Resource Centre

A carefully curated collection of articles, books, tools and galleries.

Topics for 2016 include visual trends, graphic design, strategy, creativity and inspiration; web design, development and seo; email marketing and copywriting; marketing, advertising and social media. If you have a resource you'd like us to consider adding to the list, email it to us or if you're interested in adding a resources module like this to your website, let us know.

 

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Get More Sales with These 5 Email Receipt Marketing Tactics

by Tucker Schreiber | Email Marketing

Every time someone makes a purchase from your store they get an email receipt.

It’s an amazing way to connect with your customers—but it’s often overlooked as a marketing opportunity.  

Chances are, you’re missing out on sales because of that.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can use email receipt templates as a part of your marketing strategy to win additional sales, and stay connected with your customers.

Let's get into it!

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Read the article at shopify.ca

4 Massive Marketing Trends You Should Be Following in 2017

by Braveen Kumar | Ecommerce Trends | Jul 6, 2017

There always seems to be something new going on in the world of marketing: an update to Google’s search ranking algorithm, a game-changing feature that makes a familiar social network feel fresh again, a new way to connect with customers.

It can be hard for entrepreneurs and marketers to keep up.

That’s why it’s important to follow the overarching trends, not just smaller developments in the industry as they happen. Even if you can’t predict exactly what the future holds, you'll at least have an idea of the direction we're going in.

So, what matters for your business in 2017?

Here are some of the biggest marketing trends you should be paying attention to.

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Read the article at shopify.ca

Take your packaging from functional to fantastic

Take your packaging from functional to fantastic

27th June 2017 by moocrew

With a little thought and some added extras, send delivery packages that make your customers feel like kids on Christmas morning.

Run a small business? If you sell anything online, you’ll be pretty handy with a roll of packing tape. But packaging is about more than just boxes and bubble wrap – with just a touch of extra effort, you can give your customers an unexpected smile, and make them feel extra-good about their new products while you’re at it. In fact, this is now such a big part of online shopping, a quick search will find you unboxing videos from virtually every brand going. Power up your packaging, and you could find your customers making one about your products too…

What is unboxing?

The unboxing experience starts when a customer receives their delivery, and includes unpacking, discovering and examining everything inside. It captures that exciting, suspenseful feeling of the first moments with something you’ve wanted and waited for. No wonder unboxing videos are big among bloggers and vloggers, who open their packages in front of the camera so their watchers can share the excitement.

 

Why does packaging matter?

If you’re an online business, your packages may be the only physical touchpoint with your customers. As they open the package, they’re getting an all-important first impression of you. If your items are packed with care in thoughtfully chosen packaging, it shows you’re a careful and thoughtful seller who’s worthy of repeat business. A 2013 survey by dotcomdist.com found that 52% of consumers said they were likely to make a repeat purchase from a seller who uses premium packaging.

Interestingly, packaging can even affect their perception of what’s inside the box. A report from SealedAir (PDF download) found that 48% of online shoppers felt that better packaging meant a better product.

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Read the article at moo.com

Marketing Trends That Defined Google's Year in Search

Written by Natalie Zmuda

Google's "Year in Search" retrospective highlights the moments that defined 2016. Not only does search activity demonstrate how consumers turn to Google, it also provides valuable insights for marketers—especially as they set their road maps for 2017.

Searches give a glimpse into what the world was interested in during 2016. And for all the year's difficulties and challenges, there were also moments of levity, beauty, and inspiration.

The world mourned after the attacks in Brussels and Orlando. People struggled to understand the ins and outs of Zika and Brexit. And issues raised during the presidential election season continue to resonate even after Nov. 8. But there were also moments of comic relief—demonstrated by the unlikely memes of Dat Boi and Michael Phelps—and experiences that brought us together, such as the Olympics, Pokémon Go, and a strong desire to win Powerball.

Year in Search showcases some examples of the way people are living their lives in micro-moments: those times when there's an immediate need to fulfill. In those moments, consumers want to know, go, do, or buy—and they turn to search for information and inspiration.

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Read the article at thinkwithgoogle.com

4 of the Biggest Advertising Trends of 2016

Written by | @krla_cook

2016 was a year of unprecedented creative opportunities for advertisers.

Advancements in technology enabled agencies to develop campaigns across innovative new mediums, pushing the boundaries of digital advertising and inviting consumers to experience brands like never before.

Before we see what 2017 has in store, let's take a look back at some of this year's most impactful advertising trends. The following four marketing tactics left a big mark on 2016, and they show no signs of slowing down as we head into the new year.

See which trends fueled some of the most creative ad campaigns, and start planning your first 2017 campaign. 

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Read the article at hubspot.com

9 Free Microsoft Excel Templates to Make Marketing Easier

Written by | @CarlyStec

Many of us can recall a time in high school when we were sitting in math class and thinking, "When am I ever going to use this stuff in the real world?"

And then we suddenly find ourselves in the real world, only to realize that numbers actually do play a pivotal role in what we do -- especially in digital marketing.

Trouble is, many marketers are right-brained, meaning Excel spreadsheets riddled with numbers and formulas aren't all that inviting. Making them from scratch can be especially intimidating.

While we won't argue with that, we will say that the advantages of leveraging Excel's functionality to organize information and streamline tasks are unparalleled. To help those of you looking for a way to sharpen your skills, we've put together a detailed list of ways you can start using Excel to simplify your marketing tasks. Complete with templates, these suggestions will have you making strides in no time. Know what's even better? You can download this full collection of Excel templates in one fell swoop.  

