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The Competitive Edge of Marketing Tools Stems from Application [UML]

The Competitive Edge of Marketing Tools Stems from Unique Application [UML]

There is more than one way to view tools of the marketing or PR trade.

One way is an instrument that accentuates skill: who do you blame for crooked nails, the carpenter or the hammer?

The emphasis here is on talent or ability.  A good carpenter can pound straight nails with a rusty hammer just as well as a new one.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with such a perspective, but it ignores the influence of technology.

Technology is the application of science for practical use.  For the carpenter, this meant the advent of a nail gun, which can fire three nails into place in the same time it takes to pound one with a hammer.

Speed is a staple value proposition of technology and tools clearly have an influence on a craft, whether carpentry or PR or something else.

While there are certainly some advantages to early adoption, in a broad sense, B2B marketers all have access to the same general set of tools.  The competitive difference, the drawbacks, or even the misuse, rests in the skill and ethics of the application.

That really isn’t far from a philosophical argument over crooked nails.

And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML].  As it is every week, below you’ll find three articles, I’ve vetted, highlighted and recommend for your perusal.

1) Visualize how people engage with your site

Page Analytics

A little more than a year ago, I recommended four Chrome extensions for digital PR professionals and episode #75 of the Growth Marketing Toolbox podcast by Nicholas Scalice tipped me off to a few more.

The most impressive recommendation was Page Analytics by Google.  This extension allows you to see how visitors engage with any site that has Google Analytics installed (and you have access to those analytics). It will show you where people click and provide valuable insight to optimize the on-page experience for visitors.

There are a few other extension recommendations Mr. Scalice suggests that I found useful.  He publishes notes to the podcast on Earnworthy, his company’s blog: 7 Chrome Extensions for Marketers.


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2) Is your brand investing in the right content?

Is your brand you creating the right content

One of the primary reasons I believe businesses struggle with content marketing is that they are too reliant on best practice, and not thinking enough about being different.  By definition, best practice is what everyone else is doing where a significant part of marketing is standing out.

Maria Minsker, a reporter for eMarketer, brought this to life in a piece titled, Are Brands Spending Too Much Money on the Wrong Content?:

“…brands should hold their partners—and themselves—more accountable for creating the right content for their brand, not just using a traditional format because it has been effective for other companies.”

Brands often develop content because either their competitors are doing it or to please an executive. Businesses will have far better success if the focus of content is to serve customers.  Most brands merely pay lip service to the idea, which means differentiation comes naturally for those that actually do.

3) Native advertising risking non-compliance

Native advertising risking non-compliance

When the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published guidelines for native advertising in 2015, 29% of publishers were in compliance.  Today, that number has flipped, but still remain fairly high. Thirty-seven percent of publishers are not in in compliance according to David Kirkpatrick in a piece for Marketing Dive titled Study: Native ads remain non-compliant for 37% of publishers.

Native ads earned their namesake because these paid promotions are juxtaposed with editorial content – and designed to look and feel as such.  Consequently, study after study demonstrates the vast majority of readers can’t distinguish between editorial and advertising in this format. So, the FTC stepped in with regulations to protect consumers.

The concept for native ads, at least in the perspective of the FTC, extends to many influencer marketing promotions too.  Moreover, it’s not just the publishers or influencers being sanctioned, but the brands:

“A lot of native advertising is done via influencer marketing campaigns and last year the FTC announced it would become more stringent in enforcing its disclosure guidelines for influencer campaigns. Brands like Warner Bros. and Lord & Taylor were sanctioned in 2016 for social media campaigns that didn’t meet disclosure requirements.”

I’m proponent of native ads to complement PR and content marketing initiatives where one of the primary goals is to get a bit of that audience to join yours. It’s a natural progression in a buyer’s journey to step from content to content, rather than content to a registration page.

However, brands should avoid working with publishers that don’t make the distinction clear because trust is everything in marketing. Disclosure isn’t hard, it’ll keep your company in compliance, and it’s just the right thing to do.

The Marketing Dive article was based on a research report by Media Radar titled Leaders and Lessons in Native Advertising (PDF).


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Photo credit: Pixabay (CC0 1.0) and Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

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