library users: “When doing your semester paper, do not cite an article you found in some paper’s reference list before checking the original. It could be that the author misquoted it or misinterpreted the original paper’s findings.”

Of course, for some of us the clincher was that she stated: “If your professor knows the author or has read the original study, they will know if you misquoted or misinterpreted something. That could not only be embarrassing, but as importantly, lower your grade.”

Just checking a URL in a LInkedIn news update leading to a blog will not do. Go to the original study the blogger refers to and make sure they got it right.

3. Great science is a start.
As a blogger, check your sources. Does the article or white paper from Adobe represent science or a poorly-veiled sales pitch, though nicely packaged?

A first danger sign is a report that contains superfluous content or lacks a method section. Another sign could be that a lot of color and ink has been wasted to make things look pretty, but the report lacks any depth or detail.

4. Instinct and gut feelings have no place here.
Some examples:

10 Qualities of People With High Emotional Intelligence
These Are the 30 Most Motivational Books Ever Written
9 Affirmations the Most Successful People Repeat Each and Every Day
The Top 8 Skills Wealthy People Have Mastered

The headlines above are great link bait. And yes, unless our headline stirs the reader’s interest, they will never read anything beyond it.

Nevertheless, claiming something or suggesting a checklist based on your opinion will not do. Martha Lane Fox is right, ditch your instinct and opinions, but back your choices up with data and facts.

Of course, some master the art of an attention grabbing headline and then really deliver the bacon in their blog entries, such as: WordStream: 5 Lazy Tips to Cut Your PPC Budget in Half

[/su_box]

5.  Bottom line

CLICK - Starting with best science is a good start, but it must also lead to a better life.Asked what advice she wished she had received at 25, Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of Lastminute.com led with hiring. Instinct should be ditched, she told the BBC, in favour of a slower-burn audition of candidates (as mentioned by Emma De Vita 2016-03-28, FT p. 8).

Believing a person’s CV or LinkedIn Update (with a link to an article) is fine. Better yet is to go and check the original article, including research, to see if the claims made can be trusted.

In the case of hiring, encourage many staff to talk to the person. If possible, ask the candidate to spend a day or two at your office.

Headlines such as “6 things successful people do every morning” are great teasers. Inc. Wire is a master at this. However, besides some opinions from the authors of such entries, science does not play any role.

Instead, reading tea leaves or misinterpreting research if some is used is most likely the case. In turn, the suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt.

Would you rather trust a therapy to save your life based on somebody’s opinion or the best science and tests?
Are you willing to invest your hard earned cash in something somebody just believes in?
Would you not sleep better tonight if the numbers tell the story?

Let us focus more on observation of behaviour, instead of claims or accounts of people’s behaviour (e.g., as stipulated by authors of a blog or magazine article).

6. Have your say – join the conversation

I have decided to follow Sandra’s advice: “Urs, show me the numbers!”

  • What do you advise corporate bloggers to do to write high quality content?
  • Do you like reading a made-up kind of story at the beginning of a corporate blog entry?
  • Do you prefer the author cutting to the chase straight away in a blog entry?
  • Does any news you get from corporate blogs affect your decision-making at work?

The author declares that he had no conflict of interest with respect to the content, authorship or publication of this blog entry.

Final thoughts

The sad fact is that in a world where BuzzFeed, Gawker, Vice, Vox and others increasingly chase advertising dollars, fewer and fewer resources are left over to check original sources. Instead, storytelling or headlines use click bait, sensationalism and so forth to get the clicks needed to gain the most pageviews.

The only option we have is to not waste our time on such content. If many of us stop, it will result in fewer clicks and advertising dollars for such sites. I have therefore decided to no longer visit Inc. Wire’s content. Nor do I care about Gawker or BuzzFeed. But I will not hold my breath that things will improve soon… Of course, quality content is not free – somebody pays. In the case of this blog, it’s my company :-)

As one of the curators of the DrKPI.com and DrKPI.de corporate blog databases, I see plenty of corporate blogs.