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Download the free templates at blog.hubspot.com

How small businesses can do branding like the big guys

By 

When Beata Tolley and her husband, Chris, launched their Okanagan Valley, B.C. winery in 2004, their focus was the product. It was only several years later that it occurred to them to look closer at their brand. “Our most important concern was the quality of what went into the bottle,” she says. “But we realized that the way our wine was being presented to the world didn’t match our intention behind it—or the wine itself.”

Like many smaller businesses, the Tolleys had treated branding as an afterthought rather than a priority.

What the pair learned is what marketing specialists want to shout from the rooftops: For even very small businesses, good branding matters, from your name to the colour of your logo to the copy that ties everything together. “A strong visual identity sticks in a customer’s head,” says Erin Bury of Toronto’s 88 Creative communications agency. “It provides consistency and a differentiator in the market.” After all, it doesn’t matter how good your business is if people can’t find or remember it.

Wayne Roberts of Blade Creative Branding in Toronto encourages companies to treat branding as an investment, not a cost, and to embrace the process rather than thinking of it like, as he puts it, “having a tumour removed.” Business owners who don’t believe in the critical importance of branding, he adds, fail to understand basic human behaviour. “People are not rational; they are rationalizers,” Roberts says. “We’re always trying to rationalize the way we feel about things, and branding makes people feel a certain way.”

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Read the article at canadianbusiness.com

25 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Prospects to Open, Read, and Respond

Written by | @emmajs24

Just like a gatekeeper can prevent a salesperson from reaching the manager or executive they want to get in touch with, a subject line can block a prospect from opening a sales email. And it doesn't matter how much research and time you put into the body text -- your hard work goes to waste if the prospect deletes right off the bat.

But what makes a good subject line? Coming on too strong isn't a good idea. Think about it -- would you open an email with the subject line "I would like to sell you something"? That message is getting sent straight to the spam folder.

If you're reaching out to a prospect, you're either responding to their demonstrated interest (for example, they've visited your website, or engaged with your company on social media), or you have a solid reason to believe you can help them (for example, they tweeted out an article on training mistakes and you just so happen to be a training consultant). Now to get the prospect to engage with you and come to this realization ... 

The best sales email subject lines are creative, interest-provoking, and informative without giving too much away. Writing the perfect subject line is no small feat, so we've compiled 25 compelling sales email subject lines for a variety of situations. Customize for your own uses, and watch your open and response rates skyrocket. 

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Read the article at blog.hubspot.com

Essential Steps to Making a Killer Portfolio

A primer on planning, presenting, and posting your best work. 

By 

You have the ability to capture the attention of a creative director in a single glance of your portfolio, so it’s vital to get the details right. What is the most compelling way to curate your images? How do you best present your designs? And what are the important mistakes to avoid?

Since Behance launched in 2006, we’ve seen a lot of portfolios. The website has 7.4 million members who post 12,000 new projects every day and draw a collective 200 million page views each month. That can make it difficult to stand out, but it’s worth giving your portfolio a polish and shine in an effort to do so. Think of it like this: We all tend to eat with our eyes first. If a dish looks good, we’ll be that much more eager to want to devour it. The same idea applies to your work. If your projects are stylishly presented, the chances are likely better that people will want to check out your work — which is the first step to getting more opportunities. 

To help you stand out, we’ve asked Behance’s Brand Director Mark Brooks what one should (and shouldn’t) do to create an eye-catching portfolio. He walks us through the planning, presentation and posting stages of the process.

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Read the article at 99u.com

295 Marketing Mentor Podcasts

Ilise Benun, founder of Marketing-Mentor.com and author of 7 books, including The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money, interviews her clients and other successful creative professionals about what’s working when it comes to the latest marketing tools and pricing strategies. Ilise’s conversational style is friendly and engaging as she presses her interviewees to reveal the details that you don’t hear anywhere else about what exactly they are doing and how it is working. 

Each episode is a no-fluff chat about the nuts and bolts of how designers, copywriters, photographers and other creatives are doing to grow their business to get better clients with bigger budgets. Topics covered include taking control over your business, ending the feast or famine syndrome, finding your niche, identifying the ideal clients who value your services and can pay what you’re worth, developing your own marketing style and cultivating relationships that will last. 

For more, sign up for her Quick Tips at marketing-mentortips.com

 

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Listen to the podcasts at marketingmentor.libsyn.com

The Strategy And Vision Behind Nike's Brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo Ad "The Switch"

By JEFF BEER 

Wieden+Kennedy Portland creatives and director Ringan Ledwidge talk about creating the brand's latest epic soccer ad.

You must've seen it by now. Last week, Nike unveiled it's newest film ad, starring Portugal and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo pulling a footie Freaky Friday body swap with a talented English youngster.

It's quick, it's snappy, it's fun, and it even shows off some surprisingly nuanced acting chops by Ronaldo. Over the last few years, every time a major international soccer tournament is about to kick off, Nike has released an epic ad, encompassing a laundry list of global star players, that resonates in pop culture with the bang bang of any major music video.

 

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Read the article at fastcocreate.com

How I Generated 393 Potential New Website Clients In Under A Week

Learn the exact step-by-step process Bianca Board, founder of Foxley and owner of web design business Web123, went through to set up an explosive sales funnel in just one weekend, all by herself. (No geeks, tech boffins or coding required.) 

Join us as Bianca pulls back the curtains and steps you through the business aspect of marketing your design business; the tools she uses, how much she spends, conversion rates, results, what to expect and how you can do this too for as little as just $10 per day.

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Watch the archived webinar at gotowebinar.com

15 Email Newsletter Examples We Love Getting in Our Inboxes

Written by | @CarlyStec

When people first start doing email marketing, they often assume they need an email newsletter. "It'll have everything our customers care about, all in one place," they rationalize. "Our list will be different -- people will actually look forward to getting our newsletter," they argue. "Since we're only sending it once a month, it'll be a breeze to put together," they say.

