Podcast Your Way to Niche Markets

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Podcasting, generally short audio only, or video programs, are enjoying resurgence. According to Edison Research, 39 million people listen to podcasts at least once a month. Increased smartphone usage figures into the equation.

Podcasts, web, video and internet radio now join the automatic coffee maker as technologies that accommodate their schedules, and maximize free time. For marketers, podcasting opens up a plethora of new content sources: Audio versions of blog posts, excerpts from speeches, and even comments or questions from customers. While some podcasts achieve chart-topping status, like these top programs from 2015, the relatively low cost of podcasts makes them a viable option to communicate specialized content to niche markets. While one of your engineers may not be ready for prime time, she could be very effective talking to peers at other companies.

Chance are you already have all the technology you need to start podcasting: a good microphone, a computer, and if you’re a one-take wonder, you can skip downloading free sound editing equipment.

For more about the popularity of Internet radio, see our post in Blender.

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Website Analytics: Turn Flabby Numbers Into Customers

The hungry marketer Many years ago, a client called me at 7:30 a.m. “Your f…..g ads don’t work, you f……g a……..e.” In retrospect this is hilarious because his store wasn’t even open yet. Some people make the same snap judgments about websites based on top line data only. This information (see below) may flag a problem on the site, but it’s not the diagnosis. Now what? Say your car doesn’t start. The problem could be everything from a faulty ignition switch to a potato lodged in your tail pipe. We need to get under the hood and get dirty.

Typical dispaly of top line website data

These are topline numbers on your Google Analytics (GA) account’s home page. If you don’t drill down to understand what’s really going on, they can bite you in your rear part.

Top line numbers fluctuate due to many factors beyond your control, seasonality, popular soccer match, day of the week, or job postings on your website. The numbers go up, and they come down. And they will not tell you important dimensions about the size of your core audience, or the surge in traffic driven by social media.

So slap on a pair of coveralls, grab a wrench, and let’s do a deep dive on your website until we reach the core. As for the hard charging, results driven, monkey on your back, you’ll have a few more bananas to pitch at him.

Can you tell where the 300% increase in traffic dropped off?

Can you tell where the 300% increase in traffic dropped off?

Last October, Ideopia redesigned a website. Traffic growth was almost immediate. Eventually the growth slowed, but growth in visits continued to increase. Then boom! Traffic spiked over 300%. Champagne corks popped like gunfire at Ideopia. And yes, we were quick to point out this accomplishment to our client.

We poked underneath the traffic to find the mystery traffic.  And the bump wasn’t do to earned traffic at all.  By checking traffic sources, we found the culprit, an Adwords account that was running amok. While it’s nice to take the credit, our job here was to shut down the rogue Adwords account. And we did.

One reason website analytics get wonky is because they’re based on averages. For example: web traffic might go up, but pages per visit go down. Has your content broken down? That’s possible, but it also might be a slow download speed for your site.

Other and possibly deceitful metrics – time per visit, and pages per visit – are based on averages of all your site’s data, too. Now hear this:  There is no average visitor. One visitor might hit one page on your site. Another may visit a hundred making the average number of pages per visit 500. Again, we love to report the good news. But it’s not helpful for decision making. So lets take an example using Pareto’s 80/20 distribution. For the sake of this example, our website pulls in a whopping 100 visitors per month.

Traffic Segment A 

  • Web Traffic = 20
  • Average page views per visitor = 10
  • Total Pageviews = 200
  • Time per visit = 5 minutes

Example Segment B

  • Total  traffic = 80
  • Average page views per visitor = 1
  • Total Pageviews = 80
  • Average time per visit = 1 minute

Averaging A & B segments together yields the top line data you would see on your dashboard.

  • Total traffic = 100
  • Total  page views= 280
  • Average page views = 190
  • Average time per visit = 3 minutes

The point here is to show how averages misrepresent the values in both A & B segments. Knowing that we have 2.8 page views is useless. What’s interesting is that 20% of our traffic views 10 pages, and 80% account for 80 page views. See how unhelpful averages are? Depending on your objectives, you might be more concerned with core visitors, or overall traffic. If only you could determine what’s sticky for the core group, and what’s turning off the fringe visitors.

Well, you can with custom segments from Google Analytics. It’s a power tool for defining your key audience segments, and a component of decision making about content, user experience, and SEO.  The answers aren’t on top. Drill down, and start finding customers.

Find Customers in the Core

Use Google’s custom segments to define your target audience. Describe it by demographics (18-24), keywords from search, affinity categories like sports and gardening, and traffic sources, like social media or Adwords. The core is the group of visitors you want to tantalize with your content, capture their email addresses, and eventually contact them personally. This report shows engagement by comparing numbers of users in different time segments.

