Greg Shepard CTO PepperjamHaving a successful content marketing strategy toady is crucial to the success of an affiliate campaign. By Greg Shepard

With an explosion in content—and the growing technologies that support and serve it—it’s no surprise content multitasking has become the norm. According to a recent Adobe study, while watching TV, 59 percent browsed the internet, 39 percent checked a social media feed and 34 percent posted to social media. This means that the best way to catch a consumer is through multiple touch points – which means for a marketer to expand their targets and platforms within their content strategy.

Feeding A Content-Hungry World

More important than the quality of content is timing. It’s crucial that marketers approach consumers with the right content, at the right time. The same Adobe study found that, while consuming content on multiple devices, 81 percent are entertained, 76 percent are more productive and 53 percent are more focused. What a perfectly receptive mindset for a consumer to receive engaging content from a marketer, right?

All this content — and because there is increasingly so much of it — must designed in a way that makes it easily consumable. It needs to be succinct, display well on all devices, hold attention, and support your perfectly orchestrated omnichannel efforts. 

Content Fuels Performance Marketing

It’s no surprise the decline in revenue publishers generate from traditional advertising has led to the growth of native advertising which has opened huge opportunities for performance marketing-related activities. Content, always a staple in the performance marketing landscape, is now at the forefront of every brand’s marketing efforts.

This shift away from traditional online advertising towards a more content-focused approach has vastly expanded the possibilities for performance marketing-related solutions. Where there is marketing-focused content, there is opportunity to sell product and where there is opportunity to sell product, there is room for performance marketing to make it happen.

As an example of the injection of performance marketing tactics into content marketing, Gawker Media, according to Business Insider, generated $100 million in gross revenues bringing in $10 million from its e-commerce operations in 2015. Much of that revenue came from Gawker’s in-house native advertising group which, much like bloggers curating and sharing news items, curates retail and other deals and posts them as stories on Gawker. In those posts are Amazon affiliate links and Skimlinks.

According to a Business Insider report, Gawker's conversion rate ranges from 8 percent to 12 percent, much higher than the average 2 percent to 3 percent. In that same report, it was noted that Gawker ran an Amazon Prime promotion which netted 25,000 subscriptions for Amazon.

Performance Marketing-Focused Content Serves Consumers’ Micro-Moment Needs

Perhaps you’ve heard of micro-moment marketing? In Google’s version of the micro-moment, a brand pays Google to run an ad that is then found when a person performs a search for a particular product or something nearby. That ad leads to some kind of branded micro-moment landing page with an offer. The same thing can happen with content creators who are touting products and brands in their feeds, which spikes consumer interest.

Consumers then turn to Google to find the thing that will satiate their need, sure, they might see an ad at the top of the page but they will also see thousands of other organic sources for the same need.

A Marriage Made in Heaven

Performance-based content designed for an omnichannel world that addresses each and every need of the consumer? It’s really the natural and logical next step in a content-driven, performance marketing world. Multi-tasking consumers are eager for insightful, informative content that addresses their immediate needs. Having a successful content strategy in place can help meet these goals.

Greg Shepard, CTO of Pepperjam, is a seasoned veteran in building and running sustainable growth businesses.

PYPLALocal toy company volunteers team up to help thousands of kids in foster care.

Tens of thousands of children in foster care throughout southern California and across 10 states will receive the gift of play thanks to nearly 300 local toy industry volunteers who participated in the annual “Play Your Part LA” event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) in partnership with National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA).

Nearly 50 toy companies participated in the event through a toy donation, sponsorship, or volunteer effort — including Bandai, Educational Insights, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel, Nickelodeon and Spin Master. Industry-wide volunteers sorted toys and wrote comforting letters of support at “inspiration stations.” These toys and letters were placed in special care packages that will be shipped to 50 National CASA chapters.

In total, more than 60,000 toys were donated in order to make this event possible, thanks to TIF’s Toy Bank donors, comprised of generous manufacturers, retailers and distributors.

“Children in foster care have to face very grown-up problems at such a young age, robbing them of a carefree childhood,” Jean Butler, executive director of the Toy Industry Foundation, said in a release. “It is our hope that the toys provided through this event bring comfort and happiness to these deserving children as they await placement in loving, permanent homes.”

About 100 L.A.-area foster children were present at the event to receive action figures, arts and crafts, board games, dolls, puzzles and more. They also enjoyed fun-filled, company-sponsored activities and games led by the volunteers.