And while all of those things may become true for a few lucky individuals, lots of email newsletters flop. They become an uninteresting mush of content people automatically ignore, archive, delete, or straight up unsubscribe from. And this isn't great for you, your metrics, or your company's success.

So if you're thinking about creating an email newsletter, check out this post and think really hard about whether that's the right move for you in terms of your marketing strategy.

If you've decided that you want to start an email newsletter, or you want to revamp one that's not performing well, keep on reading.

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Read the article at blog.hubspot.com

How to Audit Your Website for Improved SEO and Conversions

Written by 

When was the last time you gave your website a checkup? Website audits are extremely valuable and absolutely necessary before beginning any large-scale SEO or website redesign projects . Auditing your website can determine whether or not it's optimized to achieve your goals, and if not, how you can improve it to increase performance.

So if you've never audited your website before, it's been a while since you have, or if you're planning a website redesign in the near future, use this post as your go-to website audit checklist to make sure your website is primed for maximum SEO and conversion results. Keep in mind that in most cases, you’ll probably want to pair up with someone with a technical brain for this, whether that be someone in your in-house IT department or an outsourced party.

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Read the article at blog.hubspot.com

6 Bad Habits to Avoid When Writing Proposals

Written by 

Writing proposals -- whether responding to lengthy RFPs or pitching new services to existing clients -- is a responsibility that most agency execs would rather avoid. I’ve noticed a series of bad habits that, if broken, would make proposals not only easier to write but also more effective at what they’re meant to do -- win you more business.

Read the article at blog.hubspot.com

“We got so deep into content marketing, that we forgot to mention what we actually do.”

by Christopher Butler

“We got so deep into content marketing, that we forgot to mention what we actually do.”

Sounds crazy, right? Well, not really. Just the other day, I was speaking with an agency principal about her firm’s website. We had been talking about what she has observed over the past five years or so of doing what she called “more aggressive digital marketing,” when she made that startling admission. In that time, she and her firm had created a ton of content: blog posts, white papers, case studies, you name it. After stabilizing their content production, they even smartened up a bit and organized it based upon the stages of the buying cycle, making sure to differentiate between content written for prospects who were in early stages of solution research and later stages of evaluation. After that, they revised their calls to action to better speak to prospects in each stage, and made sure to use them in the right places.

And you know what? It worked. They got more leads. But as we talked more, she described the strain that put on the person handling their sales (you guessed it: her). Despite creating so much content that described her firm’s expertise, she found that her sales conversations still began at square-one and required just as much time to inform and orient prospects to engagement possibilities as they had before they’d done all that fancy content marketing. The problem was, her phone was ringing much more now.

I smiled and said, “Don’t worry, you’re halfway there.”

She asked, “What do you mean, halfway?”

I explained that a few years ago, we spent most of our time helping agencies simply get up to speed with content marketing. We helped them break the habit of over-showing on the web by refocusing their websites on telling — namely, what they do and how they do it using actual words — instead of assuming that a glitzy portfolio in an even glitzier container would win them business. But for those whom we converted to the content marketing way, there was more work to do.

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Read the article at newfangled.com

Why I Emailed a Dog

By David Koji

As any small business owner will tell you, acquiring new customers is not easy. In order to get a prospect’s attention, you really need to think outside the box of common sense.

There are many different marketing tactics, but one cold email strategy that I use is searching for something unique about a prospect and using that knowledge to deliver a personalized, unique and engaging email. At the end of the day, it’s still a cold email, but you can increase your chances of a response by captivating the prospect and breaking out of the typical cold email routine.

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Read the article on entrepreneur.com

Most Brilliant Print Ads

By 

Break through the advertising clutter with a solid concept and creative design.

We are constantly exposed to advertising in our daily lives, be it online, in print, on billboards or through our television screens. In fact, research suggests we are exposed to, on average, 362 ads per day (not including brand exposures) but only 3 per cent of these will make an impression. That’s just twelve ads a day that actually engage us.

So how do you break through the advertising clutter and make a memorable advertisement for your audience or target market? First come up with a solid conceptand then consider your design. Attention to layout and presentation will help your ad get noticed; but attention to concept and creativity will help your ad be remembered.

Here are fifty print ads that are creatively brilliant. They have a solid concept topped off with great design.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

50 Brilliant Billboard Ads That Will Stop You In Your Tracks (And What You Can Learn From Them)

by 

With digital ads taking over our lives, it’s easy to start questioning how long other forms of advertising are going to last.

Oh, rest assured: billboards are going nowhere. They are alive, well and getting increasingly creative.

Here’s a scenario: you’re cruising on the highway, pretending to be focused on your driving, blasting some nostalgic hits as loud as it gets. It’s going to take some serious interruption to steal your attention. All of a sudden there it is: an irresistible, overwhelmingly cheesy pizza the size of your car. You *suddenly* remember that you are starving. (Are you really?). Next up you’re looking for an exit number, address, website, coordinates…something! You really do need to get your hands on that pizza. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the magnetic power of a brilliant billboard ad.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

How mobile photography has shifted what pics your customers want to see (and 5 on-trend tips)

by Rebecca Swift

Today we’re in an all-consuming visual interchange, where visuals rule as the language of the 21st century. Photos, graphics and videos are now integral to our daily life, led by smartphones, and fueled by the changing way we consume and interact with media.

The main catalysts for change have come through social sites and apps such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram where consumers spare time endlessly scrolling and browsing photos and videos.

As a result, expectations for how images look has shifted, and consumers now seek out authenticity in images, by way of photos that feel real, relatable and regional.

