Evolution of the Digital Marketing Landscape

StockSnap_YF9TNI3LDG.jpg

Digital disruption is a hot topic among marketers.

While the biggest websites in the world have held a tight grip on their places for years, seismic shifts in the marketing landscape have begun to unsettle some digital giants.

It seems the future isn’t as certain as it was before.

The Fall of Facebook

Over the past two years, Facebook has been hit with one storm after another, from fake news and Holocaust deniers, to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The backlash has been epic, with traffic being decimated, falling dramatically from 8.5 billion monthly visits to around 4.7 billion in just two years.

CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, hasn’t been immune to the damage either, as his personal net worth fell by a jaw-dropping $15 billion in July. It was the biggest single-day wipeout in the history of U.S. stock market losses.

However, don’t get the tombstone out just yet.

Facebook is much more than their own namesake property, as the parent company still owns WhatsApp and Instagram.

One is rapidly becoming the world’s favorite instant messaging platform, while the latter is arguably the hottest platform in social media right now, thanks to the world’s new-found obsession with visual content.

Facebook might be down, but it’s not gone which is good news, as they have some serious competition on their hands.

The Rising Digital Giants That Are Changing the Digital Marketing Landscape

Have you heard?

Content is no longer king.

Video content is king.

By 2019, video content will account for some 80% of all internet traffic. So, it’s no surprise that YouTube is bigger than ever, and Facebook is pushing video hard. It’s new Watch platform is Facebook’s very own TV channel.

Research shows that the YouTube video platform now has more than 1.8 billion active monthly users, putting it in 3rd place behind Facebook and Google.

Interestingly though, it is growing at twice the rate of Facebook, with user numbers up 20% from 1.5 billion over the past year.

And then there’s Amazon.

Currently fourth among the digital giants, Amazon is dominating retail, with expectations that they will account for at least 80% of total growth of the entire ecommerce market this year.

The rise from online bookstore to far-reaching technological behemoth has been astonishing. In just three years, revenue has surged from $149B in 2015 to $258B this year, increasing 29% since 2017.

With these big changes among the major forces, companies must consider how to adapt in the new digital marketing landscape.

How Marketers Are Adapting Their Digital Strategies

Facebook made big changes to its algorithm this year, with a desire to reconnect people with their friends and family, and thus retain their user base.

What that really meant for companies was it became even more of a ‘pay to play’ platform than it already was.

Social media is abundant with opportunities to build targeted audiences for your brand.

However, the changes mean that to really reach a large audience, you need to use paid advertising.

The cost of Facebook advertising is on the rise, having grown 70% since 2017. Marketers continue to pay it though, as denoted by the 40% bump in overall spending.

It seems that rising prices are little deterrent for ambitious marketers, as many companies realize the overall ROI of targeted ads is worth investing in.

Amazon too have hiked their prices, with Prime membership growing to $119/year, with almost no negative impact on traffic and sign-ups.

CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed this year that subscriber numbers have topped 100 million, making it a worthy rival to Netflix.

What Does the Future Hold for Digital Marketers?

The digital marketing landscape is always shifting.

Facebook looks set to slip behind YouTube and the unstoppable force of Amazon.

Video marketing is undoubtedly the way to go now, regardless of your industry.

The younger demographics have helped Instagram grow by 80% since last year.

To remain relevant to your audience, decide on the best platform for your brand and build a video content strategy that appeals to your audience’s needs.

5 Unique Benefits of Small Agencies for Big Brands

E29 Larkspur Office

E29 Larkspur Office

In recent years, there has been a major shift in the way companies outsource their marketing needs. More and more big brands are deciding to work with small agencies, which begs the question:

Why?

Just what can these smaller agencies offer that larger agencies with greater resources cannot?

Let’s find out.

5 Factors That Influence How Big Brands Choose Agencies

As agencies grow over time, there is a tendency for the quality of their work to suffer, and big brands suddenly find themselves pushed to the back of an ever-growing queue.

Here are some key benefits of small agencies that big brands should consider.

1. Small Agencies Are More Committed

Small agencies have fewer resources to attract big contracts.

When they get one worth having, they go above and beyond to deliver the goods. They are more passionate and more eager to please.

The CEO of Ten35, Ahmad Islam explains that you just don’t get that same level of focus from larger agencies.

