Notable & Quotable this Week: Smart Appliances, Smarter Humans

January 15, 2016

Your self-driving rideshare parks gently in your driveway. You unlock the house with your fingerprint, and when you walk inside your smartphone starts charging in your pocket. You notice your dishwasher has ordered more detergent, and your fridge reports that you’re low on milk.

That’s the vision of the future the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions team saw when we trekked to fabulous Las Vegas for CES 2016 last week. Our devices are getting smarter, not just meeting our needs but anticipating them. The trends were undeniable: more gadgets, more automation, less human interaction. These trends affect every area of our lives, including (and especially) our marketing efforts.

As marketing tech gets smarter and more automated, it’s up to us to get smarter, too. We need to remember that our audience is human. We need to use technology to enhance the humanity we bring to marketing, not replace it.

This week’s roundup of marketing articles explores the future of marketing and underscores the importance of the human element. It features revolutionary content marketing ideas from Joe Pulizzi, Bernie Borges, and Mathew Sweezey; some statistics-heavy predictions for 2016; and a deep meditation on tragedy and social media from Moz’s Erica McGillivray.

Read on for the marketing content that made us sit up and take notice this week.

A Content First Business for eLearning University

Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi has been at the forefront of content marketing for nearly a decade. His latest book, Content Inc., takes the idea of a content-driven business and pushes it even further. Instead of making content to support your business, he makes a case for starting with content and building a business to support it. The SlideShare below is a great primer on the Content Inc. model, with plenty of real-world examples.

The Ice Cream Sandwich Approach to Content Marketing

Here’s a big idea, courtesy of Find and Convert CEO Bernie Borges: For an overtaxed marketing department, the organization’s employees are a fantastic content marketing asset. They have specialized knowledge about the organization. Many deal with customers daily and have a good idea of what’s top-of-mind. Yet many marketing departments overlook the potential of employee stories, and employees aren’t trained to tell stories in a compelling fashion.

For Bernie, the perfect content marketing sandwich has employee contribution in the middle, with a layer of storytelling on top and marketing on the bottom. He calls this confection “cross-functional content marketing,” and the article includes examples from enterprise-level brands that do it right.

“Content marketing can no longer be considered the sole responsibility of a traditional marketing department.” Bernie Borges, Founder & CEO, Find and Convert

The X Factor: The Secret to Better Content Marketing

The statistics that Salesforce’s Mathew Sweezey brings to light in this SlideShare are sure to make the most jaded marketer shudder. Forty-two percent of marketers say it takes 2-5 weeks to create a single piece of content. Seventy-one percent of B2B buyers have been disappointed with content they downloaded. Only 2.5% of people visit another page on a site after reading a blog post. They’re all sobering statistics, if not downright horrifying.

Mathew proposes an Agile content creation approach to address each of these marketing challenges. According to Mathew, Agile processes enable marketers to create and refine content more quickly. The SlideShare below provides an in-depth explanation of what Agile is, how it works, and how to implement it in your marketing department.

Digital Marketing in 2016: What Marketers need to Know

This infographic identifies twelve trends the cross-channel marketing experts at Signal believe will be significant in 2016, based on their research and supported with ample statistical evidence. There’s a surprising depth of information presented in a visually compelling format.

How to Build an Empathetic Social Media Strategy for Times of Tragedy

Moz’s Senior Community Manager Erica McGillivray takes a warts-and-all look at a sensitive topic in this post, mining her own experience for positive and negative examples. Most social media marketers use automation software to schedule posts—which can leave your brand looking clueless or insensitive when a tragedy dominates the news. Erica ponders when it’s appropriate to comment on a tragedy, when to extend a statement of support, and when it’s best to stay silent.

“Your brand is made of people. Your community is made of people. Acting like a person during tragedies is the most concrete action you can take from those ‘humanizing your brand’ books ubiquitously living on marketers’ shelves.” Erica McGillivray, Senior Community Manager, Moz

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