Brands and content marketers globally are taking note. Campaigns are becoming more authentic and real, “street casting” is used more often (as opposed to hiring professional models) and more photographers are shooting with a reportage-style candid aesthetic.

What does this mean for brand imagery?

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Read the article at istockphoto.com

6 Design Tips for Marketers

As a marketing designer at AddThis, I work with designers as well as with non-designers. Sometimes with the overload of requests, I can’t get to everything, which means my non-design co-workers have to create their own images or landing pages. Because I know others out there may be in similar positions, I put together a list of best practices for all the non-designers who may need to design something on their own every now and then.

Here are 6 things you should keep in mind while working on your next design project:

Typography Fundamentals

Typography plays a big role in creating visual hierarchy and contrast. One quick tip is to use multiples sizes. Pick your lowest font size first and go from there. If your smallest is 12px, which is the body copy, then use 24px for the heading and 48px or 72px for the title.

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Read the article at addthis.com

Five creative process tools for the right-brain marketer

19th century department store tycoon John Wanamaker is credited with inventing the money-back guarantee, hiring the first full-time copywriter and being the first retailer to realize the power of full-page newspaper ads. Despite his belief in the power of advertising, this pioneer of modern marketing was also enough of realist to recognize its limitations, as summarized by his famous quote:

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Lacking the analytical tools to understand cause and effect, advertisers in the golden age of Madison Avenue considered marketing as more of a creative endeavor dependent on intuition, inspiration and a sprinkling of stardust. Measurements of quantitative return on advertising spend were, at best, approximations based on focus groups and consumer surveys or assumptions made when a boost in sales coincided with a new campaign.

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Read Article at blog.hightail.com

Why self-promotion and marketing is just like dating

By Peleg Top

When you approach self-promotion with a dating mindset, you get surprising results.

Self-promotion can be scary. In fact, I’ve heard that “self” and “promotion” are the two most hated words in the creative business. But there is a totally different approach to promotion that can lead to surprising results.

When you think of the word “promotion,” what comes to mind? For most creative people, promotion equals bragging, and bragging, according to what we learned growing up, isn’t nice. In fact, bragging activates a powerful emotion we don’t want to feel when we want to grow our business: shame. We feel shameful around promoting ourselves because we associate promotion with bragging.

I don’t like to listen to people who brag about themselves. You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re the people that when you meet them for the first time, list their accomplishments, achievements and wins to try to impress you. In fact, they seem to be “shameless” when bragging about themselves. And that’s what we pick up on: The shame that’s inside of us that stops us from promoting ourselves at all.

So we grow up believing that we should be modest. Now, modesty is an important virtue but being too modest will prevent you from getting noticed. There’s a difference between being modest and feeling ashamed. If you believe that self-promotion and marketing is bragging, and if bragging makes you feel shameful, you’ll never do it. You’ll fall into the trap of procrastination, guilt and fear. And that’s no way to grow a business. The ultimate purpose of self-promotion and marketing is to bring love into your business and to keep the love flowing. When you approach your work this way, good clients will follow and creativity and money will flow naturally.

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Read the article at pelegtop.com

6 Reasons Why Women are Driving Social Media Growth

Do you know the 6 reasons why women are driving social media growth? If not, then keep reading and you soon will! 

For some readers this information may be a surprise while for others it will meet expectations; however there are some very interesting facts anyone involved with marketing should be aware of. 

Women and Social Media 

We crunched the numbers and reviewed the research and the results are in; women are driving social media growth and apparently have been for the past few years.

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Read the article at loungelizard.com

The Changing Face of B2B Marketing

There have been interesting shifts in B2B in the past two years. What's changed? To find out, we surveyed B2B decision makers about their research and purchase habits. The results debunk a number of widely held beliefs and have major implications for any B2B marketer.

The business-to-business marketplace is changing. While this may not come as a surprise, the way things are evolving might serve as a wake-up call for some brands. That's because over the past two years, there have been some rather interesting shifts, not just in how B2B buying decisions are happening, but also in who's responsible for them.

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Read the article at thinkwithgoogle.com

50 Of The Best Email Marketing Designs We’ve Ever Seen

By 

In case you hadn’t heard, email marketing isn’t dead.

In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. By the end of next year, it’s expected that the total number of worldwide email accounts will increase to over 4.3 billion. Like it or not, we live in a time where people like to email. It’s fast, convenient and most important – effective.

As a business tool, McKinsey & Company found emails to be 40 times more successful at acquiring new clients than either Facebook and Twitter – just one of the many interesting statistics to support the success of email marketing.

If you’re a startup or brand wanting to leverage this success, a well-designed email is crucial to break through the pack. Amongst so much competition, a great email design needs to capture the attention of the reader right away to avoid being deleted and risk never being seen.

Engage your customers and create email marketing campaigns to reach a massive audience. Here’s how the pros did it – we hope this post inspires you to create your own awesome email designs!

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

The Super Bowl Reverse: Marcia Brady Becomes Danny Trejo on a Snickers billboard

BY JEFF BEER

For the Super Bowl, Snickers blew our nostalgic minds by making legendary Hollywood tough guy Danny Trejo into Marcia Brady's hungry spirit animal. Now the brand, and agency BBDO New York, shows how it reversed that transition on a painted New York City billboard.

Back in January, before the big game, a seemingly anonymous billboard of Marcia Brady went up in NYC. Over the course of a few weeks—a mustache here, a face crag there—it was Marcia who gradually became Trejo, just in time for the Super Bowl reveal. The billboard is fun enough on its own, but also launched a new online contest for you to submit a photo or video of your own hungry spirit creature, for the chance to win cash and a YouTube takeover for a day.