2. Smaller Agencies Deliver Faster Results

In bigger operations, there is much more red tape to wade through. From various personnel and processes, to elongated chains of communication and approval.

For big brands who want a quick turnaround, dealing with large agencies can be frustrating. Turning your focus to work with smaller, more nimble agency teams is just the tonic.

In the digital age, staying agile is vital.

It’s important to adopt this concept in your marketing campaigns, and you will be more flexible to react to changes in the market with a smaller agency.

3. They Are More Transparent

Paid advertising is increasingly important nowadays. But just because businesses know they must invest in advertising doesn’t mean they are willing to hand over complete control of their finances, with no questions asked.

Forbes believes that transparency can help build better companies, and even big brands with deep pockets want to know their money is going to good use.

Smaller agencies are usually more transparent, making it easier to see the true return on investment (ROI) you are getting.

4. Cost Is More Reasonable

Big agencies tend to charge higher prices, without offering any added value. Once you’re on board, there’s no knowing who is actually working on your project, and if they are really “experts.”

Smaller agencies aren’t just transparent with their pricing, but also with the talent they have available. You may well meet the team before striking a deal, and can be more confident of the value for money you are getting.

5. They Are More Consistent

Typically, working with big agencies involves several points of contact. You might discuss options with one person, sign a contract with another, and then never hear from them again as you’re passed along the assembly line.

While large agencies have a higher turnover, small agencies tend to keep the same core team together for longer.

You have more chance of getting a dedicated team and constant point of contact this way, and over time, you’ll develop a relationship with the team.

It’s Better to Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond

One of the overarching benefits of small agencies, is that big brands will become their top priority. By choosing to work with a small team, you can receive all the time and attention your business needs.

You will form stronger ties with a small team, facilitating a better working relationship that delivers faster results, and a greater overall ROI for your investment.

Also, a smaller agency will grow to know your brand intimately. Their collaborative nature breeds greater productivity, which makes small agencies a greater asset for growing your business in the long-term.

The Truth You Must Know About Slack for Marketing

shutterstock_1106910224.jpg

The digital age has lots of apps to offer, but hardly any can compete with Slack. The current king of business communications has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the past few years.

And now, it can do much more than send a funny meme to work colleagues.

Today, using Slack for marketing campaigns is a strategy that many are testing out.

How Can Brands Use Slack in Their Marketing Efforts?

There are several ways to use Slack in marketing, as the app is easy to integrate with many other apps and programs. Here are some of the best ways to use it.

Connecting It with Hootsuite

The pro version of Hootsuite allows you to do a lot more than schedule your social media marketing.

By connecting with Slack, you can send social posts from your Hootsuite dashboard to any of your Slack channels.

Twitter Integration and Monitoring

Connecting Slack and Twitter makes it easy for your team to stay on top of live updates and brand mentions.

You can create a specific channel on Slack for marketing on Twitter, then assign team members to monitor activity there.

Engaging Your Community

Outside of work conversations, Slack is great for building a community. You can integrate it with a WordPress blog through various plug-ins.

It’s even possible to hook it up with WooCommerce and build more engagement around your products, chatting with customers through an exclusive channel.

Curate Hot Content

Nuzzel is a content aggregator with a focus on social engagement of interesting posts related to your brand.

Hook it up with Slack to create a Nuzzel channel, which will deliver these updates for your whole team to browse and enjoy.

This is a great way to use Slack for marketing strategy, both with content creation and promotion.

What are the Challenges When Using Slack for Marketing?

Despite its quick rise, Slack is still relatively new, and there are many companies who are yet to adopt it on a consistent basis.

Trying to roll it out to customers and clients may take some time.

It works well for smaller teams, but encouraging large teams with various demographics is a bigger process.

A full-scale digital transformation will take time.

Turning Slack into the central hub of your marketing operations may take some patience and coercion in some cases.

But eventually, your company will need to move with the times to keep up with your rivals.

Could Slack Become the Next Social Channel For Brands?

Studies show that once a team exchanges over 2000 messages with Slack, 93% of them tend to stick with it.

The app has had incredible growth in the past five years, reaching a value of more than $7 billion. It certainly seems like the sky is the limit, and the brand has no intentions of slacking off.

The ability to integrate other apps makes it an easy choice to integrate Slack for marketing. From bots to project management tools, Slack is evolving with the times, and looks to be around for the long haul.

