Measuring ROI is Kraft Foods’ secret spice for effective content marketing

By Sandra D’Souza

Kraft Foods has been able to make content marketing work for its business by measuring its Return on Investment (ROI). By studying the response of its audience, the company tailors its marketing for them and achieves higher returns.

Measuring ROI streamlines marketing strategy

When buying a new house, you need to study the property carefully to ensure you make the most out of your investment. Assess the indoors and the outdoors, and every nook and cranny to check for repairs. A fixer upper may be cheap at first, but it may end up being more costly than a house that is already in mint condition.

Similarly, this mindset should be carried out in content marketing. To get the most out of your strategy, you need to study it carefully and its impact. Nowadays, almost every company on the market is creating content. This leads to a saturated pipeline, which can drive out your content from the view of your audience. People only have 24 hours in a day to process information, and they may not get to yours! Therefore, you need to study your audience carefully: find out what they want, and the best way to present it to them. Soon, your content will come out on top of the ladder.

One of the companies making gains from this process is Kraft Foods. The company has already been generating content for quite some time through its Food & Family magazine, but it has recently adopted a mindset that equated its content marketing as similar with paid advertising. The food manufacturer puts investment behind its content, to maintain high quality and reap profits in return. “If you wouldn’t spend money behind it, then why do it? It’s shouting into the wind without making a sound…” said Julie Fleischer, the company’s director of Data, Content and Media.

So how does Kraft ensure that its content marketing makes the most bang for its buck? It studieshow its audiences respond to its content. The company has combined its data and management platforms to study over 22,000 characteristics of people that have interacted with it on the web. And then, it uses this data to generate content that will specifically cater to the preferences of its prospects. Moreover, the company gleans new interests and trends from this information to shape its advertising accordingly. But Kraft does not stop there. It determines whether its strategy leads to an increase in sales, Fleischer said.  This approach has supplied an equivalent of 1.1 billion of advertising impressions for Kraft each year. Aside from this, the return of investment (ROI) from Kraft’s content marketing strategy is four times better than its traditional advertising scheme, she said.

Know the Ins and Outs of ROI, and boost your content marketing

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all approach work, but marketers and companies can learn lessons from the example set by Kraft. Measuring the ROI of content marketing has delivered gains for the company, and may serve others well in the future. So how do you get started with the process?

Well, you should recognize the need to measure ROI of your content marketing strategy. This entails gauging the performance of your content on digital and social media. You should measure it in terms of whether it brought in revenue or lessened costs. This will require testing your ideas, to know what works and what does not.

Now, how do you do this? First, you’ll need the numbers behind the content!

When using metrics, strive to understand the story behind them to see how they impact your business. Make use of key performance indicators that measure how your prospects engage with your content and the time it takes for them to make an action. You need to factor in all the costs associated with customer acquisition, which includes the expenses on advertising and sales staff, as well as on outsourced jobs, if there is any. Compute that against the number of people that have engaged on your website, and that’s how much you spend on your content marketing.

But of course, the process does not stop there. You also need to measure the number of the site visitors that become your customers. Otherwise, you won’t know whether your strategy has been effective. From there, you also need to gauge how your strategy provides new business for your company. This entails setting up a closed loop marketing system where the marketing and sales platforms share information about leads in order to turn them into loyal customers. For instance, leads that come through the HubSpot platform are then assigned to salespersons coming from Salesforce. In the end, this can become a win-win for both marketing and sales, as it enhances the efficiency of their respective jobs. If you go back to Kraft’s example, you can see that they have done the same thing.

In the midst of all of these, there is one thing you shouldn’t forget: the people you care about.These individuals do not only buy from you, but they are willing to share your content to others. You should nurture them throughout your strategy to bolster marketing for your business. Better yet, you may use their insights to create appealing content in your website and turn more prospects into customers.

Measuring the return on investment of your content marketing could enhance its potential to gain customers for your company and increase your business as a result. It may be challenging to do at first, but it will help you reap rewards in the long run.

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Why an ad-free, social media platform is too good to be true

By Sandra D’Souza

A new social media platform known as “Ello” has made waves on the internet on the promise of being ad-free.