Rules of Engagement

A metric like engagement should make you swoon. On Google Analytics, it’s called “Engagement,” located under Behavior on the left-hand navigation. Let’s take the table below as an example, and say that we consider anyone who has made a visit of 180 seconds, or 3 minutes, to define a core visitor.

Which would you say are the most engaged visitors?

Which would you say are the most engaged visitors?

380 or 21% of visitors accounted for 6,116 or 56%, of page views lasting more than 3 minutes. According to our definition, this is the core audience. To refine further, choose from a slew of pre-configured reports to import into your accounts. Custom segment in hand, you’ll want to apply it to other reports in GA. Find out how much of your core audience visits from social media, and what platform. What pages are most appealing to this group? Who is performing what actions on your site.

Increasing Website ROI

While it’s fun to gloat over top line numbers, it can lead to rash decisions based on them, like trashing your existing site, revamping the home page, or stuffing copy for SEO. Keep in mind that your site still needs  to cater to the other 80%. They will become the new core, and fodder for content marketing programs. What are your top analytic tricks? Please add them to the comments.

Bill Abramovitz is CEO and Creative Director at Ideopia, a Massively Integrated Idea Company.

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10 Ways to Botch a Medical Device Launch

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Several years ago, we were asked to consult on the launch of a troubled medical device, one that had cost millions to develop. Our first step was to assess doctor demand for the product through qualitative and quantitative research. The results were stark and conclusive. Not one doctor in the study said they would purchase the device at any price. The launch and the product were scratched.

So why do launches of new medical devices fail? Are the products not innovative? Are they too expensive? Did you lift off too close to the holidays? Those are rarely the root cause, but our list below maps out some of the key troublemakers.

    1. Ignore the distributor, doctor and patient. Medical devices are rooted in science and engineering. But market acceptance is driven by consumer insight and education. Consult your distribution network, and doctors who you don’t pay as KOLs. Apply what you learn to products in development, and uncover the need for new devices.
    2. Let R&D propaganda drive the marketing. They’re undoubtedly jazzed about their new widget’s performance. But that doesn’t guarantee the market will feel the same way. Determining an effective strategy depends on finding out what the end user, or decision maker, values. Test the prototype with your target. Listen. Repeat.
    3. Starve the marketing. You only get to be new and shiny once. Make it count. Your new product needs sustained support not just for the launch period, but for months afterwards. And, you can’t do it with just journal advertising anymore. You must employ multiple tactics that work in sync in your sales funnel.
    4. Launch a bum product. Pushing a product out the door before it’s ready will cost you dearly. You’ll pay to make it right, the product will never reach its potential, and the damage to your brand will be exorbitant. You’ll pay all over again when your next product launch is greeted with skepticism.
    5. Underestimate the competitive response. If you’re lucky and your product is worthy, it should provoke jealousy, fear and hatred from your competitors. Assume that you have more leakers than the White House, and that your competition is preparing for your launch with the same intensity as you are. Prepare your sales force to counter the flak and misinformation. Otherwise, rumor becomes reality.
    6. Hype it ‘til you’re hoarse. New products rarely live up to their hype, which makes them ultimately disappointing. Again, think to the future, and consider the credibility of your next hype fest. If you want brand love, be authentic. Show it through the story of your product and the people who are passionate about it.
    7. Play games with the price. Introductory offers are a tell that every doctor, distributor and buyer recognizes as: A. You don’t have confidence in the value of the product. B. You consider the real price too expensive. Both of them will come back to bite you in the haunches when it’s time to deliver margin.
    8. Launch without adequate inventory. This seems obvious, but it happens. Especially when manufacturing, management or accounting don’t share your confidence in the product, and hesitate to invest in inventory. Your introduction may go flawlessly your reputation will never recover from the inability to deliver product. Instead, you’ll lose orders, and give competitors time to catch up.
    9. Ignore aesthetics and ergonomics. Too many new medical devices come out of the chute looking like science experiments. Your innovation might be brilliant, but leaving out details like smart design and ergonomics leave the end user with a “blah” instead of a “wow” experience.
    10. Don’t believe. Deep down, you know this new product is a goat. You don’t need to say a word. Your cynicism or fake enthusiasm will poison your sales force and customers. Maybe you do have a dud on your hands, but you, as the leader, should not cement its fate. Speak truth to power. Get another job. Bad products and bad launches reflect on you, too.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

People who read this post also read “Does your Healthcare Brand Have the Blues?”