This app might be the future of business communications. If they don’t sell out, they might just unsettle the big guns at Microsoft and Google.

10 Digital Tools for Everyday Effectiveness (and Fun)

We asked the E29 team to share some of their favorite tools that they use every day. This list is by no means exhaustive, but you may find something in here that you didn’t know about before and it could save you time and make your workday more productive too. Some of these are also good for personal use, so read on and share any tools you love in the comments.

1. Slack

Megan says: “Slack is a [great tool]! A few of us in the office use it all the time and helps us stay connected. It’s so easy to message, send files, ping people during meetings, and know when people are online or not.”

Slack has definitely changed the way work teams collaborate. Launched in 2013, Slack has grown to have 8 million daily active users in 100 different countries. If you thinking, why do I need another tool for collaboration and project tracking, it’s more intuitive than you might think and very easy to keep track of activity for each project, client or team. I’m sure you’ll be surprised how much time it saves you.

Picture1.png

2. Pinterest

Annabelle says: “I’ve been using this app for a few years now and I use it for everything! My wedding, Honeymoon, Fashion, Home Decor and Organization. I remember before getting married I would spend hours and hours looking up ideas and wedding DIY’s every day. Not only did I had the wedding of my dreams, but we saved a lot of money thanks to all the great ideas I found.

Features I love from this app?

I was looking for a Jute rug for my living room a month ago, so of course, I went to Pinterest to look for ideas. I saw a pin of the rug I wanted, click through to Pottery Barn's website and purchased it on the spot.”

Fun fact you may not have known about Pinterest: It is headquartered in San Francisco and took several years before becoming one of the main social networks. 81% of Pinterest users are females.

Picture2.png

3. Screenshot Tool

For a tool that is both a feature and a utility, I use the screen capture feature on my phone and Mac a few times a day, at least. I love screenshots and I really don't know how I would survive without them. On the iPhone X to take a screenshot, you click the power and one of the volume buttons at the same time. On pre-iPhone X phones, you hold down the home and power buttons. And on a Mac for a screenshot, my favorite way to do it is to press Shift + Command + 4 and then select what I want from the screen. Of course, there are many tools for screen capturing. What's your favorite?

Screenshot created from an iPhone X

Screenshot created from an iPhone X

4. Repost for Instagram

Anne says: “I'm sure most of you are familiar with this one, but it's been a game changer for me just because it makes sharing content from other people on Instagram so much easier. All you have to do is copy the link of the post you want to share and then open up the Repost app. From there, you can share the post and caption if you like to your own Instagram feed or story. I went ahead and purchased the "premium" Repost package, which allows you to repost content without the watermark. For an $8.00 investment, you can clean up your Instagram feed without having to include a bunch of watermarked images - totally worth it.”

Picture4.png

Note the repost icon in the lower left hand corner of the image. This can be removed with a subscription.

5. VSCO

Anne discovered this app about a year ago while hunting for better filters and presets for Instagram pictures. This is far and away the best photo and video editing app she has used. VSCO's motto is, "By Creators, For Creators" and you can see why once you explore their arsenal of filters. Once you select a filter you really like, you can go much, much deeper and truly adjust your photos and videos to balance and refine them to your liking. 

The other cool thing about VSCO is they have an online community where creators can share their photos and videos so you can search through all sorts of original content based on style, filter, color scheme, topic, etc. It's a great source of inspiration if you're looking to change up your Instagram feed. This one will help you up your Insta-game for sure.

Picture5.png

What’s your favorite Instagram tool?

6. SimilarWeb

I use it a lot for competitive research to see where a client stands compared to their competition. There's a great Chrome extension that lets you see the results and easily screenshot them for use in presentations.

Picture6.png

7. SpyFu

This tool shows us competitor information for organic search and paid search. It's great for understanding spend, rank and keywords. 

Picture7.png

8. LIKEtoKNOW.it 

Melissa says, “This app works with Instagram to make posts about clothing, beauty and home items easy to source and purchase. It uses influencers and links to retailers online. 

Here’s how it works: Download the app and link it to your Instagram account. When one of their ambassador's posts an outfit or specific item you would like to purchase on IG, you can like the post. It must be tagged with LIKEtoKNOW.it. Then it becomes part of your feed within LIKEtoKNOW.it. In the app, you can choose items and it links directly to the retailer for purchase. 

