Zen and the Art of Digital Marketing

I don’t know about you, but the name Big Data scares me. 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years, but the real scary part is how fast it's still growing at the present time.  Faceboook now has 1.5 billion monthly active users, most of them are on mobile. Google generates billions of searches each day. It took Uber 4 years to become a $50 Billion valuation company.

How can we understand something that outpaces our ability to comprehend it? Just take a look at the name Big Data, the helpless sense of how we are trying to define and conceptualize this tells me how much we understand it. We go from descriptive and imaginative technology names  like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, to bluntly Big Data.

What does Zen have to do with the art of Digital Marketing? In the best selling book “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance”, author Robert Pirsig tries to define the abstract concepts of quality and value, while traveling across the country on a motorcycle with his 11-year-old son. Throughout the journey, they weathered storms, got into fight with each other, enjoyed beauty of the country, and strengthened their relationship. In the mix of all of the things they experienced during the journey, Robert was able to find a zen like feeling that tells him, that somehow, this is what's meant to be, and things will work out. The journey was as much of an external one as an internal one. 

If our job as a digital marketer is to deliver values to our clients by optimizing their campaigns, and gaining insights into vast volume of consumer data that’s still growing at an exponential speed, then a zen like mind set would perhaps help us focus on what's really important, and not get lost in the mix of things.

Takeaways from Facebook Partner Summit in San Francisco

After several months of failed attempt to get help from Facebook support,  I sensed that what I experienced was the growing pain they were going through, and I just needed to be more patient.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic to learn that  I was going to  their invitation-only Global Partner Summit in San Francisco on November 10-11th.  I read everything I could put my hands on about the company, their business and their technology platform. I was fully prepared to take this rare opportunity to its fullest potential.

What a knowledge dump it was for this one and half day event!  I didn't know if I should take a day off to recover first or go head on into action with what I learned.  My impatience won this battle.

Here are the takeways from the Summit:

First and foremost, the more I can unlearn what I know about Google, the better I can understand Facebook's business. Both of their main source of revenue comes from digital advertising, and that's where the similarity stops.

Facebook dominates mobile. Majority of their 1.5 billion monthly active users are on mobile, and their average session time is way higher than Google. This is huge for Facebook, given that mobile internet usage surpassed that of desktop's earlier this year.

Second, the amount of user insights Facebook is gathering is still at the early stage and it's growing so fast that the advertisers can't even keep up on how to utilize the data. This point is well reflected on why Facebook relies on its ad tech partners to bring in more capabilities to allow marketers/advertisers to run effective campaigns. 

When I asked Sheryl Sandberg(yes The Sheryl Sandber!) during her keynote, how FB is going to support SMB advertisers when their "self-service" platform is no-longer the case, she brought in her Partner VP Blake Chandlee, who told me that they are investing in this area, and half-jokingly said that their 50 plus Ad Tech partners would probably approach me right after the session. Two seconds later, the guy next to me handed me his business card.

My pain of not getting FB help  has been relieved, but in an unexpected way.

The last takeaway from the Partner Summit is, given the pace of innovation FB is going through, having a sound Facebook marketing strategy is probably a blessing and a curse at the same time. The best way to try to hit a moving target, is probably to realize that you are trying to hit a moving target, and  aim where the target is going to be, rather than where it is.

Easier said than done. Let's see what the next 6 months bring us. My gut feel is that the best technology to utilize FB user data hasn't been invented.

Is Your Business Ready for the Shopping Season?

 The shopping season is right around the corner. To get you ready to drive more demand for your business, we at EastBright Marketing have prepared the following checklist to get your digital marketing program ready for the season.

This is the best time of the year, but it could be stressful for both business owners and customers.

Remember that having a process in place is only the first step. To set aside time and execute the plan is what gets you ahead in the season and reduce stress level.

Here are the things you should check:

1.       Website

  • Does your website content reflect the seasonal changes? do you have special offers posted on the homepage, and make it easier to navigate?
  • Can customers easily find contact information such as phone number, email address and driving directions to your business location? Keep in mind; they will be in a rush to get things done, so anything you can do to help ease the pain will get you business.
  • Is your website mobile-ready? A major change from 2014 shopping season. This year mobile dominates our lives which include shopping. Can they easily see the content on their smartphone? Product, contact info, and phone number? Go ahead and test it on your own mobile phone, and ask yourself, if I were the customer, would I be able to find information easily?
  • Does the website load fast enough or is it too slow?  The network is probably going to overload with online activities. Make sure your website is optimized for speed.

2.       Social Media

  • Knowing that people may share shopping/product ideas with friends and families on social media such as Facebook, do you have the most updated information that can easily being shared, and linking your facebook page  to your website?
  • How about putting seasonal offers clearly on the website and allow customers to call you directly from the social media page?
  • Posting your holiday hours and special offers directly on your Facebook page.

3.       Email Marketing

  • Send gift ideas, and coupons to the people who subscribed to your email list.
  • The email template needs to be mobile centric to provide a seamless cross-device experience
  • Email template should have social buttons for people to share ideas, special deals, etc
  • Separate existing customers from prospective customers and tailor messages appropriately to ensure higher open rate
  • Schedule email sending time to optimize open rate.  Desktop friendly emails are open mostly at lunch hours, while mobile friendly ones peak in the evening time.

4.       Google Campaigns

  • Google Adwords allows you to capture search traffic relevant to your business, drive it to your website,  phone and physical store, and convert theminto customers.
  • If you are current running Adwords Campaigns, it’s time to adjust your daily and monthly budget to accommodate increased search volume during the season.
  • If you aren’t set up on Adwords, but would like to get it up and running, we can help. You can get your campaign running in a few days before the season starts.

Call or contact us today to set up your campaign this or next week.

Bottom line is, now is the time to check and make sure everything is in place for your business.

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