A Social Media Platform just for you?

For many Facebook users, scrolling down their news feed can be a way to procrastinate or keep tabs on their friend’s lives. Some posts can make you laugh, while others simply pique your interest. As you scroll down the page, you chance upon articles on weight loss supplements, online sale of gadgets and similar others that you have not liked or followed. Do you find this annoying? Or do you simply ignore these ads and move along?

If these items are a nuisance to you, then you might find new social media channel Ellointeresting. The new entrant to the world of social media claims to shield users from beingbombarded with intrusive ads. Its manifesto states that advertisers pay social media networks to access profiles and user posts, and utilise these to push market their products and services. In essence, people that join social media networks are “the product that’s being bought and sold,” according to the Ello ‘About’ page.

This statement coupled with their ad-free promise of a social network has attracted thousands to flock to the new platform. As of Sept. 9, Ello received 34,000 requests to join every hour. However, the membership on the newest social media network is by invitation only, and those who are already registered can only add up to five friends.  You can request an invitation on the site, but itmay take weeks before you secure an approval.

Paul Budnitz, the CEO of Ello, created the social media site for his own circle of friends. The clutter made by advertisements prevented Budnitz from seeing the posts of his friends, thus he built an alternative. Soon enough, the site gained traction and was made available to 90 users by Aug. 7. Now Ello is seeing thousands of requests each day. However, the surge in applicants to the site may be fueled by the fear of missing out on a new trend.

Aside from its strong stance against ads, Ello also does not track your location, and it allows you to use pseudonyms on your own account. Recently, Facebook’s  “real name policy” inspired backlash from many. This news made Ello a better substitute for Facebook, even if the social media behemoth has since then changed its policy and offered an apology for those affected. Nevertheless, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg doesn’t appear to be concerned much about Ello. “I haven’t seen the site. Ever since I’ve been at Facebook, I see things all the time which are like, ‘My Mom’s getting on Facebook, I’m getting off’…What really matters is that people get the best product. And they get that by a company being very focused.”

Following its skyrocketing debut, pundits have been  doubtful whether this new social media platform will fare well.  Its stance on being ad-free could run out of steam, since it received$435,000 in seed funding from FreshTracks Capital in Vermont. This relationship may soon compel the company to look for avenues of profit, and compromise its manifesto eventually.  Budnitz, however, said that they still own the majority stake in Ello, and they plan to rake in profits by offering users to purchase additional features and customise their experience.

Ads are starting to creep up in other social media platforms

The revolutionary stance of Ello on ads seems so promising; it might inspire a new trend across other social media channels. This might be too optimistic though, with the advent of advertising on previously ad-free platforms. First off is Instagram. Users in Australia will soon notice ads from partners of the photo-sharing company under the roll-out of its advertising platform. Instagram has teamed up with brands like Kraft, Ben & Jerry’s Vegemite, Audi, Lenovo and others. Concerned users, however, can hide and provide feedback on the ads that they see in their feeds. Chris Chambers, digital marketing director of Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), said the partnership with the photo-sharing platform will allow them to share the beauty of spending the holidays in Queensland. Meanwhile, the proliferation of ads on the site will enable Instagram to expand its business.

Another social media platform that will soon roll out ads is Snapchat, said CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel. The Stories feature that hosts photos and videos for 24 hours only would soon be the venue for advertising. Aside from this, the company will also release a stand-alone app of Stories known as Snapchat Discovery, which would also serve the same purpose. The proliferation of ads at the company worth $10 billion will allow it to generate revenue and address the demands of its investors. Spiegel said users would still be in control of whether they want to see the ads or not. For marketers, the move offers new opportunities, but given the self-destruct feature of posts, it is uncertain whether they will be able to conduct further verification on effectiveness.

Social media as tools for marketing and commerce seems to be the future.  What were once ad-free platforms are changing their stance. Facebook and Twitter are soon launching a “buy” button on their respective websites to capitalise on the upcoming holiday season. The plan builds on the notion that people purchase products and services based on the reviews and recommendations given by their friends on social media. To be successful, ads should be targeted to the right person to ensure that they would be encouraged to use the button.