I probably study 20 or more corporate blogs closely each week; maybe another 30 a little less closely.

Recently an advertising CEO from New York asked me the following:

“What are the 5 things that irk you the most when you read ad agency blogs?”

Tough question, but I promised him I would take a stab at it.

Here is my summary of the many social media audits we have done this year on agency blogs for our clients.

What large ad agencies can teach us bloggers

[su_box title=”1. Navel gazing content is out: Your content must focus on your client, NOT you.” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff” radius=”5″ width=”px 700″ ]
Nobody wants to listen if all you do is talk about yourself (e.g., products).

Address my concerns or my problems and point out a possible solution (e.g., Checklist: 5 ways to increase sales).
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How to do it right:

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 2682″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”520px” class=”alignleft” height=”387px” Title=”Burson-Marsteller – We preach dialogue, but reserve the right to do different on our own corporate blog.” alt=”Burson-Marsteller – We preach dialogue, but reserve the right to do different on our own corporate blog.”]

Burson-Marsteller does many things right, including having content that adds value.

[su_box title=”2. Don’t waste my time: Content that adds value is the only content that matters.” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff” radius=”5″ width=”px 520″ ]

After reading your blog entry, how does your reader feel?

Was it worth spending time on?

Did they learn something new?
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As this blog below shows, it takes effort to present content that is relevant for your clients.

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It is hard but the Bernet blog illustrates that ad agencies can do it very well (see above).

Burson-Marsteller also violates point 3 below, by turning off reader comments. That puzzles me. Anybody know why Burson-Marsteller does not want to hear from its blog readers?

[su_box title=”3. Engage and dialogue with me: Do not add insult to injury.” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff” radius=”5″ width=”520px” ]What we tell our clients and charge for dearly is one thing. What we do on our website is a different story.

If you preach engagement, why would you turn off commenting?

Do you not want to hear from your readers, clients or future customers?
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How Landor – part of WPP – does it

Landor talks about engaging, debating and so forth on its blog (see above screenshot).

But all it does is boradcasting, so Web 1.0 – where does it listen, share, discuss and learn? Talk is cheap…

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 2680″ limit=”7″ link=”image” target=”blank” width=”520px” class=”alignleft” height=”446px” Title=”Landor – Do you want dialogue when you turn off commenting on your blog?” alt=”Landor – Do you want dialogue when you turn off commenting on your blog?”]

We all know that fostering dialogue takes time, of course.

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Naturally, the above illustrates that not every blog entry gets as much dialogue and social sharing as the next.

Large agencies that span the globe have another challenge to master.

Harnessing economies of scale is great, but boring the local audience with “soft” news does not communicate professionalism.

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Some believe all you need is a local website.

Once it is up, just report on the last conference you attended, such as the Cannes Lions Festival (a yearly event for self-agrandizing of the ad industry).

Also maybe mention the last charity you helped and show a foto of the last group of interns you took on.

All news that puts you in the right light.

Nevertheless, does such inward looking help your client solve their own challenges?
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It seems it is not easy to write content relevant to your local audience when you are part of a large worldwide ad-agency. A case in point is Ogilvy South Africa.

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Blog entries like those about the Cannes Lions conference cannot be of great interest to a South African client, can they?

Maybe it justifies the author’s junk trip to France from Johannesburg. Anything else?

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Ad agencies advise their clients about which Web 2.0 strategies could result in success.

But why do so many ad agency blogs (i.e. more than 86.9 percent) fail to get their readers to leave comments and join the dialogue?

How can you advise your client and charge for it when you yourself fail to do it right?

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Not so easy, as the Deep Edition Digital PR’s blog illustrates. Nevertheless, if you want to be considered an expert and get paid for your advice, should you not do better than those paying you because you supposedly know?

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Discuss these issues with us!

Have you come across these issues as well?

Share your viewpoint. I would love to start a dialogue with you.

How do you decide whether or not your ad agency is competent in social media? What criteria do you use?

Bottom line

Next time you look for an ad agency that can help you with social media, check out these three things before giving them the job.

