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6 Content Marketing Trends for the Supply Chain in 2019

6 Content Marketing Trends for the Supply Chain in 2019

Content marketing is no longer optional. It’s essential in creating brand awareness, educating audiences, and building credibility. Here’s a look at the biggest digital marketing trends for 2019.


Highlights:

  • The content marketing industry is expected to be worth more than $400 billion by 2021.
  • Video is currently the most popular form of content being consumed online today.
  • Peers and colleagues are the third most influential source of information for B2B purchasing, right behind online searches and your website.

A recent article by Forbes on content marketing notes: “As recently as a few years ago, marketers handled content mostly as a side project. It was more of a bonus than an essential role — something you did when you had time because it took a backseat to more traditional marketing projects and responsibilities. That’s changed.”

Boy, has that changed. The content marketing industry is expected to be worth more than $400 billion by 2021.

The content marketing industry is expected to be worth more than $400 billion by 2021. Click To Tweet

The 2018 report from the Content Marketing Institute shows just how prevalent digital and content marketing is, and how essential it has become to creating brand awareness, educating your audience, and building credibility and trust with your customers.

Supply chain & logistics marketers: Trends to watch

So, where is content marketing headed in 2019? Marketing budgets are still on the rise, and supply chain and logistics companies are increasingly seeing the value in moving to an inbound marketing strategy driven by original content.

These are the six notable trends to consider when planning your 2019 content marketing strategy.

1. Video

Video is currently the most popular form of content being consumed online today, and video marketing will continue to have substantial value in 2019.

Smart supply chain marketers should start the new year by developing a visual storytelling strategy that offers consistent delivery of valuable content.

What’s your best bet? Be helpful and teach your audience something worthwhile to them.

2. Chatbots

The rise of chatbots – automated computer programs that simulate human conversation in messaging apps – is expected to continue in 2019. Business Insider recently reported that the number of people on messaging apps surpassed the number of users on social networks!

Chatbots are just one of the ways artificial intelligence will shape the content marketing landscape in 2019, but their ability to drastically increase customer engagement puts them on the short list for a major trend to watch in the coming year.

3. Voice search

Voice search is becoming an increasingly prevalent means of attaining information. Statistics vary, but it’s expected that anywhere between 30-50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. A recent report by NPR and Edison Research found that the rise of smart speakers is substantially changing consumer routines and purchasing behavior.

A good content marketing strategy for 2019 should consider how your customers might use voice search in your industry, and what you can do to maximize your content’s ability to respond.

4. Long-form content

I love this one, because it harkens back to humble beginnings of content marketing and the desire to put informative, quality content in front of a targeted interested audience.

Long form content – white papers, case studies, and lengthier blog posts e.g. – will have a resurgence of renewed appreciation in 2019. Why? Because many industries, including supply chain and logistics industries, are saturated with tons of mediocre short form content. People are increasingly looking to weed through it all for substantial quality posts from trusted sources. In addition, search engines will favor longer posts in results rankings.

Cheers to 2019 being the year of quality over quantity!

5. Brand ambassadors

We wrote about brand ambassadors as we headed into 2018, but they are worth mentioning again as we look forward to 2019. Brand ambassadors are employees that influence the B2B buying decisions of others, and they are an often-overlooked resource with more traditional marketing tactics.

Peers and colleagues are the third most influential source of information for business to business (B2B) purchasing, right behind online searches and your website! And there’s nothing more credible than a friend who speaks highly of their company’s product or service.

Definitely consider how you can help make brand ambassadors out of your employees in 2019.

6. Market Influencers

The final trend to watch in 2019 is influencer marketing, a form of marketing which focuses on influential people rather than the market as a whole.

Basically, marketers identify individuals who might have influence over potential buyers and create marketing campaigns and activities around these influencers. In many ways, this works similarly to a brand ambassador, where a single person influences their network of friends; in this case, however, the market influencer has a large network and a lot of “friends” who listen.

Influencer marketing will be a huge trend in marketing for 2019, and it would be worth considering who might be an influencer in your industry in the coming year and what your company might do reach them.

So, there you have it. As we head into 2019, these are the trends to watch and plan for in content marketing space.

The B2B buying climate is growing longer and more complex, and content marketing is so effective throughout the entire sales cycle if it’s done well.  The end of the year is a great time to revisit your marketing strategy and make any necessary changes for the coming year.

This post originally appeared on EBN Online.