An ad-free social media platform comes at a price

Advertising seems to be a permanent fixture in the realm of social media, since it would be the only way for these sites to last for a long time. Therefore, Ello may need to be tested if it stays true on its manifesto.

But, if you really want to stay from ads, you can do it. You just need to cough up $9,000 to join theNetropolitan Club. The site bills itself as a network for “people with more money than time.” Netropolitan offers an ad-free refuge for those who can afford it, and the site is not indexed toGoogle. In addition to the $9,000 initiation fee, you also need to pay $3,000 yearly under your membership. Users would be able to gain access to a platform that is similar to other free social media networks, but they would get to connect with other wealthy members and discuss luxurious endeavors in discussion forums without condemnation. Moreover, members would also have an unlimited cloud storage drive. The site, however, is not a concierge service, so users should not expect that moderators would get them a seat at a charter jet or any other favours.

Therefore, evading ads on social media comes at a high cost. It is not yet known whether Ello can be a truly advertising-free environment for the long term.  If you want to be bothered less, you can also simply ignore the ads in your feed, writes Metro’s Jessica Napier. Like an old adage says, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Ads will be prevalent, whether in social media or not, but it is still your call whether you’d be affected by them. Or if you really don’t like them, you may just have to find a way to get that Ello invitation – or spend over $9,000, so you better start saving!

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Kevin Spacey Unravels the Power of Storytelling for Content Marketing

By Sandra D’Souza

Award-winning Hollywood actor and producer Kevin Spacey discusses the impact of storytelling for content marketing at the recent Content Marketing World 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Not-So-Secret Sauce for an Effective Content Marketing

“Good content marketing has always been about the story,” said Hollywood actor and producer Kevin Spacey at the recent Content Marketing World 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.  In his opening remarks, he voiced out a question that everybody else in the room was afraid to ask: What was he doing there? Responding to his own question, he confirmed that when we took away all the layers, everyone from marketers to movie stars were all looking to connect with their audiences. He then amused the crowd by stating that he even knew all their ‘f-in’ buzzwords – authenticity, engagement, SEO!

Spacey was singled out by the Content Marketing Institute as the closing keynote speaker for the event because of his understanding on the role of storytelling for successful content marketing, said Joe Pulizzi, founder of the organization. After all, the actor tops the bill for the web television series “House of Cards,” a drama about politics, maintaining a stellar performance.  Spacey uses this experience and similar others to highlight the difference that storytelling makes for content marketing. Great stories enable companies to engage their audience, which then allow them to genuinely put forward their products and services without turning it into a sales pitch.

So what makes for an attention-grabbing story?  In his speech, the actor explains that it consists ofconflict, authenticity and consideration for its audiences. A convincing narrative with well-built tension could pique the interests of people, and keep them coming back for more. Nike plays this well in encouraging people to get up from the couch and pursue their dreams.

Tackling the unexpected may be difficult but rewarding. “Our stories become far more interesting when they go against the settled order of things,” he explained.

Aside from this, a convincing tale also needs to be authentic to reel audiences in. To explain this point, the actor narrated the advertising move on Volkswagen’s VW Beetle to boost its sales in the U.S. Advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernbach opted to take some risks and emphasize the true benefits of the German brand’s small cars amid the popularity of large vehicles back in the 1960s. Rather than hide the car’s small dimensions, the ads promoted the cost and parking advantages that came with it, and it paid off beautifully!

Another example is the more realistic and truthful plot of television shows nowadays, demanded by an audience who want to see ‘real’ characters. They no longer need to be nice and wholesome in order to be liked – just look at Walter White and the popularity he gained for his transformation! To apply this analogy, brands need to stay true to their image to earn the trust of their prospects.

What also constitutes as a compelling story is one that allows audiences to become part of the narrative itself and exercise more control. This was evident in the recent Ice Bucket challenge, that successfully helped to raise awareness and $100 million in donations for the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease.  The campaign was effective because it allowed audiences to take part in a major advocacy through a simple contribution, and one they could make their own.