Picture8.png

At the end of the week LIKEtoKNOW.it sends a recap of what you liked.

The app is an evolution from their first version. They now provide a better experience. I can go directly to the app, scroll through people I follow and purchase the items I see. 

The app features clothing, accessories, and home decor. Great find for me!”

9. Google Analytics

Melissa says, “The Google Analytics app is my new favorite! I love having Google Analytics right at my fingertips. You can see specific campaigns, e-commerce transactions, where people are visiting from etc. The information is so easy to comprehend and you can dig deeper if needed.

Picture9.png

10. Marco Polo

Amie says, “For personal use, my cousin introduced me to an app a couple of weeks ago called Marco Polo. I’m loving sending video messages to my family across the country and to my sis in London. It’s so much more personal than a text or voicemail.”

Picture10.png

Your turn: What are your favorite digital tools for marketing, productivity or just plain fun?

Celebrating Success - Launching the E29 Ship

Last month our amazing team gathered at E29 Marketing HQ from around the country to celebrate our shared vision of bringing E29 to life. So many people have been working incredibly hard dreaming, creating and building E29 to the successful agency we are today. During our “official” launch party, we raised a glass full of gratitude and toasted to the future. It was one of those moments in life I will cherish forever.

Gratitude! Yes, sincere appreciation to everyone who made it to Larkspur for our launch. It was so fun to have us all together and feel the affirmative energy and happy spirits. Thank you to all our E29 friends, family, clients, colleagues, and everyone who was there in body or spirit! Your constant support is the foundation of our current and future success.

In these all too rare moments where I pause and ruminate, I become overwhelmed with emotion for having the opportunity to work with such incredible people. It is astounding to think about all that we've accomplished over the past six months. Every single person on our team is irreplaceable and has demonstrated nothing but incredible dedication, work, and spirit. Every chapter of my career has ushered in diverse amazingness. I feel quite fortunate to have worked with legendary brands and products at great agencies across the country. I’ve learned so much working with my clients, sharing ideas, creating greatness, chasing progress and making stellar things happen together. An EXTRAORDINARY thank you to E29’s clients, your entrepreneurial spirit is inspiring and your trust in E29 is humbling.

Where character and accountability meet, you have excellence, and we have a truly excellent team here at E29. Without hyperbole, this is a dream team. Thank you to the E29ers for having faith in the vision and trusting me and each other to achieve it. I know we will continue to adapt, learn, and push ourselves to be extraordinary. I am so excited to keep moving forward - elevating ourselves, each other, our clients and our communities. 

E29 launches with ideals of dedication, innovation, and elevation at our core. Our Agency Blog - E29 Extensions is a great place to keep abreast of smart industry insights, relevant trends, and how our core tenants manifest to elevate the agency experience here at E29. The conversation is just beginning.

Upon our launch, a friend shared an oldie, but goodie with me. This Irish blessing always brings a smile to my face. “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.”

Just north of San Francisco’s Bay our E29 ship has launched and is pointed toward an exciting horizon, sun shining on our faces and the wind is at our back. 

A Millennials Take on Influencer Marketing (Hint: You Need It)

pexels-photo-756914 (1).jpeg

As a millennial, I LOVE influencers and I can assure you influencer marketing is not going anywhere. Influencers or bloggers are real women (and men) and they live and breathe their personal brand. They are authentic, reachable and major #inspo. Social media is the future of advertising, and using influencers is the best way to succeed at it. Whether your company is big or small, you need to start using influencers. Here’s why.

Influencers cut through the noise of typical advertising. They reach their niche fans through their many social channels. Using influencers uniquely allows you to target your desired audience where they are spending the majority of their time (nearly nine hours a day). They bring authenticity that any marketer dreams for.

I manage many social pages for my company’s clients and our influencer content 99.99% of the time outperforms our other brand-created content. (81% of marketers agree with me). Not only do they produce beautiful content for our social pages and website, they share their content along with their highly regarded opinion to their loyal followers.

Millennials want to see transparency. We want to see companies doing good, being accountable, and acting trustworthy. Influencers provide transparency, trust and the ultimate approval. Millennials will ignore the big ads that marketers think target them (unless they’re funny or star David Harbour). But millennials will trust and NEED to stay at the same hotel in LA that Chiara Ferragni did. Or NEED to own that swimsuit that Alexis Ren wore on her latest Instagram story.