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Twitter’s New Video Analytics Tool, Facebook Showcase, and More Social Media News March 2019

Twitter’s New Video Analytics Tool, Facebook Showcase, and More Social Media News March 2019

Also, this month in social media news: Twitter launches new camera tools to increase visual focus; and Pinterest introduces Catalogs and expands shopping ads.

This month on social media news, we’re seeing a few trends continuing. Platforms are increasingly offering robust analytics tools to content creators in an effort to boost engagement. This time, it’s Twitter rolling out a new tool that gives video publishers insights on optimal post timings. Twitter is also jumping on the “Stories” bandwagon, with its own answer to the trend: a camera feature that allows users to create images similar to Instagram and Facebook Stories.

Also this month, we’re seeing good news for brands when it comes to advertising on social media. Facebook is introducing a feature for premium video advertising, while Pinterest is rolling out multiple tools to help brands sell directly from the platform. Read on for a round-up of social media news.

Social media news for March 2019

Twitter Debuts a New Analytics Tool for Video Publishers

In an effort to provide video publishers with increased data to aid in performance improvement on Twitter, the platform has released the first in a new series of publisher insights tools: Timing is Everything. According to Twitter, the tool “displays historical data showing when audiences are on Twitter watching and engaging with video. This data highlights the best time(s) to Tweet video content with an aim to maximize engagement, conversation, and viewership.”

This is big news for video publishers, including content marketers. Twitter is offering key insights on one of the most important factors in determining social media marketing success: timing. Of course, increased engagement is in the platform’s best interest — and it’s in yours as well. Stay tuned for the release of more insight tools from Twitter in the coming weeks and months.

Facebook Announces Facebook Showcase for Premium Video Advertising

Facebook has debuted Facebook Showcase, a new premium video ad program that gives online video and TV ad buyers participating in the upfront selling cycle new opportunities to reach their target audiences on the platform. Showcase is currently available for campaigns targeting U.S. audiences and includes In-Stream Reserve, In-Stream Reserve Categories, and Sponsorships.

Facebook’s announcement is another big one for advertisers. Showcase will help advertisers connect with people through premium content and unique video experiences and can help reach younger-skewing audiences that are increasingly difficult to reach on TV.

Twitter Launches New Camera Tools to Increase Visual Focus

While platforms like Facebook and Instagram are increasingly ushering users towards their respective Stories features, Twitter is introducing a camera tool which will let users capture Stories-like images, including overlays and a searchable element. In addition to bringing the platform on board with the Stories trend, it ushers in more visual content options.

Twitter is introducing a camera tool which will let users capture Stories-like images, including overlays and a searchable element. Click To Tweet

Swiping left on your Twitter timeline from your mobile device will take you to the new camera. There you can capture an image or video, or even go Live straight from Twitter, rather than having to be routed through Periscope. Next, users have the option to add details to the image, including hashtags suggested based on location. Stickers and filters aren’t here yet, but no doubt they’ll be coming soon.

Pinterest Introduces Catalogs and Expands Shopping Ads

Pinterest has rolled out a series of new tools and products to help brands sell their products directly on the platform. The company has debuted Catalogs, which allows brands to upload their full product portfolios to Pinterest and easily turn each item into dynamic, shoppable product pins. In addition, Pinterest has introduced personalized shopping recommendations for style, home, beauty, and DIY boards.

The platform’s rollouts are good news for brands and speaks to the company’s pro-business corporate mindset: “People come to Pinterest in a shopping mindset open to discovering products, which creates a great connection between Pinners and businesses. Pinners are looking for inspiration, and brands help make that inspiration a reality.”

What other social media news has your attention this month?

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The Job Market is so Hot that Candidates are Ghosting Employers

The Job Market is so Hot that Candidates are Ghosting Employers

In today’s job market, companies have to compete harder than ever before and candidates, realizing their position, have begun ghosting employers. Ghosting has never been in an issue in the professional setting until now.


Highlights:

  • According to a new report, more companies and recruiters are getting ghosted, with thousands of users on LinkedIn chiming in about what seems to be a uniquely-millennial phenomenon moving into the workplace.
  • Ghosting’s prevalence speaks to a talent attraction and retention problem that many companies are having in this marketplace.
  • Recruiters who are specialized in your vertical have an established base of candidates, so you can remove ghosting from the equation entirely.