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Read the article & watch the video on fastcocreate.com

Digital Content - Part 1 of 4: Written Content Types

by Crys Wiltshire

By now we all know that the way to any search engine’s heart is through great content, served fresh. However, many companies still struggle to provide a variety in their content marketing mix. It is no longer enough to simply blog. In order to stay relevant and build your authority, you need to provide multiple types of digital content.

By offering up various forms of quality content, you are providing value for your target audience with a selection of engaging tools and resources. Different users will engage more heavily with content that appeals the most to them. By serving up a multitude of content types, you are more likely to reach larger portions of your audience.

While there is a wide range of content types available for your brand, we are going to focus on the most common forms of written content in this article.

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Read the blog post at gshiftlabs.com

[Webinar] 5 Top SEO & PPC Trends from gShift and Acquisio

by Jon Barrick

gShift and Acquisio are excited to present to you to this webinar where you will learn 5 top trends impacting SEO, PPC and Content Marketing strategies in 2015 from two leaders in marketing technology.

Krista LaRiviere, CEO of gShift and Chris Doran, VP of Marketing at Acquisio, had an interactive discussion on top trends and tips digital marketers need to know in order to earn and maintain a competitive advantage in the digital marketing space.

In this webinar, Krista and Chris discussed how:

  • Mobile has gone mainstream;
  • Search behavior impacts keyword selection;
  • Marketing technology automation is blending and maturing;
  • Native ads for PPC and SEO are a massive opportunity; and
  • Video ads and vlogs should be a part of the digital marketing mix.

 

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Watch the archived webinar on gshiftlabs.com

Find a Truth: Unilever’s Marc Mathieu on The Next Era of Marketing

By 

I’m now about halfway through a series of conversations the Economist Intelligence Unit had with six marketing pundits who have shared with us their thoughts on everything from the changing roles of marketersnew ROI metrics and the power of authentic, continuous relationships. And I hope you’ve found these as insightful and helpful as I have.

This week, I want to share a recent conversation with Marc Mathieu, SVP of Marketing at Unilever. He explains that while marketing used to be about creating a myth and selling, it’s now about finding a truth and sharing it. And to that I say amen. Technology, Marc explains (and as we all know), has changed the way people communicate, making it more open and real-time. Thus, the onus is on us to understand and embed it into our marketing strategies and approach.

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Read the article at linkedin.com/pulse

Back to Bricks and Mortar - Creative Packaging Trends

Over the last few years, in response to the growing popularity of online shopping, many retailers seemed to be downsizing and moving more into the online world rather than dealing with bricks and mortar locations. The lure of being able to comfortably shop in your pajamas without having to worry about people wondering if you are sleepwalking has tempted many to turn to their computer screens when in need of something. But wait – apparently this trend isn’t as completely change-inducing as originally thought. Apparently bricks and mortar locations are making a come-back!

A recent study done by Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI) found that 76% of buying decisions are happening in-store, up from 70% a few years ago. Clearly there is still something to be said for trying before buying.

So, knowing that bricks and mortar stores are making a come-back, how then does this impact you and your marketing strategy?

There is significant value in investing in unique and innovative creative packaging that grabs the attention of those customers visiting a retail location.

Think outside the box: does your packaging speak for itself? Does it make use of colour psychology (what’s that?)? Are displays mixing technology and interaction to make customers stop and think? What about print quality – does the colour stand out? Is the image striking and clear? These are all things that you should be considering when it comes to print design and marketing strategy in order to compete.

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Read the Article at ptibox.com

15 Online Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2015

by Ashley Kemper

Online marketing is no longer optional for brands who are serious about pushing their businesses forward. Digital marketing often feels like a moving target that's impossible to hit, yet despite the frequent guesswork, there are some clear trends that will be defining the industry in 2015. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a digital novice, these 15 key trends should be on your radar over the next year.

 

1. More User-Generated Content

If 2014 was the year "Content Is King" became a reality, 2015 will be all about sourcing content from the kingdom at large. The onus will always be on publishers to produce high-quality (and expensive) content, but brand followers are willing, and expecting, to contribute to the conversation. Whether you tap a small handful of ambassadors to create meaningful posts on a corporate blog or promote a branded hashtag that allows the public to share content on your site, take advantage of this engagement opportunity early and often.

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Read Article at shutterstock.com

3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Campaigns in 2015 (and Beyond)

by Ashley Kemper

If you're like most marketers, the past 12 months were filled with their fair share of victories, as well as near-misses, and maybe even a total flop. Step up your game in 2015 by setting (and sticking to!) these three simple resolutions.

Create monthly content calendars, and actually follow them

Whether you create content calendars weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, having a documented plan in place is critical. A well-crafted content calendar provides the high-octane fuel to keep social, SEO, and email channels running effectively. By taking the time to make a calendar ahead of time, you ensure that messaging and promotions are synced across channels, presenting a consistent interaction with your audience.

New to the content-calendar game? It's a versatile tool that is actually very simple to create. At its most basic, a content calendar can be a spreadsheet that serves to document:

- Dates and times that you'll publish your content

- Content format (photo, video, infographic, etc.)

- Key messaging to use

- Distribution channel(s) (Facebook, email, blog, etc.)

Putting together your first content calendar can feel onerous and time-consuming, but you'll be astounded at how much time it saves throughout the month.

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Read Article at shutterstock.com

HOW MARKETING WILL CHANGE IN 2015: THE CREATIVE FORECAST

by Jeff Beer

Top agency, digital and brand players weigh in on the year to come.

It’s a new year and time for prediction and anticipation. How much mobile-first, e-commerce-driving engagement will you be programmatically integrating into your 2015 360 strategy?

