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Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

Matt Kreutz

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Why B2B Can Effectively Utilize UGC

Now-a-days user generated content (UGC) is something that advertisers value because it's living proof that an audience is engaging with the content of a site, but shy away from because it always ultimately ends up as an off topic, vulgar argument and can be a risk for clients that value brand safety '?¦ which is all of them. Whether it's a finance site with a 'high class'? audience with an average Household Income (HHI) of $200 million+, or something like the Huffington Post (a personal favorite), where college kids browse articles and fire off opinions 24/7 (especially during O-Chem 102); UGC always inevitably ends up as a battle between some guy named Vector901 and some guy named Sparticus463 which could not be more off topic and is riddled with name calling and intelligence ' (let's just call it, questioning). But a recent whitepaper shed some light on the type of brands that should not only attempt to surround UGC, but also actively participate in UGC ' business to business brands (B2B). In the B2B world, UGC is not riddled with expletives and put downs, because B2B UGC (a little alphabet soup) is primarily used as an information sharing tool, where professionals share business experiences, advice, and best practices. Research shows that on average, B2B professionals in the IT space spend 5.86 hours per week consuming or participating in UGC and Social Media as it relates to work. Almost more than they utilize Editorial Media (think CNN.com, WSJ.com and other publishers) 3.81 and vendor content (think brands) 3.41 combined. B2B UGC is growing in popularity because more and more B2B professionals are relying on fellow experts within the same industry, perhaps with more experience, for product evaluation, advice, and recommendations. 64.4% of IT professionals surveyed claimed that UGC helped them solve problems in the workspace through experience based advice, whereas only 14.6% claimed that Social Media and UGC do not help them do their job better at all. Think of it as an extension of the office, if you have a question that Jim the cubicle over can't answer, rather than offer up your best guess or take the risk of learning from experience, check out a reliable collaborative site and see what other professionals stuck in a similar situation have done, and find out what the outcome was. So what does this mean? It means as a B2B brand, do not be misled to think that the demand for your input in social and collaborative sites is not there. Instead see this as an opportunity to take an industry leading role as an active participant on collaborative sites and social networks where UGC lives. You don't need to be an industry innovator constantly publishing new content and insight to have a presence on a site where relevant professionals (aka future customers) turn to seek advice. 58.1%of professionals surveyed look to Social Media and UGC sites to build skills and expertise in their field. When you do utilize UGC however, also know that of the members surveyed, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most important in regards to Social Media & UGC participation from brands, that the two highest ranking categories, both scoring at 4.2, were transparency and openness about the brand involvement, and responsiveness to member questions, tips and troubleshooting. So take a passive role but engage with your audience, answer questions when asked, provide insight when available, and don't think that social media and UGC is just for brands like Old Spice and high schoolers. Source: Top 5 Trends in B2B Social Media Usage: What Every Marketer Should Know ' White Paper ' Toolbox.com 2010

In Defense of the Cookie

They are delicious, come in different flavors, can be crunchy or doughy, and go well with nearly any occasion. They also help with targeting, allow advertisers to display relevant ads, and provide insight into user browsing histories on the web. Fortunately, or unfortunately, this post talks about the latter of the two. So what are cookies besides those things we say we won't eat then eat when no one is looking? Cookies are targeting tags sent from an online ad to the user's web browser, allowing advertisers to gain information on user activity. What cookies do is not only provide information to advertisers about internet users and what they do online, but also track the user's online activity after the cookie has been placed. Cookies are a great tool for advertisers because they allow us to re-target consumers who have already expressed an interest in the product we are selling, while also allowing us to compile information on the user as long as the cookie is active. Unfortunately, more recently it's become a fad to DELETE your cookies as to protect your privacy from creepy advertisers who want to learn more about you. In some ways it is a little creepy, but in our defense'?¦ I have always been a huge fan of JetBlue Airlines. I'm a True Blue member, I enjoy my personal TV, I enjoy not trying to sit in a seat half my size (no offense United Airlines), and I enjoy being able to pick my own seat ahead of time so I can sit with my friends and not have to battle with strangers (no offense SouthWest Airlines). Why do you care? You don't care, but you should. See, JetBlue has been creepin on (aka re-targeting) me for months now. They find me on nearly every site I visit, across the span of the entire internet. They target me because I go to their site sometimes to check out cheap flights for when I go to visit friends in other cities. If it took clicks on an ad to get upgraded to first class (even though on JetBlue everyone is first class), I would be flying the plane by now, because I click on the ads almost every time I'm targeted. Why? Because they are constantly updating me with new deals, newly discounted flights and special offers. Why do I get to see these awesome offers without having to go to the site? Because I don't delete my cookies. Believe it or not, because I am going to be served the ad anyway, I actually PREFER to be re-targeted so at least I'm seeing ads for JetBlue and Nike instead of Gucci and Cadillac. I figure as long as I'm going to be forced to see ads, they might as well be something that I am or might potentially (that will be taught in Re-Targeting 102) be interested in. So don't delete your cookies. All it's going to do is guarantee that you will never see an ad that might be at least slightly interesting to you. HELP ME, HELP YOU!