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1. Navel gazing content is out: Your ad agency’s blog content must focus on your needs, not theirs, in order to provide you with value.

2. Engage and dialogue: Does your agency preach or act accordingly by allowing and encouraging readers to leave comments?

3. Houston, does my ad agency foster dialogue? If their blog gets reader comments, do they write thoughtful replies, or…?

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Let’s meet at Barcamp Bodensee
#bcbs15 this weekend: June 12-14, 2015.

Ineffective workshops can be deadly.
This is the ultimate pre-conference checklist - 10 critical factors for putting a successful meeting together.

Going down history lane… just a bit :-)

A barcamp is a user-generated conference. Some also call it an unconference. The program is put together by participants first thing each day the unconference is held. Each participant introduces themselves and provides three key terms:

Who: I am Urs E. Gattiker from Zurich, Switzerland
Term 1: benchmark metrics
Term 2: minimally invasive surgery / technology
Term 3: hiking

One or two ideas are then presented by the individual. What are they willing to share with other participants? This could be in the form of a presentation, workshop or discussion. If enough people will be interested, the idea gets assigned a time slot.

The first barcamp was organised in a week. It was held in Palo Alto, California, August 19–21, 2005.

Interesting Read: What is a Barcamp?

My first barcamp was a blogcamp in March 2009 in Zurich with the hashtag #bcch4. The next one followed in Rapperswil in October of the same year with the hashtag #bcrappi. Later that month we had Barcamp Liechtenstein with the hashtag #bcli09Soziale Medien für gemeinnützige Einrichtungen: Wie nutzt man diese besser (Making better use of Social Media in the context of any industry – my Slides with checklists). Three barcamps in 2009 alone, what a ride it was…

Barcamps are great places to meet like-minded people with very different brackgrounds, training and interests. From hobby photographer, designer, and coder to top-notch professionals in various disciplines such as medicine, genetics and sociology. Everybody contributes something, including volunteering time at the registration desk or helping with clean up. The opportunities to share and learn seem limitless.

For me, a repeatedly exceptional barcamp over the years has been Barcamp Bodensee (see Twitter hashtag #bcbs15, #bcbs14, #bcbs13, #bcbs12#bcbs10, and so forth). Every time I go, I learn a lot while having a great time (read Barcamp Bodensee #bcbs14: Synergien finden – Finding Synergies).

Do barcamps differ from hackathons?

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so if people start copying you, you must be doing something right. Today people use various types of conferences that are different shades of barcamps. Many call themselves unconferences and have copied part of the idea that led to barcamps.

At a hackathon you are likely to meet coders, programmers, software engineers and so forth. The sociologist or tool or die maker are a rare specimen at such an event. Often the focus is on a theme (e.g., wearable and / or mobile technology). Attendees form groups of 2 to 5 people and start on their project. hackZurich attracts about 400 and focuses on a theme, with the objective being to program an App in 40 hours or less.

There are barcamps that use this approach as well, for instance, when a start-up weekend is organized. Few people form a group and then get cracking on their business idea, which may include working on an app.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs2-Vp9lTLQ[/youtube]

What makes barcamps and hackathons similar?

The Zurich Hackathon (October 4-6, 2015) is similar to a classic barcamp. Both require volunteers to donate their time and know-how to make it happen. Without them, neither barcamps nor hackathons are possible.

In addition, well organised barcamps or hackathons manage to get sponsors ranging from Zeppelin, to Daimler, Ruppaner, Sonntag morgen, and other local and not-so-local businesses.

Originally, no fees were the norm for such events, but these days some charge, for example using rising fees. Here the first delegate registering pays $20, then $21, and so on, until the last registrant you let in pays $350 or thereabouts. This allows the organizers to make some money or at least recover the costs if few or no sponsors pick up the tab.

Can corporate barcamps work?

Digital Accelerator Allianz took up the idea of a barcamp. For this purpose it organised a hackathon towards the end of May 2015. Its intention was to get new ideas and apps developed in that time.

