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The Jewel Wasp is perhaps the craziest parasite in nature, and it has a pretty interesting method of getting other bugs to do what it wants.
It actually enslaves cockroaches by stinging their brains and injecting a mind-controlling venom. According to Wired, “The wasp then leads the zombified roach by its antenna to a chamber, where it lays a single egg on its perfectly relaxed host and seals it inside with pebbles. Here, the larva bores into the cockroach and feeds off its organs before killing it and emerging from its corpse into the light of day.”
Unfortunately for designers and marketers, we possess no such venom. Even if we did, using it to get our users to take a desired action would be highly unethical. Not to mention highly illegal.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have tools at our disposal to influence behavior. We do. And the first one is gaining a comprehensive understanding of why people do what they do.
It’s no secret that, like many moms who work outside the home, there are times when my roles blur. How often have we made a quick call to the pediatrician’s office in between meetings? Or answered a work email while feeding dinner to our children? Living in a digital world has given us tremendous flexibility to multi-task and to be plugged in more often then ever.
But what has surprised me as I’ve learned to juggle these two demanding roles – digital marketing project manager and mom – is how many correlations exist between them. I’ve started to realize that it takes a specific set of core skills to be great at both.
Being a mother has been the most rewarding and difficult job I’ve ever had. Before my son was born, I felt so many emotions. Nearly six years later, I’m enjoying this wild ride, with so much still to learn.
So, in honor of this coming Mother’s Day, here are a few things I’ve learned about project management from building a relationship with my absolute neediest client… my five year old.
As you can imagine, we do quite a bit of brand work. Frankly, it’s one of our favorite things to do. Working with new product launches or start-ups is particularly exciting. The entire world is at our fingertips. We can craft the perfect story and message to encapsulate the heart and purpose of the organization.
Even when established brands need help taking their brands in a new direction, the work is exhilarating. I don’t think there is anything more challenging or more rewarding than boiling down a company’s tools, technologies, people, and culture into a succinct, powerful story that helps them connect with customers.
Great companies have personality. They have history and stories to tell. They have unique products and services. They aspire to solve problems and serve their various market segments.
However, one thing that often gets overlooked when companies build their brand is trust.
The biggest misconception around content marketing might be that it’s a recent innovation. The truth is, it’s far from it.
Way back in 1895, John Deere started delivering a monthly publication called “The Furrow” to farmers. The magazine not only told them great things about John Deere products, it also included tips on how to be a better farmer. In the grainy, black and white pages of “The Furrow”, content marketing was officially born.
It wasn’t long before other brands followed -- Jell-O soon started printing recipe books and Proctor & Gamble invented the soap opera to sell more soap. Today, there’s not a single B2B client I meet that doesn’t discuss thought leadership as a goal, or a B2C client that doesn’t want to differentiate through branded content.
But the world has changed since John Deere’s time. It has gotten harder to earn the trust of consumers because so many of them have been burned by marketers in the past. Marketers told them smoking was good for them. Marketers told them dried up shrimp were magical creatures called “sea monkeys” and that they could buy real X-Ray glasses for a dollar.
Consumers have been conditioned to think you’re always trying to sell to them. That they can’t take you at your word. Today, it’s not enough to come right out and tell people why you’re a great brand. Not the way John Deere was able to do it. Today, you have to do more.