Mo Headshot BlogHere are several tips and tricks to reveal how your brand can enhance its digital presence in measurable ways to bring ready-to-buy consumers to your stores. By Mohannad El-Barachi

 

People are saying retail is in "crisis." Fear-mongering headlines comparing the state of retail to the crash 0f 2007-2008 are popping up left, right and center, creating a scary narrative for retailers. Instead of fear, we should be using the changes to the retail space to make us think critically about how digital is forcing the tried-and-true brick-and-mortar world to change. Labelling the transformation as a "death" or "crisis" is not only incorrect, it's counter-productive.

Retail leaders need to connect their digital strategy to their physical presence, rather than viewing them as two separate entities. The development of digital technologies made to improve the consumer experience (and your data) isn't slowing down. The vast changes in the retail space are ultimately positive and can actually improve the success of your brick-and-mortar if you let it.

Ask yourself this question right now, and answer it honestly, with specific examples: am I doing everything I could be to ensure I'm using digital channels to draw people in-store? Then extend this thinking by asking: what can I do to improve foot-traffic, and keep people coming back?

Here's a handful of ways to get ahead of the "crisis" and improve your online-to-offline game now.

Prepare Your Site Accordingly

Voice search is about to explode. Home systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are making searching even more seamless than what the mobile world has allowed. Optimize for voice search by building your content to reflect natural speech patterns and simple language to make it easy for virtual assistants to pick up your data and serve it to the consumer who's looking. Long-tail keywords will become more prevalent as short, quippy searches start to decline. You will need to go beyond "best coffee shop" copy and AdWords bidding now, and think more complexly about how consumers will try to find your local business. Prepare for searches like this: "Alexa, find me a coffee shop in Newport with free Wi-Fi that's child-friendly." And eventually, you will be able to proactively prepare for holidays and special occasions with Memorial Day sales ready to share, and Father's Day restaurant and gift suggestions at the ready.

Always make sure that your local landing pages use structured data markup to make it easy for Alexa and Google Home to pick up your local data and deliver it to searchers.

Show Up for Searchers

I'm not talking about general SEO here. I'm talking about niche, ROI-friendly local marketing. In local marketing, the aim is to bring nearby consumers into your store. Micro-moments are searches conducted by consumers that turn into a conversion within the next 24 hours. To tap into this market you need to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Understand your demographic and know their habits. For millennials, think of social selling on Instagram and appealing to local crowds with visuals. Gen-X will be enticed by a branded Geofilter on Snapchat. Think in this pattern: your target demographic, their preferred platform, and the content that will speak to them.

It goes without saying that no matter where you decide to optimize your directory presence - it's not about splattering your information across directories and calling it a day. The 'set it and forget it' model has been outgrown. Stand out where it really matters by hand-picking directories rich with conversion potential, then optimize. In short, make your business shine where it's really important.

Generate Insights for Targeted Campaigning

Good decisions are made with good insights. Showing up for searchers is vital but all that work you did to get listed on key directories is only worthwhile when you know who's behind those searches. Whether you make your bet on retargeting campaigns, coupons or in-store offers catering to a particular demographic in a particular location, local insights give you the opportunity for a tailor-made approach to local. If you have 300+ stores, chances are you have different needs in different cities. With more consumer data made available every day, highly targeted marketing is becoming an expectation to consumers and for you - the most important piece of the online-to-offline equation. Know who's looking for your store online, make decisions about what products they want, and market to them in ways that encourages them to come to your stores. It's as simple as that.

The evolution of big data is enabling marketers to get more sophisticated insights on consumer buying behavior. I'll always advocate for generating as many analytics about your consumers as possible, but if you're behind on this, start with the basics. Data generated from your local listings can tell you who's looking for your business, when they're looking, their demographic, and how they convert. If a spike in listings traffic correlates to a lift in foot traffic, you've just painted yourself a broad overview of how your listings are fueling ROI from your local marketing.

'Hey, how did we do today?'

Hey, how did we do today? Retailers know the importance of building a rapport with a customer to create a lifelong brand ambassador. While you might not be seeing your consumers face-to-face as often, it's important to build this relationship online to win offline. Over three quarters of consumers seriously consider online reviews before they make a purchase, so having a serious review presence is key for your online reputation. Respond and thank them for your feedback and show you attempt to improve in the future. Even more, if a customer leaves a great review, thank them for their time. Reviews can help boost your local SEO and showing you're engaged with your clientele gives potential shoppers all the more reason to come check you out for themselves.

