Archive for the "Current Events" Category


6 Content Marketing Trends for the Supply Chain in 2019

6 Content Marketing Trends for the Supply Chain in 2019

As content marketing continues to increase in popularity, here are six trends to consider when planning your 2019 strategy.

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 2018 report from the Content Marketing Institute shows just how prevalent 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? Content 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!

Business Insider recently reported that the number of people on messaging apps surpassed the number of users on social networks! Click To Tweet

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.

Best wishes in the year ahead!

This post originally appeared on EBN Online.

Related posts: 

New Call-to-action

Archive for the "Current Events" Category


Facebook Announces 3Q Earnings, LinkedIn Offers New Integration Tools, and More Social Media News

Facebook Announces 3Q Earnings, LinkedIn Offers New Integration Tools, and More Social Media News

Also in social media news, November 2018: Instagram tests options to promote stories on business pages, Pinterest unveils updates to self-serve ad tools, and Facebook tests advanced analytics for Instagram.

November was the month of social media updates and the development of new tools aimed at helping brands. Though Facebook has vowed to boost content for individuals – think posts from friends and family – they are also making significant strides in helping businesses gain reach and increase engagement after a slow start to the calendar year.

For example, Instagram tested options to help promote Stories on Business pages. What does this mean for your company? Soon brands will have the ability to get Stories in front of new audiences, increasing followers and engagement. Building lasting relationships with prospects on social media means presenting your brand in a visually engaging way while linking them to useful and relevant information.

Building lasting relationships with prospects on social media means presenting your brand in a visually engaging way while linking them to useful and relevant information. Click To Tweet

Here’s your social media news for November 2018.

Facebook announces third-quarter earnings report

Facebook just revealed it has 1.49 billion daily active users in its quarterly earnings report. When you combine Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Whatsapp, monthly active users total 2.6 billion. Though these numbers are the highest of any social media platform, Facebook significantly dropped active users in Europe last quarter.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, noted a growing shift in social media engagement including an increased focus on private messaging and stories. Another shift? Video. “We’re seeing video grow dramatically across the ecosystem, and while Watch is now growing very quickly, we’re well behind YouTube and still working to make this a unique people-centric experience.” writes Zuckerberg. Facebook will also continue to improve safety and security measures to address increased threats.

YouTube premieres now available to all users

YouTube premieres is a feature that lets you and your viewers watch and experience a new video together, much like a movie or TV show premiere. Premiering your video allows you to schedule a video upload and to create buzz around the video with a shareable watch page. Premieres originally debuted to specific creators but is now available to all users. Businesses can invite fans to use Live Chat as it counts down to the premiere of a new video that users can watch together while answering questions and responding to comments.

LinkedIn offers new integration tool with Google Campaign Manager

LinkedIn announced a measurement integration tool with Google Campaign Manager, a part of Google Marketing Platform. This new tool allows businesses to see LinkedIn ad performance alongside other paid advertising, and get attribution for LinkedIn ads across all impressions and interactions. “Earlier this year, we launched this integration for a few ad formats, but today – we are launching it for Sponsored Content,” writes LinkedIn.

Instagram tests Promote: a new way to share Stories on business pages

Instagram is giving businesses a new way to share Stories without much effort. Promote, a new ad type, allows admins to “auto-target users similar to their followers, specific locations, or use all of Instagram’s targeting parameters to inject their stories into the queue of more users.” The ads will also link back to a business’s Instagram profile or webpage. Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that Promote for Stories is similar to Facebook’s Boost option that lets businesses pay to show their posts to more users instantly.

Facebook tests advanced analytics for Instagram

Facebook introduced Instagram Analytics, a new part of Facebook Analytics. With Instagram Insights, businesses can already see how audiences interact with posts and Stories, but what happens next and what does that mean for your business? Now with Instagram Analytics, businesses can track “lifetime value and retention rates for people who do or don’t interact with their content and create audience segments to see if people who commented on a particular post generate more value for them.” They can also analyze how audiences overlap with website visitors and Facebook followers.

Pinterest updates self-serve ad tools

Pinterest is working to make it easier for brands to reach the right audiences with their ads. In October, Pinterest unveiled updates to its Self-Serve Ads Manager to streamline the campaign creation process and give companies tools to track their progress on the app. “Over the past year, we’ve used your feedback to redesign our ad tools so businesses on Pinterest can define and size audiences, create ads and pull reports with ease.” The new features are currently available in English-speaking markets with a Pinterest business profile.