 

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Consumers Turn to Social Media for Blazing Fast Support

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Customer service has leapt from phone and email to responding to the disgruntled or confused on social media.

Customers in the traditional support model expect a response within 24 hours. On social media, however, they expect answers at light speed. According to The Social Habit Study, however, 32 percent of people who contacted a brand, product or company through social media for support expected a response within 30 minutes; and 42 percent expected a response within one hour. Keep in mind, you’re also playing to others on a social media feed who evaluate how you treat customers, and use this information in a buying decision.

Large companies like KLM, Walmart, CNN and Xbox lead the industry with exemplary customer service response times.

These companies also lead the social media customer service craze because they’re proactive. Their customer service support teams search for opportunities to answer questions or solve potential customers’ pain points using keyword monitoring tools, like Mention.com and Hootsuite.

Your social media marketing strategy should put standard status updates and uniform ad blasts to shame. Don’t worry, we can help. Call Susan Abramovitz at 513-947-1444 ext. 10.

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Marketing to Women. Are Advertisers Still Clueless?

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When Ideopia launched in the early 90s, working women, like me, were still an oddity. We were chastised, guilt-ridden and sometimes viewed with pity because we “had” to work.

Advertisers didn’t help this perception, either. They depicted the working woman in a rumpled business suit running between pre school and the office with a briefcase in one hand, a child on her hip and towing another one by the hand.

Marketers, eager to show empathy, shot these stereotypical photos, or bought them from stock photography houses, to sell us their detergents or Calgon (Take me away!).  Reality? Hardly. Yes, we were stressed and sometimes we needed that Calgon, but we usually handled our responsibilities at home and work competently and with grace. Like other working women, those pandering ads offended me.

1980 Calgon Bath Soap Commercial “Calgon, Take Me Away!”

Although fewer than 6% of CEOs are women; and aggressive little boys are still called “leaders” while little girls are called “bossy”, advertisers are starting to get the message.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Driven by user generated content on social media and campaigns like Dove’s “Real Beauty Campaign,” which celebrated its 10th birthday this month, Pantene’s “Labels Against Women” and “Not Sorry” campaigns are seeking a broader representation of women.

Stock Photography Gets Real

At the 2014 Cannes, the CEO of Getty images teamed up with the COO of Facebook to present a series of 2500 images called the Lean In collection. These photos show women in a diverse light. Rather than the stereotypical images, the Lean In Collection offers photos of women working in fields like robotics. They are aging gracefully and are eating real foods instead of fussy little salads.

Sales of the Lean In photos, all that were previously available from Getty, have jumped by 54% in recent months.

It’s a start. But we have a long way to go! Silicon Valley, for the most part, doesn’t get it. They still think women have nothing other than shoes and weddings on our minds. Honestly, does Microsoft even want women to buy its computers? (Since this blog post has been published, Microsoft has removed this advertisement.)

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Put a Sock In It and Listen.

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What you’re missing if you’re not listening.

My anchor for listening dates back to editing audio in radio. Alone in an edit bay, I not only listened to the content of what people said, but how they said it. Are they afraid, angry, sarcastic, overjoyed, or just flat lining it?  The emotions spoke more to me than the words. I felt empathy for these people, and I felt like I truly understood them.

That sounds nice, but in real life, I’m not a good listener.  But I’d like to think I’m a recovering terrible listener.  Self awareness is the first step, right?  Before you pat yourself on the back and move on to a much sexier blog post about analytics and marketing automation, see if you agree with any of these statements.

  • I usually start meetings with a monologue about my ideas.
  • When people ask me what somebody said in a meeting, I have no idea what they’re talking about.
  • While other people talk, I see my favorite video game in my head.
  • What other people have to say is boring.
  • And, of course, I’m just plain smarter than everyone else.

Yeah, I thought so. You need help, pal. Start by remembering a moment in your life that you absolutely  know you were listening. A doctor giving you news about a loved one. What the cop muttered when he handed you a ticket for doing 75 m.p.h. in a school zone.

Imagine if you could have that experience in a meeting, or a quick chat in your office. If you truly listen,  the chances that the other person will listen to you and cooperate zoom up exponentially. I’m sure you’re already stuffed with articles about active listening, neurolinguistic programming, body language, and facial tics that give away liars. I would guess that people who are naturally good listeners don’t need those tools.

This brings me to my pet peeve. Fake listening. The people who’ve taken one too many seminars, but have never actually done it. They’re easy to spot, too, by their bobbling encouraging heads, and active listening murmurs,  uhmms, and making just a little too much eye contact.  “Yes, we’re listening to you,  but please finish babbling so we can fire up our PowerPoint deck, so we can finally tell you how special we are.”