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

Many of us have (thankfully) been out of the dating game long enough that we’ve never experienced what most millennials have:  the dreaded ghost. You meet someone new, hit it off, go on a few dates, maybe even tell your friends and parents about an exciting romantic prospect. Then the hammer drops: all of a sudden, radio silence.  No “dear John” letter, no break-up text, and no explanation whatsoever. It’s a digitally-enabled way of severing ties that’s so casual it hurts, because the affected (dare we say victim?) never gets to find out what exactly happened. The imagination runs wild with possible motivations for this disrespect: was it them? Was it me?

You never really know. That’s what makes it so tough.

Now, according to reports, this peculiar social phenomenon has metastasized into the workplace:

The job market is so hot, more candidates are ghosting their employers. Or prospective employers.

Welcome to 2019.

It’s no secret that the hiring market is strong, with near-historic low levels of unemployment. Now, according to a recent NPR report, more companies and recruiters are getting ghosted. It’s also become a hot topic on LinkedIn, with thousands of users chiming in about what seems to be a uniquely-millennial phenomenon moving into the workplace. Reports about ghosting even made their way into a recent report from the U.S. Federal Reserve – which shows that ghosting isn’t just a meme, but something that’s really affecting companies’ hiring practices and their bottom line.

NPR – as well as this great article by LinkedIn Contributor Molly Mosley – identify three key species of ghost:

  • The employee who accepts a role and gets into the job – thankfully, it’s not often a long-term employee, otherwise a missing person report might be in order – and leaves without a trace.
  • The job candidate who books a job interview, or accepts a role, and doesn’t show up, or send any kind of communication or response when contacted.
  • The candidate who works with a recruiter, asks to be submitted for a role, and then stops responding. There are quite a few reports about this, but we’re lucky that we haven’t experienced it as much in our recruitment practice at Argentus.

Ghosting is a very modern-feeling phenomenon. It’s a symptom of a more relaxed – dare we say, lax – approach to interpersonal and professional relationships brought about by digital technology. But it’s also a symptom of something more fundamental about this job market:

It’s a candidate’s market – especially in high-demand STEM fields like Supply Chain.

We’re willing to bet that in a recession, all these ghosts would become corporeal again. But for now, candidates have all the leverage, and what’s more, they’re beginning to realize this, which means that companies have to compete harder than ever before.

Don’t get us wrong: ghosting is unacceptable, and we don’t mean to excuse it. No one would want to hire a candidate who’s ghosted an employer in the past, and we’d stop working with anyone if we found out they’ve done it before. It’s, in short, the height of unprofessionalism. Any company who gets ghosted on has really dodged a bullet: who would want to work with someone who would resort to such a childish and cowardly tactic?

But ghosting’s prevalence still speaks to a talent attraction and retention problem that many companies are having in this marketplace. Consider this: if your company interviews someone, and never gives any form of feedback or follow-up – which still happens, believe it or not – you’re ghosting candidates as well.

It cuts both ways. And that gestures towards a few changes that companies can make to help minimize the risk of ghosting – which can waste thousands of dollars of company resources:

Smooth out the onboarding process.

In short, treat prospective candidates like a valuable strategic asset instead of a disposable endless resource. The accounts of ghosting from the workers in the NPR story, as well as others, share something in common: the workers felt disrespected or disregarded by their employers.

The accounts of ghosting from the workers in the NPR story, as well as others, share something in common: the workers felt disrespected or disregarded by their employers. Click To Tweet

Treating candidates with respect is table stakes in this hiring environment. But consider the ways that you’re unintentionally depersonalizing the hiring and onboarding process: letting it get drawn out with endless approvals and interviews, resorting to impersonal communication methods, failing to have succinct and effecting onboarding policies to get new candidates up to speed.

Lastly, because we can’t resist: a specialized recruitment partner will forward pre-vetted candidates, often ones that they’ve known for years, who you know won’t ghost. Recruiters who are specialized in your vertical have an established base of candidates, so you can remove ghosting from the equation entirely.

But what’s your experience? Have you been ghosted by an employee or job candidate before? Why do you think this issue is coming into the zeitgeist right now?

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Video: Video Marketing and the Supply Chain

Video: Video Marketing and the Supply Chain

The popularity of video marketing is on the rise, and savvy supply chain marketers are using this medium to tell their brand’s story, broaden their audience, and generate leads.


Highlights:

  • Use video to tell your brand’s story, broaden your audience, and generate leads.
  • As marketing expands in a more visual direction, marketers should adjust their strategies to favor content that lends itself to this kind of storytelling.
  • Consider accompanying data-heavy blog posts with explanatory animated videos, conducting and sharing video interviews with industry executives, or turning a case-study into an animated video presentation.