Marketing has made real, beyond-buzzword shifts over the past year in terms of recognition of the mobile, multi-device consumer, and the importance of creating compelling content, of all lengths, and across all platforms. But how will those shifts manifest themselves, and what new forces will shape marketing this year? Whether it’s via long form content, social platforms, or apps, the challenge of telling a brand’s story in an engaging way is ever present. The pace of culture is something both consumers and marketers struggle to keep up with, and yet the wheels keep turning, with new technologies, platforms and ideas continually challenging, enraging and inspiring us in seemingly equal measure.

We spoke to leaders in brand creativity about their insights, predictions, and prognostications—what they’re looking forward to, the direction they’d like to see their work go, how they plan to make next year more creative and more.

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Read Article at fastcocreate.com

How to use Pinterest Analytics to change the way you Pin

We recently featured DODOCase, a leather goods company, in our blog to show how they made real business decisions using the new Pinterest Analytics.

 

 

We launched Pinterest Analytics last month, and we wanted to give you more information on how you might interpret the data to take action on your Pins and in your business.

We worked with DODOCase, a San Francisco-based leather goods company, to walk through a real-life example of how a business can take action on the content and audience insights gleaned from Pinterest Analytics.

Let’s get started!

We’ll cover:
Your profile analytics 
Your audience
Your website analytics

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Read Article at business.pinterest.com

The Importance of Corporate Identity

At some point in time, the word “branding” began to be used interchangeably with “logo”. While brands are far more than logos, for many marketers the discipline of creating visual identity has been reduced to mere ornamentation.

Basically, corporate and brand identities are an expression and reflection of an organizations’s culture, character, personality, and its products and services – inspiring trust with consumers, employees, suppliers, partners and investors. In the middle of the 20th century, the development of visual identity systems became mainstay in almost all branding initiatives. Some examples that come quickly to mind are iconic brands that have stood the test of time – Coca-Cola, IBM, Mercedes, Ford, Levis and McDonald’s.

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Read the article at knowledge.ridivi.com

The end of advertising as we know it--and what to do now

By Rei Inamoto

AKQA’s Rei Inamoto argues that the thing we call advertising is over and offers four guidelines for moving into the next era, when 365-day connection, people-focused stories, and business invention will be key.

"How are we supposed to judge a creative idea versus a product idea?"

This was a question that surfaced during one of the many long judging sessions last week in the South of France where I got to preside over the Mobile category, one of the 16 categories at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

It caused quite a stir in the jury room. Some strongly argued that creative ideas and product ideas should not be in the same category, while others countered that real users don’t necessarily differentiate the two. Whether it’s a campaign or a product, brands are vying for people’s time. Another juror posed a slightly more existential question: Why would we assume campaign ideas are creative and product ideas are not?

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Read Article at fastcocreate.com

5 Timeless Marketing Lessons for Today's Brands from Visionary Designer Paul Rand

By Hugh Hart


On the re-issue of Thoughts on Design, Pentagram's Michael Bierut outlines some of Paul Rand's key lessons--still blindingly relevant for brands.

"For an advertisement to hold its own in the competitive race, the designer must steer clear of visual clichés by some unexpected interpretation of the commonplace." That's legendary designer and art director Paul Rand writing in his remarkably prescient 1947 book Thoughts on Design about the value of surprise in marketing. A master of advertising, editorial design and brand identity--his logos for ABC, IBM, UPS and Westinghouse are still in use some five decades after their creation--Rand inspired and influenced everyone from George Lois to Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive. And after a long period out of print, his seminal book, which captured his design philosophy and approach, is available again.

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Read Article at fastcocreate.com

Likeable Business: Why Today's Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver

by Dave KerpenTheresa Braun , Valerie Pritchard

It pays to be LIKEABLE!

You can have a rock-solid business strategy, unlimited resources, and the most talented people on staff. But only one thing is guaranteed in today’s hyperconnected society: if your business isn’t likeable, it will fail.

Dave Kerpen knows how important it is for a business to be liked—by customers, employees, stakeholders, and the general public. He wrote the book on it. His groundbreaking bestseller Likeable Social Media changed the way businesses interact with their customers on a daily basis. Likeable Business lays out 11 strategies for organizations of all sizes to spur growth, profits, and overall success. Dave Kerpen reveals the remarkable returns you’ll get when you gain the trust of your customers and stakeholders. In today’s social media world, it literally pays to be likeable.

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Available on Amazon.com

Three Digital Marketing Trends for 2014 and Beyond

by 

Earlier this fall, I keynoted at Lee Jean’s Digital Days, a day long event for Lee Jean’s marketing teams and their agency partners. They asked me to share a few digital marketing trends that were beyond the tipping point. I discussed three: Real-Time Marketing, Creating Youtility, and Empowering Employees & Fans.

The term Real-Time Marketing is overhyped. I’m sure a few of you are rolling your eyes right now. I get it, but I don’t think we – in the digital marketing industry – have really defined it and provided the rationale for a more steady state of Real-Time Marketing.

What does Real-Time Marketing mean?

Real Time Marketing is using data analytics with a process flow to shift marketing messaging in real time or near real time.

The key words in my definition are really process, flow, and shift. Real-Time Marketing isn’t going to work without a documented and blessed process flow. If there is no shift in your marketing messaging, then there’s no “real-time” element.

You can call it whatever you want if you think the term “Real-Time Marketing” is too limiting or overhyped. Call it Agile, Marketing in the Moment, Engagement Marketing…

Really, at its core, it is simply Marketing.

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Read Article at convinceandconvert.com

The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014

By 

The Internet has drastically altered the way in which information is shared, and has had a profound impact on marketing. Over the past few years, there has been more of a shift toward inbound techniques, while many outbound tactics have become antiquated. More businesses are finding success publishing original content rather than embedding advertisements within external content, because of the additional benefits these tactics offer, such as branding and audience growth.