Don't Judge an Industry by Its Cover

Currently, it is the most trusted media platform available[1]. 58% of its users find the ads particularly enjoyable when related to content[2], and 57% of people who receive it digitally read the new issue the day they receive it[3]. This doesn't sound like a media outlet that's dying, so why is everyone dressed in black? Anyone who tells you that the magazine industry is going down the tubes needs to put down their iPad (27% of people engage in other non-related activities while online[4]), pause the audio on their Pandora station (26% of people engage in other non-related activities while listening to the radio), turn their TV off (three quarters of American consumers are multi-tasking while watching television[5]) and read a book! Or better, read a magazine. The same way that my brother likes to bungee jump or hang-glide and I get dizzy looking out of our 8th Floor office window, two things can be related but not necessarily the same. There seems to be some confusion around the fact that just because the newspaper industry has taken a big hit in the past few years that the same is also true for magazines. The newspaper industry is not declining because it's printed on paper, but instead because news has now become an industry of instantaneous information. The newspaper you get today truly is yesterday's news. Magazines are a different story. Magazines are not made for instant, up-to-the-moment information, if anything; they are valued by their readers because they are the exact opposite. In a world where most news is broken not by CNN or the New York Times but instead by a 140 character limit Twitter feed, it's nice to have a media source that can actually explain something to you rather than announce it. Online news sites now make an effort to shrink the size and length of their editorial in order to keep readers on the site and interested. I personally almost get excited when I scroll to the bottom of an article on NYTimes.com and see that I have 8 pages to go, just to know I am reading an actual story not just a flashy headline targeted at ADHD people. Enter stage right: magazines. There is something very personal about sitting down with one of your favorite magazines. It's there, in your hands, you can bend it, fold it, put it down, pick it up, hell you can even read it! And jump around to whatever articles you want! Whether it's the comfort of knowing you are entering a world full of great editorial and images that made you a subscriber year after year, or the anticipation of the random interesting articles that you would never know of otherwise (sending dogs to the moon? AWESOME!), magazines still provide a very significant media outlet for humankind to turn to. (Fear not coffee tables!) As long as life has stories, magazines will continue to thrive. Digital and print truly CAN co-exist (nearly 50% of magazine readers go online to find more information about the advertising in their printed magazine[6]; 91% of e-reader owners are magazine readers[7]); there will always be enough content out there to go around. It's true, publications definitely need to recognize and adapt to the new shift in how a majority of people choose to consume media, but they are well on their way (51% of consumers between 18-34 are reading magazines electronically[8]), so don't turn the page (close the book? Your choice) on this industry just yet. [1] Affinity's VISTA Service 2011 [2] Russell Research 2010 [3] Texterity-BPA Worldwide Certified Profile of the Digital Edition Reader [4] BIGresearch Simultaneous Media Usage Study 2010 [5] Deloitte's State of the Media Democracy Survey Feb 2011 [6] CMO Council 2010 [7] Gfk MRI Fall 2009 [8] Gfk MRI 2010

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