Video transcript:

I’m Frank Cavallaro, CEO and founder of Fronetics, and today I’m going to be talking about video marketing and the supply chain.

Video is the most popular content being consumed online today. And it shows no sign of letting up. Video let’s savvy marketers tell their brand’s story, broaden their audience, and generate more leads. Video allows the marketer to consistently deliver content that is visually stimulating and valuable.

Using animated video for case studies makes them easier to understand for the user. And because they're entertaining and engaging, there’s a huge ROI that comes along with them. Click To Tweet

Consider pairing data-heavy blog posts with some sort of video, whether its animated or a subject matter interview. Using animated video for case studies makes them easier to understand for the user. And because they’re entertaining and engaging, there’s a huge ROI that comes along with them.

When using video remember what you need is quality, high engaging, well researched content. For more information, visit us at fronetics.com.

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Why Your Brand Still Needs Social Media

Why Your Brand Still Needs Social Media

New reports show an overall decline in social media use. With dropping numbers, why should businesses continue to use social media use? Here’s seven reasons why your brand still needs social media.


Highlights:

  • Social media usage has seen a steady decline in usage over the past two years.
  • Having a presence on social media shows that your business is current, approachable, and interested in meeting their customers where they are.  In fact, it is often more noticeable when a business does NOT have social media accounts than when they do.
  • Success should be determined when a marketing strategy delivers against business goals, where social media is a part of the overall strategy. It is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

Marketers have been speaking anecdotally about the decline of social media for a solid year, but now we have data to support our instincts. The Infinite Dial 2018 report, which explores consumer usage of media and technology, has found that for the first time ever, both Facebook and Twitter use declined in 2018, from 67% to 62% and 23% to 21%, respectively. Overall, social media usage has decreased from 80% in 2017 to 77% in 2018. To put that in perspective, social media usage has increased an average of 7.77% over the last 9 years.  Experts predict that we will likely see continued decline in 2019.

So, given those statistics and predictions, why should businesses continue to use social media? In a saturated market with declining audience interest, what’s the point?

Here are seven reasons why social media is still worth your time and effort

1. It’s expected.

Much like consumers expect any company worth doing business with to have a well-thought out, updated, user-friendly website, they also expect to be able to find them on social media. Having a presence on social media shows that your business is current, approachable, and interested in meeting their customers where they are.  In fact, it is often more noticeable when a business does NOT have social media accounts than when they do.

2. It’s a branding tool.

Social media allows consumers who otherwise wouldn’t know about your business to discover it and learn what it’s all about. Consistently publishing to social media results in your brand remaining top of mind when a potential buyer is looking for your product or services.

3. It’s a way to build authority.

Social media isn’t just a way to tell consumers about your brand; it’s a way to show your audience that you know what they care about, what resonates with them, and that you are a trusted source of information.

4. It boosts organic visibility.

The keywords used in social media and the backlinks acquired send signals to search engines that your content is relevant for a certain subject. According to Search Engine Journal, “Google has repeatedly said that social media likes, favorites, shares, backlinks, etc. are not direct ranking signals — but there is a correlation between social media activity/popularity and how/why it is ranked by search engines.”

5. It allows for easy communication.

Whether it’s to network with industry professionals, provide customer service, or influence potential customers, social media provides a free, easily accessible way to do so. And more and more customers are expecting to be able to communicate via social media with brands.

6. It builds your brand’s reputation.

All of the above reasons factor into your brand’s reputation. By delivering resources and information to customers and potential customers, providing great customer service, increasing your visibility, and being authentic and transparent, your brand is building up an online reputation that can impact your company’s future.

7. It provides an avenue for thought leadership and acts as a distribution channel.

You’ve invested plenty of time and resources creating thought-provoking content on your website, but if you don’t share that through social media channels, how many people will find it? Social media provides an avenue for your content to be distributed and, better yet, shared with networks that you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

The question remains, how do we measure social media success? What does success look like?

Unfortunately, many brands fall into the trap of trying to associate an increase in sales with their social media efforts. However, more and more, marketers are realizing that this is a flawed view of what social media is all about.

We have stated before that social media should be measured in terms of potential, rather than dollar amount. A recent article on CMS Wire interviews several professionals who agree: “Alban, the founder of Your Virtual Assistant Service, said the focus of social media should not be on ROI but on growing your following to increase brand awareness, engaging with your customers to create raving fans, and educating your potential customers about the benefits of your product.” The article continues, “Social media may or may not lead to an increase in sales, but it will give you the opportunity to build relationships with your audience and deliver ‘amazing’ customer service.”