To be honest, I can be a faker, too. And some situations demand it, e.g. when you’re on the dias with a keynote speaker who is droning on oblivious to the glazed eyes of his audience.

Information is cheap. We don’t need to talk about your LinkedIn profile. I read it. Tell me something meaningful, and I’ll do my best to listen.

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Treebies Send Environmental Message to Clients

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Are you an Ideopia client? If so, keep an eye on your mailbox for a Treebie card and environmental message from your socially responsible friends at Ideopia.

So, what’s a Treebie? After every major print job, we plant a tree to restore what we borrowed from the environment. It’s our way of making things right with Mother Nature, and spreading a little good to our business partners.

As for the cards, they’re FSC® certified, which means made with 100% post consumer fiber, earth-friendly toner instead of ink, no new trees, and processed chlorine free.

Dig into the Details on Our Treebie Website

To learn more, check out our new Treebie environmental program website. It’s loaded with factoids about the program, and a cool infographic that highlights the impact on the environment. For example, did you know a single replanted tree can provide roughly 20,000 sheets of paper and enough oxygen for two people?

Ready for your very own Treebie? Call Susan at 513-947-1444 x10, and put in an order for a new print job.

Designer: Emily Babel
Copywriter: Eric House

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Ideopia’s Tasty New Account Stretches Waistlines

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While we remain committed to the medical market with clients like Bell Ophthalmic, Eyefficient and Volk Optical, we’re thrilled to have food in our lives from Avure Technologies. Avure is the global leader in HPP, a processing method that kills microorganisms and seals in freshness with water pressure alone. Yep, no chemicals or radiation. And the food? It tastes just like it came from the kitchen. The machines cost millions, but we think it’s a small price to pay for delicious food. Check out Avure’s new website, and stop by Pack Expo in Chicago this weekend to see more of our work.

Avure’s website has a non-technical look, which reinforces HPP’s position as a mainstream food processing technique.

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Holiday Social Media: Don’t Blow It.

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Brands often fall flat with their holiday social media execution. It takes sensitivity and common sense to balance content, appropriate frequency and sales plugs.

For a winning social strategy over the next few months, follow these do’s and don’ts. And tweet us your own social media holiday wins @Ideopia.

Don’t clutter your feeds with pushy sales messages.

Unless you’re a retailer with major discounts on Black Friday, cut the pushy sales copy from your queue. It’s not the time or place to interrupt your audience’s online experience.

Instead, share content that pairs well with the holiday. Post a branded card or try helpful and entertaining content, like cold-weather family activities or recipes. Your audience will appreciate the effort, and you’ll appreciate the increased loyalty and engagement.

Don’t over do it.

Consider your brand’s social media goals and business objectives. Do these align with a specific holiday message? Desperate social media tie-ins have #fail written all over them. Like the Golf Channel’s shameless plug on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Piggybacking off a historic day and making it about golf was obnoxious. Tactics like these may get your brand viral, but not in the way you want!

Instead, consider your brand voice in typical social media content. Create copy that encompasses that personality and remains appropriate for your audience. If your post doesn’t naturally connect with the holiday, don’t stretch to make it fit.

Social media habits change during the holidays.

Your audience likely engages with social media differently over the holidays compared to work mode. Instead of sourcing Twitter for industry news and +1’ing content for increased reach, your audience is online for entertainment and recreation.

Don’t share the same “work mode” content for your B2B audience. Get creative and lower the frequency. Humanize your brand with fun, relatable and visual content like Lowe’s hardware fireworks display on Vine.

Interested in more social media marketing tips? Click here or give us a call at 513-947-1444 x10.

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Coffee Brings Life to Ideopia’s New Graphic Designer

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Curtis Gable is the latest Ideopian queuing up every morning, zombie-like, to the magic machine that brews Ideopia’s sweet ichor of life. Curtis uses the boost to design the heck out of every project that comes across his desk, from product brochures and newsletters to digital goodies that people can’t wait to see pop up on their computer screens.

A design nut by nature, as well as trade, Curtis grew up in family of builders, chewing on Lincoln Logs and Legos instead of teething rings. Encouraged by his passion, Curtis graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a BFA in Graphic Design.

Curtis is also a serial entrepreneur, so if you see him at a local watering hole, catching the latest happening band or quaffing a local craft brew (two other things he loves) ask him about his forays into the exotic garment trade.

Weekends find Curtis out and about early, because, inexplicably, he doesn’t own a coffee maker at home. His need for caffeine forces him from his lair in search of relief from the nearest coffee stand. Yeah, he’s one of us.

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