Retail isn't dying. It's forcing businesses to engage with online audiences in a new way, and have their digital presence completely in order to ensure they're easily found when a shopper is looking for an immediate need. A key pillar of technology is about making our lives more connected and convenient. So meet your customers and the digital world halfway by connecting the dots between your brick-and-mortar and online presence.

Mohannad El-Barachi is General Manager of SweetIQ.

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ThinkstockPhotos 637372676Senior Executives from Otto, C.H. Robinson, Schenker, Tompkins, Nulogy and Adidas to Keynote the 3PL and Supply Chain Summit in Chicago.

Business intelligence and networking company eft have announced the keynote lineup for the annual 3PL and Supply Chain Summit, the leading conference for C-Level supply chain and logistics executives.

The 3PL and Supply Chain Summit in Chicago June 14-16 will welcome more than 700 leadership figures from the supply chain industry. eft have brought together a stellar lineup of keynote speakers who will set the stage for discussions across three days of learning and networking.

The evening of June 14 will see Otto’s Co-Founder, Anthony Levandoski, discuss the impact of autonomous vehicle technology on logistics and last-mile delivery. Jim Tompkins, chairman and CEO of Tompkins International, will follow with his advice for “Avoiding the Supply Chain Treadmill” - a must-hear presentation for supply chain leaders eager to go beyond today’s supply chain and deliver profitable growth.

June 15-16 will feature keynotes from Schenker AG’s Member of the Board for Contract Logistics/SCM Thomas Schmitt; Jason Tham, CEO of Nulogy; Andrew Clarke, CFO of C.H. Robinson; and Nic Vu, general manager and senior vice president of North America for Adidas.

These senior leaders will discuss the next steps in logistics and supply chain innovation, achieving the perfect order in the last mile and how to strive for profitable growth and efficiency gains.

“This is by far the strongest set of leaders that have gathered at the 3PL and Supply Chain Summit in the event’s 15-year history,” says Toby Spencer, vice president of eft. “This is a testament to the impact that technology, disruption and customer-centricity are having on supply chain leaders today. The event has become a must-attend for those wishing to take advantage of new ideas to drive growth in their business.”

According to Frank McGuigan, president and COO of Transplace, “As the supply chain continues to evolve and become more complex, so too do the challenges facing shippers, carriers and logistics providers. The EFT 3PL Summit provides a great forum for logistics professionals to come together and discuss the latest trends impacting the supply chain and hear best practices from industry leaders.”

The keynote speakers will be joined by other leadership figures from North America’s top 3PLs, retailers, manufacturers and industry disruptors. Other executives taking to the stage include:

* Ed Feitzinger, vice president of global logistics for Amazon

* Steve Sensing, president of global supply chain solutions for Ryder System Inc.

* Mehran Ravanpay – vice president of global supply chain logistics for Schneider Electric

* Joanne Wright, vice president of IBM supply chain for IBM

* Brad Jacobs, CEO of XPO

* Mike Buseman, chief global logistics and operations officer for Avnet

* Jerome Lorrain, COO and global ground and managing director for North America at CEVA Logistics

* Darrell Edwards, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer for La-Z-Boy

* Yone Dewberry, senior vice president of supply chain for Land O'Lakes

Executives interested in finding out more should access the brochure or get in touch directly with the Event Director Sarah Reynolds at sreynolds@eft.com.

BSLGBroad Street Licensing Group’s licensing agreement expands the brand’s retail reach to the Mexican marketplace. 

Broad Street Licensing Group, exclusive agent for the Tony Roma Restaurant brand, has brokered a deal with one of Mexico’s leading producers of pork products, MEAT Industria en Alimentos SA de CV (MEAT Mexico).

This agreement follows BSLG’s announcements of recent food licensing deals made for the brand in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the first ever licensing deals for the Tony Roma’s brand outside of the USA. This newest deal will bring Tony Roma’s world-famous ribs and BBQ pork products to the Mexican retail channel at top grocery stores across the country.

“We could not be more excited to build our retail presence with a company like MEAT Mexico, a highly revered trailblazer in the Mexican retail market,” Stephen K. Judge, president and CEO of Romacorp Inc., the parent company of the Tony Roma’s brand, said in a release. “Tony Roma’s has experienced strong growth this year through a series of important retail licensing agreements, as well as new restaurant development and franchise agreements in the U.S. and key markets around the world. This new licensing deal reinforces the strength of the Tony Roma’s brand and the trust consumers have in our world-famous products.”

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