Earning Audience Engagement with the Element of Surprise

What Marketers Were Reading and Sharing Most This Week

February 9, 2018

Surprised Woman

The resounding theme of Sunday’s Super Bowl? Surprise. And we’re not just talking about the game itself, in which Nick Foles and the underdog Eagles toppled Tom Brady’s dynastic Patriots. There were plenty of other bold and unexpected treats in store for the global spectacle’s millions of viewers.

From Justin Timberlake’s halftime duet with a giant projection of Prince to Netflix’s out-of-nowhere launch of a new Cloverfield movie, the evening was full of audacious choices.

Those two moments in particular seem reflective of trends within the world of marketing, where there’s a growing focus on thinking outside the box to break through and earn attention.

JT’s performance was a chaotic frenzy, as he somehow packed 10 songs into 13 minutes while switching settings constantly. Adhering to the principles of modern marketing, he provided his content for free in hopes of realizing profit with a coinciding boost for his new album — and it worked, as Timberlake’s sales soared by 534%.

Meanwhile, Netflix made an unprecedented move that — according to AdWeek — “changes the movie marketing game.” Even film industry insiders were unaware of the streaming service’s plans to release a new installment from a heavy-hitting Hollywood franchise until it was announced, in a commercial during the Super Bowl, that The Cloverfield Paradox would be available for viewing immediately after the game.

This gambit from Netflix mirrors a convention we’ve seen more and more in the entertainment industry; Beyonce similarly employed the element of surprise in 2016 when releasing her album “Lemonade” with almost zero promotional buildup.

Regardless of your feelings on the execution of these efforts, it’s great to see entertainers and brands finding new ways to keep audiences on their toes. With an eye on helping your marketing campaigns surprise and delight, here’s our latest weekly roundup of trending content from around the web.

What Marketers Were Reading and Sharing Most This Week:

1. Here Are the 3 Big Trends That Ruled This Year’s Super Bowl Ads

While Super Bowl commercials don’t usually have much crossover with B2B marketing campaigns, I always like to try and extract takeaways from the most successful ads as far as what is resonating with audiences, and which approaches big-budget advertisers are taking. Kristina Monllos distills three key trends from this year’s batch: repetition to counteract multitasking, injection of humor, and altruism.

2. How to Earn More Links and Social Shares: Insights From 759 Content Marketing Campaigns

Fractl analyzed hundreds of campaigns in an effort to determine which traits are conducive to superior social sharing results, and the agency’s Director of Marketing Kerry Jones shared results at Moz. In light of today’s theme, this finding is worth calling out: “Surprising campaigns earned 39% more media pickups and 108% more social shares than campaigns that weren’t surprising.”

3. The End of an Era: How Marketers Must Respond to Google Chrome's Update

A new update affecting ad delivery on Google Chrome browsers will be rolled out next week. How can marketers prepare? John Hall says we should focus on two factors: better experiences and digital accountability.

4. The Secret to SEO Success in 2018

Filled with stats and supporting visuals, this SlideShare from PageTraffic CEO Naveneet Kaushal offers tons of good info on adapting your strategy in a rapidly changing SEO landscape:

5. Build a Better B2B Website in 3 Steps

Is your company website driving business results? At HubSpot, Brent Adamson suggests three actions that can lead to fast improvements. Added pro tip: Use LinkedIn Website Demographics to ensure you are understanding and capitalizing upon your traffic.

6. The Art and Science of Storytelling — And How to Use Both to Reach Your Audience

Every content marketer should be proficient with storytelling, which has an amazing power to engage and move audiences. Brittni Kinley lays out some questions we should ask ourselves to guide this process. On that note, make sure to keep your eyes peeled here for our upcoming eBook on the craft of storytelling for marketers, Once Upon a Digital Time.

7. 6 Steps to Account-Based Marketing Success

Need a primer on ABM and how to make it work? These quick slides from Dun & Bradstreet detail the essentials for an increasingly common B2B approach:

8. 3 Word of Mouth Marketing Techniques That Could Explode The Growth Of Your Brand

We don’t all have the luxury of getting exposure in front of 100 million Super Bowl viewers, so expanding your reach often requires creative thinking. Mitt Ray posits that employee advocacy, external influencers, and contests can increase your word-of-mouth buzz. (We’d humbly propose that LinkedIn is a great platform for all three initiatives.)

9. 5 Brands Share Their Content Marketing Process

Take an inside look at how five different companies formulate, execute, and measure their content campaigns with this breakdown via Nichole DeMeré.

10. Content Marketing 2018 Trends And Statistics [Infographic]

Want to verse yourself in the latest numbers that matter for both B2C and B2B content marketers? Catch up on key stats around usage, creation, distribution, and more in this slick visual asset from Point Visible.

Looking for additional guidance on creating marketing content that surprises and delights? Subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing blog and be ready to expect the unexpected.