With these principles in mind, you can create great narrative that will boost your company’s marketing efforts. Use these fundamentals to build the right story surrounding your brand and soon enough, you’ll be attracting a wider audience for your company.

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How Australia grabbed the top spot for digital marketing in the Asia Pacific

By Sandra D’Souza

Australia has emerged as No. 1 when it comes to digital marketing expertise in the Asia Pacific, according to a survey of the Chief Marketing Officer Council and Adobe. Here’s how the region bested its counterparts in the Asia Pacific.

Broader horizons: Digital marketing on different platforms

The famous saying, “hitting two birds with one stone” has been used countless times to describe objects, places or circumstances with utmost practicality, where goals are achieved with strategic effort. The premise behind this appears to be working for Australia right now, in terms of its expertise in digital marketing. Australia has landed the top spot for digital marketing across the Asia Pacific region, according to a survey done by the Chief Marketing Officer Council and Adobe. About 52% of organisations in Australia assign their chief marketing executives to manage digital marketing strategies, higher than the regional average of 39%, the survey found.  Moreover, 62% of the companies studied said they have a digital marketing expert in the leadership team, twice the Asia Pacific average of 39%.

This means that companies in Australia take a serious approach todigital marketing, especially considering the strong need to reach out to the “omnichannel” digital customer to gain an edge. This has prompted Australian marketers to expand their strategies to mobile, social and digital platforms to engage audiences. In addition, they use data not only for measurement, but also to develop effective online and offline marketing strategies.  Unlike China and Korea, Australia usesdata to influence campaign life cycle, said Liz Miller, vice president of marketing at CMO Council. “The skill level, mindset, expertise and sophistication (of the Australian marketing industry) are far more aligned with the US and Europe,” she said.

It can be said that Australian organisations use inward and outward approaches to maximisethe effectiveness of their digital marketing strategies. They ensure digital marketing expertise internally, and they use data to improve marketing tactics. Meanwhile, they utilize different platforms to reach out to more customers, but ensure a central integration to avoid digital silos.

Overcoming Barriers: Changing the marketing mindset

The CMO survey above noted that there remains a conflict between marketing and IT departments amid the growth of digital marketing in Australia. The issue may liein the perception of marketers seeing the IT as “hired help” which could prevent them from working together to create effective strategies.  However, there are companies that are no longer hindered with this kind of thinking. With the understanding of data and analytics, American Express has stopped sending emails to “everyone dead or alive in Australia,” said Jeffrey Evans, the company’s head of global digital marketing. Better relations with the IT department have allowed them to take on a wiser approach.

In order for brands to remain competitive, they need to rethink their digital marketing, saidCatherine Heath, head of strategy and planning for the U.S. west coast operations of digital agency Huge. They need to get past the “digital” label and inject life into their marketing. This is crucial nowadays that the first point of contact brands have with their customers is through the digital platform.

Aside from this, brands need to consider the entire purchasing process to craft effective digital marketing tactics. This includes using analytics to gauge the reaction of customers toward digital marketing platforms. It also entails interacting with them even after a purchase is made. This is especially important since customers can bolster marketing through word-of-mouth referrals.  Furthermore, this can yield vital information for a company’s product and/or services.

Maximising social media: Driving customer engagement

A LinkedIn study found that 89% of small and medium enterprises in Australia use social media to interact with their clients. Social media has allowed SMEs to maintain a consistent dialogue with their customers throughout the purchasing process. About 13% of 200 SMEs in Australia experienced hyper-growth last year related to their social media marketing platforms. Marketers, in turn, can help SMEs further their growth if they assistthem to integrate all the parts of their value chain on social media.

Australian marketers have achieved success in digital marketing by employing a multi-faceted approach to engage their customers on a wider scale. This includes improving their internal approaches to digital marketing, as well as improving their outward strategies, such as utilising the social media platform. Using this perspective may enable companies in Australia or worldwide, to enhance their digital marketing strategies and make them more effective.