You’ve probably never heard of most of the influencers making bank (millions each year), but your target audience has. And clearly, they’re killing it.

Everyone from Nike to Santa Cruz Organic can benefit from influencers. Not every influencer is a high-impact influencer, there are micro-influencers that smaller brands can greatly benefit from working with. While working on our clients, Chicken of the Sea’s social pages, I’ve seen one of our micro-influencers produce BEAUTIFUL content while not getting many likes/comments/shares on his own page. But, it performed extremely well on our pages. I know he’s going places.  

Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1. When choosing an influencer, do you research! If you’re looking at them your competitor is or has. Make sure your competition has NOT worked with your influencer in the past. I ran into this problem while working with one of our clients Chicken of the Sea. I noticed that some of our old influencers also worked with Chicken of the Sea’s top competitors StarKist and/or Bumble Bee previously. A quick search for “tuna” on their blog revealed their work history. To me it implies that the influencer sees Chicken of the Sea as replaceable with its competition, and so will their followers. And that will not help sales.
  2. Check their following on all of their social media channels. Know what your dollars will get you. Find out what kind of interaction do they get on their posts. Do they interact with their fans? One of my favorite foodie influencers Ambitious Kitchen replies to nearly all of her follower’s comments on her Instagram posts validating her strong relationship with her followers.   
  3. Influencers disclaiming that they are getting paid for their services is not very well defined. Many will just have #ad at the end of their post. And tbh most people aren’t reading to the end of the post to see that. Make sure your influencers are complying with FTC endorsement guidelines, which have changed.

As if you needed another reason to start doing influencer marketing, a 2015 survey by the Tomoson indicates that businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. No wonder 59% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget in the coming years.

Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard North America and chief strategy officer at Carnival Corporation best puts it “There’s a little bit of the American dream in these influencers. They’ve built a business and they’re out having a point of view, they’re being creative, recommending things, seeing the world. … [They can] do things that they love and get paid for it.”

Lastly, don’t forget about YouTube as a popular influencer spot. That’s how you’ll get the Gen Z kids to buy your “cool” new backpacks. But more on that next time!

IMHO,

Megan Wood

Design with a Purpose

Jan 3_Branding - Image.jpg

To paraphrase my amazing former Creative Director Carlos Musquez “Create work that impacts for the better.” I have thought on this for the last few days as it can be viewed in so many ways. The copyrighting and visuals can be equally as powerful, so Art Directors, Designers, Photographers all collaborating with the same goal in mind can make that impact. If it is a small piece that seems impossible due to hours, budget, or specs – maybe consider the client. If you’re creating a mailer or a coupon – your hands are tied…but if it’s a coupon for a company that supports sustainability, recycling or giving back in some form…that can make you feel proud to work on that minute project as well.

Not all campaigns can be big budget with world-wide impressions, but the impressions you do get with that line of copy and visual can be effective. Especially paired with good PR on the client that has made the good-will efforts…it could be a successful campaign – no matter the size. I’m going to give 2 totally opposite examples:

The specific campaign he was referring to is here. To someone who is not behind the scenes, this may seem so obvious that you would get a warm feeling from this ad because of the client being an activist and you are able to tug at the heart strings. But, behind the scenes it is so much more than that. Pulling together the music, the cadence, the diversity of imagery, and my favorite detail - the type being masked behind the model as they zoom in on them (if you missed it, go back and watch it again – it’s all in the details!). The delivery was so on-point and having print ads to support and be just as successful if you were to see it alone…that is the challenge, and they found THE solution.

I received a coupon for a company that I have never heard of, but the design was good and the messaging of “doing good for good” made me want to check it out. This company dedicated their product to sustainable farming practices which help us, our children and the future of their product. The line of copy and the “Field to Flour” enticed me to read about their mission on the side of the bag. Now, whether a mom is clipping coupons and just reads the $1.00 off message – I hope she also sees the lock-up on the bag, reads on like I did, and walks away realizing she chose the better product…maybe because she saved $1.00…but hopefully next time she’ll make the same purchase because the product was good…and the company is supporting good.

Of course, Carlos did follow it up with still enjoying the fun ads that give a giggle, but now I have this other mind set about my work having a larger purpose no matter how big or small the project is.