Likewise, Ben Ricciardi, CEO of the full service agency Times10, explains , “’There is no easy way to financially quantify what each social media interaction is worth. It’s much more effective to take all the marketing channels you’re budgeting for and compare it against the general lift or decline you see in sales.”

Success, therefore, should be determined when a marketing strategy delivers against business goals, where social media is a part of the overall strategy. Click To Tweet

Success, therefore, should be determined when a marketing strategy delivers against business goals, where social media is a part of the overall strategy. It is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Vanity metrics — such as likes, follows, reach and engagement — are still important to help measure brand awareness and brand loyalty. However, given the overall decline in social media usage, these metrics must be taken with a grain of salt.

Social media is an important component of a complete marketing strategy. Despite recent declines in its use, there are still an estimated 2.77 billion people on social media worldwide. Nowhere else can you as quickly, easily, and cheaply have access to your audience. And most importantly, your audience expects you to be there.

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Women Climbing Supply Chain Ranks Find a Growing Salary Gap

Women Climbing Supply Chain Ranks Find a Growing Salary Gap

Increasingly, women are pursuing careers in the supply chain. But they continue to face a salary gap — and the higher they climb, the wider it gets.


Highlights:

  • Men in the supply chain industry earned an average of 29% more than women in 2017.
  • Women perform at the same levels as men with the same job titles and expectations but may not be given the same opportunities to advance their careers.

It’s no secret that the supply chain and logistics sector is largely male-dominated. Over the past decade, women have increasingly pursued supply chain careers and assumed leadership roles. But according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, women in the industry continue to face a pay gap, and that pay gap widens as they rise through the ranks.

According to a recent study by the Institute for Supply Management, which surveyed 3,000 supply chain professionals, men in the industry earned an average of 29% more than women in 2017. Click To Tweet

According to a recent study by the Institute for Supply Management, which surveyed 3,000 supply chain professionals, men in the industry earned an average of 29% more than women in 2017. Interestingly, in higher level positions, where there are still relatively few women, the pay gap was even wider — and it was wider still between workers with the highest levels of experience. Among those who had been in the supply chain for 15 to 19 years, the study found that men earned 48% more than women with identical experience levels.

Progress?

In her article, Wall Street Journal supply chain and logistics reporter Jennifer Smith points out that there has been some progress. “The gap has narrowed slightly since 2016,” she writes, “when the disparity in salaries was 31 percentage points.” But she goes on to detail the ways in which the industry lags behind when it comes to pay equity.

Smith quotes Cory Ann Holst, senior director of data and performance management for the global business services division of snack-food giant Mondelez International Inc. “Women haven’t made near the progress that the industry wants us to think we have,” says Holst. “We all know there is a glass ceiling.”

Echoing this sobering reality-check, a compensation survey by supply chain organization APICS found an overall pay disparity, albeit smaller, with women earning an average of 16% less than their male counterparts. Abe Eshkenazi, chief executive of APICS, told Smith that “women perform at the same levels as men with the same job titles and expectations but may not be given the same opportunities to advance their careers.”

Why the gap?

While the pay disparity in the supply chain is generally in-line with that of the broader U.S. labor force, it’s still striking. So, what causes the pay gap to persist? And why does it go from a gap to a gulf at higher-level positions and greater experience levels? “Experts say a range of factors play into the gender pay gap,” writes Smith, “including discrimination and different career choices. White-collar jobs often reward people who work long hours or change positions frequently, for instance, steps some women with families may be less likely to take.”

Smith points to the career trajectory of Sana Raheem, now head of operations at the Farmer’s Dog, a subscription-based healthy pet food company in New York City. Raheem worked her way up in logistics at Kraft Heinz Co and was a senior manager of logistics and supply chain at Mondelez International. It wasn’t an easy road. “Getting there meant taking jobs in remote manufacturing facilities with a mostly-male labor force and few female role models,” writes Smith.

“I had many moments early in my career where I was told to slow down, be less aggressive, and pay my dues,” said Raheem. “I saw a lot of women around me accept similar feedback and spend years making less than their male counterparts.”

According to Robert Handfield, professor of supply chain management and executive director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management, “the industry is increasingly well suited for women. It involves identifying opportunities, thinking strategically, and working collaboratively.”

By every measure, the supply chain needs more women at all levels. It’s time to compensate them fairly.

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