With these trends in mind, let’s discuss my predictions for the top online marketing trends of 2014.

1.      Content Marketing Will be Bigger Than Ever

One of the main ways that companies are establishing authority and gaining trust with consumers is by consistently creating valuable content through a variety of channels. This typically involves relevant industry information that provides insight or entertainment to an audience. Doing so allows a company to steadily build rapport with its demographic and develop a loyal following. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, articles on a business’s website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites.

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Read Article at forbes.com

Insights for 2013: Understanding Your Customers & The Full Value of Digital

 by Paul Muret

We’re just a week into 2013, and we’re undeniably living in the new multi-screen age. Our day-to-day interactions with technology—and our expectations—have increased dramatically. We’re no longer content to wait until later to buy shoes or schedule travel or find a hot spot to eat. Technology lets us act now, and we expect reliable results. In fact, we’ve become so dependent on being connected all the time that 43% of U.S. adults would be willing to give up beer for a month if it meant they could keep accessing the Internet on their smartphones, and 36% said they’d be willing to give up chocolate.*

What does this mean for you? Many businesses have fallen behind consumer behavior—in a world where people look first to mobile devices and real-time streams, the digital journey has grown more complex, and it’s become more challenging to gain a clear picture of these interactions. As a marketer or analyst, your success depends on adapting to this new reality. We’re working to provide tools that let you connect the dots, so you can regain visibility into your customers’ preferences and behaviors and take advantage of the full value of digital.

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Read Article on the Google Analytics Blog

10 Best Practices to Help Big Brands Get Started on Twitter

by Shelley Pringle

While a relatively small percentage of the adult population is active on Twitter, there are still plenty of solid business reasons for brands to engage on this social media platform.

Consumers may be conversing about your brand—in either positive or negative ways. Competitors could be active on the platform, dominating your category with their 140-character tweets. Twitter is also the place to reach people who have influence elsewhere, including relevant bloggers and even traditional media contacts.

However, it is not wise to start tweeting up a storm without thinking through your goals or how to measure your activity.

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Read Article on polarisprinc.com

Content Marketing Advice from 17 Online Marketing Experts

By Steven Sefton

Content marketing is becoming an increasingly sought after skill in the world of online marketing. Traditional link building for SEO purposes is becoming a riskier business, and with the amount of online noise, it is harder than ever for your content to stand out from everything else that is happening on the internet.

From 6 second vines to 30,000 word guides, content marketing principles can be applied to just about anything that you need to promote online, regardless of the medium.

Inbound.org has some of the best online marketing related content around, shared by some of the best online marketers around. I asked 17 of the top rated members of inbound.org this question: What is your best content marketing tip? And here’s what they had to say…

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Read Article at seftonmedia.com

Why Use Google Plus? A Quick Guide and Glossary to Google+

By Kristen Curtiss

Google Plus remains a mystery for many small business owners and nonprofits. Why? People feel that there are so many social networks to choose from. They also can’t seem to find the benefit in starting a completely new presence on yet another completely new platform, especially when they don’t know ANYONE else using Google Plus.

Here’s a quick guide and glossary that will explain why you should use Google Plus, the benefits of using it, and what you need to know to get started.

Relationship building is key

Creating relationships with industry influencers (who may have big followings on Google Plus) might not seem that important to your business, until you realize that those relationships could extend your reach and help you become visible. Let’s say you run a flower shop in Topeka, Kansas, and you’ve nurtured relationships with national brands and/or influencers who live in another area. Who do you think those people will recommend when one of their thousands of followers need flowers while visiting Kansas? No, not your competition down the street…you! They know you, they trust you, and your name comes to mind first because they have held conversations with you.

 

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Read Article at constant contact.com

21 Simple Ways to Get More Followers for Your Google Plus Business Page

By Stephen Walsh

Google Plus has more than one billion registered (and 359 million active) users, as well as some of the most business-friendly features of any social network, this is the time to start building out your business page, if you haven’t done so already.

 

As additional incentive, Google Plus has been shown to dramatically improve search engine rankings, which, in itself, is a sufficient reason to join the platform. By building your brand through this social media channel, you will be able to boost your SEO efforts and increase your business’s online exposure.

So, let’s jump in and take a look at some of the awesome ways to increase your exposure on Google Plus.

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Read Article at entrepreneur.com

Why Branding Is An Artifact Of The Past

By Brian Millar

A short while ago, I wrote an article on this site suggesting that you can’t build a brand simply by setting out to build a brand. And in fact, thinking too much about brands can actually get in the way of the real business of your company. I suggested that you try an experiment: Stop talking about brands for a month, and see what happens. The article got a lot of attention on Twitter, and provoked a lively debate in the post’s comments section.

Read Article at fastcodesign.com

How-to: Package Your Services Like a Pro

by Justine Smith

Service providers sometimes find it tough to actually sell their services, especially when it comes to selling them online. The services offered may, in fact, be the best in the industry, or even in high demand, but people just aren’t clicking to buy. Why is that? 

Most often the issue is something simple: it’s the website copy. The copy is failing to give potential clients clarity on just what the service provider can do for them and how it will benefit them.

It’s much easier if you’re selling your services face-to-face, since you’re working from a real conversation with the client where you can build rapport, and then probe for their pain points. From there, you can make best-fit suggestions for each client, and then even up-sell to offer a more complete solution. But when you rely on your website to generate leads or sales, your copy needs to do the face-time for you. So, where to begin?

For starters, many businesses will offer either too many service options, or too few. It’s easy for service businesses to fall into the trap of offering an extensive, laundry list of “things you can do” for clients and leave it at that. The common mentality is that the more options there are, the better, since there’s “something for everyone” on your list.