Related posts:

social media white paper download

Archive for the "Current Events" Category


Infographic: Holiday Supply Chain 2018

Infographic: Holiday Supply Chain 2018

With the 2018 holidays approaching fast, customers are pulling out their wallets and getting ready to increase holiday spending by at least 4.3%.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is estimating that holiday sales will be up 4.3-4.8% over 2017, for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is estimating that holiday sales will be up 4.3-4.8% over 2017, for a total of $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. Click To Tweet

Shopping insights

Consumers are planning to spend an average total of $1,007 for decorations, candy, and gifts ($853 on average), as well as other purchases for themselves and their families ($154 on average). This is an increase from 2017, continuing the trend of growth over the past 5 years.

Not only are they spending more, but consumers are starting early this year—as many as 40% will have started their holiday shopping by November 1, and 18% got started in September or earlier.With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, consumers have been using deals and promotions to start getting items on their holiday lists. 164.6 million shopped or considered shopping during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Increasingly, shoppers are turning online, many on mobile devices. 71% are planning to use a smartphone or tablet to research or make a purchase. In fact, 55% of consumers are planning to shop online. Of those, 94% plan to take advantage of free shipping, 50% plan to buy online and pick up in store, and 16% plan to splurge on expedited shipping.

Priorities

Holiday shoppers rank sales and price discounts (71%), quality (60%), selection of merchandise (60%), and free shipping (47%) as the top factors in deciding where to shop this year.

“Consumers will be scouring through retailers’ ads to make sure they are getting the best deal possible,” Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Although sales will remain an important factor, shoppers want good quality and want to be able to find what they’re looking for.”

holiday infographic

Related posts:

New Call-to-action

Archive for the "Current Events" Category


Video: 7 Stages in the Sales Cycle Content Can Help

Video: 7 Stages in the Sales Cycle Content Can Help

Here’s how content can help support sales during the seven stages of the sales cycle, including personalization and building last relationships.

The sales process is often an uphill journey with lots of unexpected bumps along the way. Sales teams are all too familiar with these obstacles, but they don’t have to face these challenges alone.

Arm your sales rep with content to educate prospects during specific points in the purchasing process, and it will build his or her reputation as a knowledge source. That can be the difference in getting a foot in the door, advancing through the final stages of a purchasers’ decision, or closing a deal.

Sales and marketing can work together to create a better understanding of the buyer's journey, make updates on buyers insights, and brainstorm solutions to bottlenecks in the sales funnel. Click To Tweet

Strong communication between sales and marketing can help achieve big-picture goals when it comes to creating content. These teams can work together to create a better understanding of the buyer’s journey, make updates on buyers insights, and brainstorm solutions to bottlenecks in the sales funnel.

You need to take a close look at your sales process and be strategic about the times when content would be helpful — as well as the types of content that will successfully assist sales reps in educating and informing prospects. Here’s how content can support sales in each of the 7 stages in the sales cycle:

Video: 7 Stages in the Sales Cycle Content Can Help

Takeaway

Don’t forget how important it is for sales teams to be armed with informative, relevant content to support the sales cycle. It’s not enough to just produce content, sales teams need to be ready to provide this content to potential customers at every point of contact.

Want help identifying what content your supply chain and logistics company can provide to your sales team? Let us help.

Related posts:

social media white paper download

Archive for the "Current Events" Category


Is Supply Chain Management Doomed for Automation?

Is Supply Chain Management Doomed for Automation?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the way the global supply chain operates and may make most supply chain management companies obsolete in 5-10 years. What can your company expect and what are the best strategies for preparing?

AI has a significant presence in supply chain management. Leading companies already use AI to run predictive analytics and to automate repetitive, labor-intensive tasks like purchasing, invoicing, and customer service. But executives are still needed to make decisions after reviewing data.

Authors from a recent study predict that in 5-10 years the supply chain will be run entirely by digital technologies that could eliminate the need for human oversight. Click To Tweet

According to a study from the Harvard Business Review, that’s about to change. In 5-10 years, the authors predict, the supply chain will be run entirely by digital technologies that could eliminate the need for human oversight. Blockchains can coordinate between the parties involved in flexible supply networks, improving transparency and crisis-response times. Robotics already automate warehouses and fulfillment centers, increasing efficiency and minimizing the risks of employee injury. Moreover, digital technologies are increasingly able to execute purchasing and inventory management tasks.