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The company proudly announced the winners, who got some cash prices, as illustrated here in this Allianz Tweet (image below).

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Another approach is an ideathon. Similar to a hackathon, experts attending the ideathon choose and join groups of 2 to 5 people to brainstorm, generating novel solutions.

These ‘great ideas’ are pitched to the company and the best receive cash awards, such as Novocure ideathon (see image below). So yes, corporate barcamps can work. But unless we follow best practice, they leave a foul aftertaste.

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Below I outline the things I feel are crucial to a successful event.

Best practice checklist for organisers

Based on my experiences with barcamps, worshops, hackathons and conferences, as attendee, co-organizer and program chair / ‘chief’, I have created this checklist to ensure your event works.

Download Checklist – The ultimate guide for conference organizers

[su_box title=”The ultimate checklist for workshop, hackathon and barcamp organisers” box_color=”#86bac5″ title_color=”#ffffff”]

Best Practice is a superior method or innovative practice that contributes to the improved performance of an organisation or conference organiser, usually recognized as ‘best’ by other peer organizations.

It implies accumulating and applying knowledge about what is and is not working.

10 points for organisers: Ropes to skip

1. Balancing diverse interests is key to success

You have to balance your sponsors’ needs with those of your delegates.

Getting attention from bloggers is not easy. You might offer them a sweepstake to participate in if they mention your sponsor (e.g., Zeppelin flight to be won around Friedrichshafen and Konstanz)… Things have to be attractive enough to get them to blog about something in order to be eligible to win.

If your event gets too commercialised, you turn certain people off. Not enough sponsors to pay the way, you have to charge a fee, upsetting a different group.

As the above suggests, this is a never ending balance act, but you better be good at it and find a middle way! Finding sponsors is an arduous and time-consuming process. Sometimes it is worth it to put one person in charge of delivering just that, with the cash enabling you to put a better event together.

2. Various backgrounds make a difference
2.1 Ideal number of attendees

50 attendees can be enough to have a great event, while going beyond 300 barcampers might make the event too big. The larger the event, the harder it is for a newcomer to get to know others and not feel lost. Again balance is needed and sometimes newcomers need help (e.g., when they arrive in the morning, they are greeted).

With barcamps you have to encourage some people and motivate them to come. Getting people who make money to give speeches may be nice for entertainment purposes, but where’s the added value? Better a researcher who tells the audience about their findings, than someone who studies tea leaves.

What is the ideal number? Probably between about 50 to 250. Big enough for a diverse crowd. Enough people to provide the talent allowing each topic to be discussed in some depth, and so forth.

2.2 Language

In Europe, you can offer some sessions in English. The rest is in the language spoken at the location of the conference. This way you can attract French or Italian speaking Swiss to an event in Zurich.

Another option is to choose English as the conference language, #truZurich, another uncoference for recruiters. The hope is that this makes it easier for people to attend.

Just make sure that the locals do not feel excluded because their English skills are a bit rusty.

2.3 Theme

You can narrow down a conference to a particular theme. Examples are change management, fundraising or social media monitoring.

While you may attract fewer people, at least they share a common interest. However, the theme and its description have to be concise and clear. The headline has to convey the message, only then can you attract the ‘right’ people.

2.4 Scheduling

Business events are usually held on a workday. If your boss approves you have it covered – time spent at the event is paid work time and expenses are taken care of. Great if you can get it, and most importantly your weekend stays free.

For small business owners that may be difficult. Each day you attend means zero revenue. Here, barcamps suit small business owners and students. Generally, they are held during weekends. Incidentally, experienced barcampers feel that the second is the better of the two days. One has gotten to know people (e.g., during the reception last night), making the conference more interesting.

In short, if the event is about learning, weekends may be better. Those not highly interested may not attend. If the event is about building business contacts and finding clients, an event during the week might be more promising – Tuesday through Thursday is best.

Some take the middle road. They schedule workshops and continuous education events on the weekend, while the ‘real’ program begins Monday (e.g., EICAR and most academic conferences).