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Taking a bite out of iOS 8 becomes treacherous for Apple users in Australia

By Sandra D’Souza

Apple rolled out iOS 8.0.2. to repair glitches such as Wi-Fi issues and problems with the Touch ID feature from its recently-released iOS 8.0.1. update.  However, these issues remain persistent for Apple customers in Australia who updated to the latest iOS version.

A great mobile device keeps it simple

Smartphones and tablets which implement simple and easy to use controls offer customers a great user experience.  This means that the device should be ready to use once it is outside of the box, without the cumbersome need to set up its different features. This is very important since mobile devices are now being used for tasks that are normally done on a desktop computer, because they offer a faster and a more convenient alternative.

One of the mobile device makers that put a premium on simplicity is Apple, especially on the physical appearance of its mobile phones.  From 2007 up to now, iPhones still feature a glass screen and a single button on the front. This includes the newly-launched iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models. Now the company seeks to expand its portfolio with a smartwatch and a mobile payment service.  These efforts may underscore Apple’s drive to keep things simple and convenient for its customers through its products in the market.  As a result, the demand for Apple products increased. The company has been able to ship 800 million OSX devices this year, said CEO Tim Cook.  This means that Apple products are widely used all over the world.

However, the company cannot escape a tidal wave of customer backlash if glitches are experienced in its products. Customers quickly publish their complaints online to elicit an immediate response from the company.

The iOS update that proved to be poisonous

            Apple rolled out its iOS 8 platform following its launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 plus models.  Customers who have updated to the iOS 8 platform encountered Wi-Fi connectivity issues, shorter battery life and slow performance of the Safari browser on their mobile devices. In response, the company released the iOS 8.0.1 to address these problems. However, the new operating system only made matters worse after causing dropped calls for users and disabling the Touch ID fingerprint feature on iPhone 6. It also prevented users from accessingthe HealthKit apps as part of the iPhone 6 rollout. This prompted Apple to release theiOS 8.0.2 update.

Unfortunately, some of these glitches remain persistent for some Apple users.  The problems with the updated iOS are particularly prevalent among Apple customers in Australia.  After updating his iPhone 6 to iOS 8.0.2, one customer said that the Touch ID has been “completely broken.” This has prevented him from “unlocking” his phone with his fingerprint.  Another user lamented that he has issues with Touch ID and cellular service that should have been resolved with the 8.0.2. update.

Other comments at the thread state that there have been improvements with the iOS 8.0.2. The issues appear to be concentrated among users in Australia. However, Apple Australia has yet to provide comments regarding these problems as of press time.

The temporary cure

For iPhones afflicted with iOS problems, there is still hope in having them fixed and returning them to a proper running condition. The answer lies in downgrading to the iOS 8 operating system. However, this would delete everything on the phone.

Users need to connect their phones first to iTunes on their computer, and back up their data with iCloud. After this, they can download the ipsw file for iOS 8 here. Users would need to enter their phone model to download the iOS8.0 firmware. And then, they should plug their phone once again to iTunes, and open the device window. They need to press the alt/option for Mac, or shift for Windows and then click the Restore button. Once done, users would need to select the ipsw software they have downloaded.

This would return the iPhone back to a working condition, but it is not advised to restore any data as it would overwhelm the service. The IOS 8.0 platform would only be temporary as Apple continues to address the glitches on its operating system.

However, users need to refrain from rebooting all their settings on iOS 8. A glitch on the system would delete documents from the iCloud drive on iPhone and  The “Reset All Settings” option states that any data or media will not be deleted, but it does the opposite. Apple users at reported that the bug takes out iWork documents such as spreadsheets. Meanwhile, Preview and TextEdit documents remain unaffected because these cannot be accessed on an iPhone.  The administration at the site tried the same thing, and even synced an iPhone with a Mac running on OS X Yosemite.  The Preview and TextEdit documents were immune to the bug, but all other documents were deleted from the machine as well.  One user tried theTime Machine application to retrieve the documents, but another said that his account was placed in troubleshooting mode to restore data. Apple is still waiting on the investigation of its engineers on the issue, and has yet to issue a solution for the problem.

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