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Read Article at freshbooks.com

2014 Online Marketing Industry Survey

The past year was eventful for the online marketing industry. Once again, we set out to discover how the year's changes impacted your jobs, clients, and tactics.

Over 3,700 of you participated in this year's industry survey (thank you!), and we've compiled theresults below. Across the board, content marketing is on the rise and fewer and fewer of you are actively link-building. Keyword research and rank-tracking are still a big part of many of your jobs. Budgets for tools are increasing, and demand for services is strong.

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Read Article on mod.com

3 Small Business Marketing Predictions for 2014

By Stephen Russell

As we march through the final month of 2013, it’s a great time to reflect on the year that was. It’s also an opportunity to look into the crystal ball to see what’s coming in 2014.

Here are three to watch out for in the year to come:

  1. Big data for small business
  2. Mobile commerce becomes the norm
  3. Show, not tell, on social media

 

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Read Article at constant contact.com

Pinterest Marketing: Using Pinterest for Business

by 

Pinterest is the world’s fastest growing social network and thus many companies are adding Pinterest marketing to their overall strategy. Having achieved 2000% growth in 2012, with 28 million US visitors as of December, up from 25 million in September, Pinterest is achieving a trajectory comparable to Twitter a few years ago.

However, for businesses it has not been the easiest social network to get to a grip on. They recently launched Pinterest for Business, but they are still holding back on unveiling a long awaited public API.

The Hidden Value of Pinterest Marketing

According to the LA Times it is “ranked by Experian as the third-most-popular social network behind Twitter and Facebook.” Its real strength for businesses lies in the demographics. Forbes reports Pinterest is very popular with “college-educated females between the ages of 25 of 44.” Known as a ‘sweet spot’, for brands, due to their purchasing power, and prolific use of e-commerce and social networks.

Wired notes that “a Pinterest user is 72 percent more likely to have found an item to buy on the site than a Facebook user.” If you are an e-commerce company, or drive any significant amount of your revenue from these demographics, then marketing Pinterest for your business is something you are going to want to dedicate time to in 2013.

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Read Article on topdogsocialmedia.com

These Five Brands Are Nailing It on Pinterest

by Hannah Clark

When it comes to Pinterest, many brands aren’t quite sure how to turn boards and pins into followers and potential customers. However, now more than ever it is important not to overlook this image sharing social network.

Pinterest users have proven that they trust their Pinterest networks to endorse solid products. These people trust their networks so much, in fact, that 47% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest.

Pinterest also generates 4x more revenue per click than Twitter and 27% more per click than Facebook.

There are a few brands, however, who have figured out the business potential of Pinterest. See how these 5 brands have been using it to the fullest. 

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Read Article at socialmediatoday.com

The 9 Must-Have Components of Compelling Email Copy

by Corey Eridon

Email marketing has come a long way in just the past few years, but with all the fancy new functionality brands are utilizing, you know what’s kind of funny? A well-written plain text email can perform just as well, if not better, than a highly designed email with tons of bells and whistles. In fact, no matter how fancy your marketing emails look, if they’re devoid of well-written content, your subscribers will stop opening and start deleting your messages, and your list will quickly dwindle in value.

So how do you write a great marketing email? It all comes down to a few copywriting best practices that you should apply to both the subject line of your message, and the message body itself. Next time you draft a message for a lead nurturing campaign or just a one-time email send, ask yourself whether your copy meets all of these guidelines first.

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Read Article at hubspot.com

The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

by Michael Margolis

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative – you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you – and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles. Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Read Article at 99u.com

Let Your Personality Get You Noticed

by Julie Bateman

My email inbox is out of control. So is my mailbox. And there’s that pile of newspapers and magazines sitting over there…

Some days I can barely skim the subjects of my emails, or flip through my mail. It makes me wonder if my email and marketing messages are getting read, or lost in someone else’s stack.

Whether you’re sending out a marketing message, or simply corresponding with a client, your message has to get read. But how?

It’s your personality.

Most of the copy I read is full of jargon and lacks warmth. The images used are often cliché or over used. They don’t mean anything to me. It doesn’t pull me in or engage me, so I don’t read very far.

The messages that stand out to me have a different tone to them. That difference is personality. What moves me, makes me stop and listen, no matter what the subject, is a genuine voice.

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Read Article at BatemanDesignGroup.com

The Four Benchmarks for the Business-Generating Independent Agency Website

by 

Are you happy with your website? 

If you're like most small agency principals (owners of agencies with fewer than 100 full-time employees), I know the answer is probably no. The typical agency principal is unhappy with their site.

But why is that, and what's the fix?

I don't know if it's something in the water or what, but the theme of 2013 so far seems to be "all or nothing." It feels like a high-stakes year, and this is a high-stakes topic. There's only one thing that I think will make and keep you, the small agency principal, happy with your site: money.

If you know that your site is generating business, you're going to be happy with it. If it's not, you won't be. Sure, you were excited when you put your new site live, but you never were completely happy with the design, were you? Furthermore, the web is a shrine to entropy — what's revolutionary today is dated tomorrow, and I know that agencies feel the burn of this as much as anyone...

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Read Article at newfangled.com

What Makes a Website Look Dated?

by James George

As designers, we always want to create work that is either on the cutting-edge or “classic” and timeless. It is important to have a design that looks great and is conceived deliberately in a current style. Having an outdated style for your website can leave a negative impression with your visitors, reduce your overall traffic, and lower the interest and credibility of your site.

Retro or vintage designs are great, but retro/vintage and outdated are two entirely different concepts, and no visitor will interpret an outdated site as a purposeful throwback to an earlier time. You can avoid the dreaded dated look by steering clear of these seven pitfalls.

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Read Article at sitepoint.com

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