3. Corporates can organize a barcamp BUT

If you want your own barcamp as a large organization (see Allianz), set the topic with people that know much about the barcamp idea. Choose people that have experience organising conferences and tell them what you want.

Then, put them in charge. Your benefit is two-fold:

– opening the event to outsiders will attract a larger audience of experts than just those from the company, and most importantly,
– this will result in richer and possibly freer discussions and better exchange of ideas… because outsiders raise issues that insiders may not dare to.

To make this possible, try to limit attendance of ‘insiders’ to 30%.

Keep in mind: Some very smart people may not be interested in developing ideas for a pharmaceutical firm. However, they are perfectly willing to do it for a charity or NGO (non-governmental organisation) such as the Red Cross, Caritas, etc.

4. To tweet, or not to tweet…

Research shows that social media can be a detractor. Watching status updates go by on your screen distracts you from focusing on what is happening at the conference.

I saw and experienced the first Twitter wall in 2008. However, I have never felt these things are conducive to a high-quality conference. I prefer focusing on things right here and now, and find tweets distracting.

Nevertheless, make it easy for non-Twitter users to find tweets with the barcamp or workshop hashtag. Offer them a URL to view these in the browser (e.g., #BcBs15), and publish a shortened link (i.e. http://securl.de/BcBs15-tw).

This way, attendees are not challenged by Twitter’s too-difficult link, such as https://twitter.com/search?q=%23bcbs15&src=typd

By the way, using small or capital letters in hashtags does not matter. Typing #BcBs15 or #BCBS15 or #bcbs15 brings the same results when searching Twitter (http://search.Twitter.com).

Interesting read: RESEARCH – Social media results in distraction and higher stress levels

5. Choose your sponsors wisely

It is always a compromise of things like price and how central or fancy the venue is.

An educational institution may be willing to sponsor a barcamp, by providing the venue for free. Most likely you have to get a sponsor to pay for catering and coffee breaks. A soft drink company may let you offer their product for free and so forth. In other cases, the corporate sponsor may offer you a venue including catering, in which case, all power to you!

You can also get a sponsor to offer free flights like Zeppelin did for the Barcamp Bodensee in addition to some cash.

Just make sure that your sponsors do not become overbearing. Your and their aims should match to a large extent.

6. Get help implementing your marketing strategy

Unless we reach people early, they may already be committed elsewhere. In addition, people need to be reminded regularly about upcoming events, but please, not five times in the last five weeks before the event.

Keep those emails relevant and their frequency as low as possible. In turn, recipients are more likely to open and study such mail.

Blog about the event early on. For instance, campaign-summit Switzerland managed to get a small group to register very early. These afficionados were then also included in getting the program together, and they spread the word early on via Twitter and other blog posts.

Getting your marketing right means finding a balance between trying too hard and too little (see image below – too much is annoying to your target audience).

Interesting read: Fachtagung: 10 Tipps für Teilnehmer (Conference: 10 Tips for Attendees)

Download CHECKLIST: The comprehensive guide to successful conferences (pdf file – 70 KB) http://securl.de/en-check-1

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Final note

As a small company, you can get exposure by sponsoring a barcamp or a conference, but even more interesting is the chance you get to exchange ideas and share know-how with others.

For a large company, branding and image-building opportunities are great when sponsoring a barcamp or hackathon. You can sponsor goods in kind, have a booth at the event, or pay the organizer some cash to have your logo prominently placed.

However, if none of your staff attend sessions, you miss a great opportunity to connect with delegates and help build the company’s brand or reputation. The most successful sponsors seem to be those that get a top manager to attend (see Hofrath und Süss). Recently, a car manufacturer had one of its top three managers attend a barcamp for 1.5 days.

I have met incredibly talented and motivated people while attending these events. I was lucky enough to hire several of them or put them on boards of companies we have invested in. I continue finding collaborators for projects that my firm would be unable to take on without their help. Barcamps rock!

What do you like most at conferences you attend?
What do you find most annoying at workshops or meetings?
Have you organised a barcamp or conference? What tip(s) can you pass on?