Digital control towers

The new nerve-center for leading organizations’ operations is the “digital control tower,” typically a room with walls of high definition screens showing real-time graphics and information on every step in the supply chain. Data analysts staff these rooms 24/7, monitoring the flow from order to delivery.

These control towers provide end-to-end visibility into global supply chains. Process bottlenecks and inventory shortfalls can be predicted and managed before problems develop. Digital control centers allow more predictive management styles based on up-to-date and accurate information, which results in increased customer focus and process efficiency. It is an operational model that is gaining popularity across business sectors.

What does this mean for supply chain management?

Technology will continue to replace human labor in supply chain management. As data analytics and self-learning technology develop, we can expect to see more kinds of jobs performed by AI.  Planning for this trend towards automation is essential for all supply-chain companies.

The role of supply chain executives continues to change. Instead of managing people performing repetitive and transactional tasks, executives are working with a smaller number of highly specialized data experts to design information and material flows. The skill set associated with supply chain management will shift to focus on data analysis and algorithms, which will require new hiring or employee re-training. Finding skilled analysts to fill those roles will be crucial to organizations seeking to adapt to new supply chain conditions

Related posts:

building a content strategy template

Archive for the "Current Events" Category


Instagram Founders Leave Facebook, LinkedIn Overhauls Groups, and More Social Media News

Instagram Founders Leave Facebook, LinkedIn Overhauls Groups, and More Social Media News

Also in social media news, October 2018: Snapchat partners with Amazon on visual search tool, Google Plus is shutting down, and Instagram adds Quick Replies for business accounts.

With the arrival of Halloween, we know that the holidays are quickly approaching. Consumers will be busy making plans and diving into holiday specials. But social networks will also be hard at work trying to stand out against brick and mortar stores as an alternative for holiday preparations.

Businesses looking to gain traction during the holiday season will reap the benefits of social networks, which are including new features and updates that will help brands connect with new (and existing) users. Click To Tweet

Businesses looking to gain traction during the holiday season will reap the benefits of social networks, which are including new features and updates that will help brands connect with new (and existing) users. With a heavy focus on customer engagement, these new options help businesses stay connected with new features like Quick Replies on Instagram. These small but helpful updates will allow companies to have a greater reach without extra work for their marketers.

Here’s your social media news for October 2018.

Instagram founders leave Facebook

Kevin Systrom, CEO, and Mike Krieger, CTO, resigned from Instagram this week amidst rumors of tension with Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “We’re planning on leaving Instagram to explore our curiosity and creativity again. Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do,” writes Systrom in a statement for Instagram. Bloomberg News reports that tension between co-founders grew over the direction of Instagram. These departures create an opportunity for Facebook to oversee Instagram more directly.

LinkedIn updates Groups

LinkedIn Groups now offer more engaged conversation tools including embedded videos, images, and updates to posts, alerts, and much more. “Over the past year, we’ve focused on bringing conversations to the forefront on LinkedIn, adding new features to make it easy for you to talk to your professional communities. The new Groups experience helps you take advantage of all these conversations tools with a seamless, faster experience so you can easily participate in your groups,” writes Mitali Pattnaik for LinkedIn’s blog. All groups are currently being updated with these features.

Snapchat Partners with Amazon on visual search tool

Snapchat users are going to have a new way to search for products on Amazon, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce corporations. Using the Snapchat app, users can point their camera at a product or barcode and, once recognized, a link will appear to that product (or a similar one) on Amazon. Though the update is currently only available to a small group of users, Snapchat is hoping to roll out the new feature to all users shortly.

Instagram rolls out Quick Replies for business accounts in direct messenger

Instagram introduced Quick Replies for business accounts in direct messenger this month. The new feature allows businesses to create quick responses to frequently asked questions, like shipping rates and contact information. Quick Replies will help businesses communicate quickly and efficiently with users. Instagram tested the new functionality back in May, but just made the update available on all devices and the web.

Google Plus shuts down

Google Plus, Google’s social network, is shutting down for good after a security breach that exposed up to 500,000 users between 2015 and 2018. Ben Smith, Google’s vice president of engineering, acknowledged that Google detected a security issue back in March, but immediately addressed it. In a blog post on October 8, Smith writes, “A review did highlight the significant challenges in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations. Given these challenges and the very low usage of the consumer version of Google+, we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+. “

Related posts:

social media white paper download