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The everything, something, and anything of marketing
by John Moore for WOMMA

It can be easy to become distracted by all of the “new” trends in marketing. Many have embraced content marketing and brand journalism, others trumpet the impact of social media, and still others obsess over the potential of real-time. But ultimately, the goal of is the same as it’s always been: Get people to talk about your brand. Says Moore:

“Marketing has always been about giving customers reasons to talk so that they will feel more connected to a brand and more compelled to tell others about a brand.”

Even with all of the advancements in technology and evolution of strategies, the main goal of marketing remains unchanged. It’s important not to get caught up in the shiny newness of certain tactics, and remember your underlying goal. While the tactics are many, the basic concept of marketing is a humbly simple one:

“Marketing is anything that says something about anything.”

Channels and tools change. Remember to focus on what you say, and what you’re getting people to say, over any specific tactic.

Marketing analytics: Demystifying the process
by Paul Beaulieu for SmartBlog

Another thing that hasn’t changed about marketing: The need for metrics. One of the challenges traditional marketing agencies have faced in transitioning to more digital strategies is that they have trouble showing return on investment (ROI). In the past, marketers were able to get away with saying that it’s difficult to measure brand awareness. Now, with so many methods that can be used to get feedback, the pressure is on. Says Beaulieu:

“This is because marketing is a very dynamic process. You must change with market conditions, regulatory change, and changing client preferences. A good marketer understands this and is constantly tweaking and changing to optimize the results.”

There are a variety of ways for marketers to use analytics to track the ways they promote their brand and how/if they are working. So, when developing a strategy, be sure to address areas that can be measured, such as increased revenue, cost cutting, and customer satisfaction. The metrics by which you measure the success of your marketing efforts should match with success metrics of the overall business.

Do you really understand what omnichannel means?
by Steven Kramer for Retail Online Integration

One example of a marketing shift that might distract from your underlying goals is the rise of omnichannel retail. A majority of retailers are saying they want to explore omnichannel opportunities, but only a select few actually know what that truly means, says Kramer:

“Omnichannel is about giving consumers the ability to enjoy the same high quality brand experience across every possible connection channel. Whether the consumer interacts with the brand on his or her mobile device or in a store aisle, the experience is consistent.”

Being consistent doesn’t mean the experience has to be identical. One prime example of the use of omnichannel opportunities is when brands offer online shopping with in-store pickup. We recently discussed why this practice doesn’t mean prices have to be the same everywhere — they can be a factor of the customer’s experience.

Kramer details the key components of a successful omnichannel campaign, and they include: Single view of inventory, in-store/digital crossover, flexibility, mobile commerce, social media, and platform integration.

Social commerce rises from the dead
by Nader Ali-Hassan for Ad Age

We’ve discusses social commerce since our founding. Yet in eight years, so many companies have failed to understand what successful social marketing looks like — getting distracted by the tool and forgetting the customer. They jumped into immediate, pushy sales tactics, rather than seeing social networks for what they are: A place to engage with and reward your most loyal fans. Says Ali-Hassan:

“Brands need to view social channels as what they are and reward their communities’ loyalty with exclusive products, one-of-a-kind deals, and experiences that ultimately lead to increased passion from their followers.”

It’s not about directly selling a product on social media. Instead, it’s about engaging audiences and providing original experiences for consumers who already love you. If something of valued is offered, people are more likely to interact with the brand. A 2012 study by Accenture found that 61% of online shoppers would be willing to give up data for personally relevant offers.

Including social experiences for consumers is working for the brands that do it right. Personalizing campaigns and offering value works.