Mobile Will Revive and Redefine Content Marketing

Brand publishing isn't in decline. It's in a golden age. Some think that the brand-as-publisher trend has reached its peak, when in reality it's just getting started. A mere five years a...

Brand publishing isn't in decline. It's in a golden age.

Some think that the brand-as-publisher trend has reached its peak, when in reality it's just getting started. A mere five years ago, Red Bull was an energy drink, not a global media company. Chipotle was hard at work wrapping burritos, not shooting award-winning video shorts. Social media was in its infancy, and branded content consisted of things like trade brochures gathering dust on a shelf.

Today, content marketing encompasses a huge array of media platforms, social tools and influencers. As part of this sea change, brands have increasingly become the creators of the new, bite-size content for the mobile-first generation.

Since the dawn of the digital age, brands have recognized that success depends on their ability to build rich relationships with consumers hungry for engaging content and personalized experience. Nearly three decades later, mobile and in turn, mobile marketing, has the capacity to do just that: engage the consumer personally in real time with targeted, relevant context. Still, running digitized content on mobile without thoughtfully taking into consideration the complexity of the mobile platform will not instantly catalyze consumer engagement.

Successful content marketing models must integrate and elevate the experience of the consumer while on a mobile device. Brands must present something valuable to get something valuable in return.

In 2014, U.S. adults spent 23 percent more time on mobile during an average day than in 2013, according to eMarketer. This surge in adoption leads to mobile cannibalizing time spent with just about every other device and screen, and the shift toward ubiquity has reinvigorated the value of mobile advertising for brands. But to date, the majority of marketing has, to paraphrase Apple founder Steve Jobs, pretty much sucked.

Indeed, the real challenge for mobile marketers is not only to provide something compelling to view, but also to engage and re-engage with established audiences—79 percent of whom have their smartphones with them a whopping 22 hours per day—and transforming these mobile consumers into dedicated brand loyalists via evocative brand content delivered to their closely held, and heavily relied upon, phone.

Take Ford Motor Company, for example. Ford's agency, Team Detroit, partnered with extreme sports stuntman and YouTube sensation Devin "Supertramp" Graham to co-create a series of compelling videos permitting Graham to do what he does best—capture adrenaline-fueled acts on camera like insane BASE (bridge, antenna, span, Earth) jumping off of structures and out of hot air balloons.

In teaming up with Graham to provide strategic, noninvasive product placements, Ford was able to create the #onetankadventure video series that tapped into Graham’s existing audience of nearly 2 million YouTube channel subscribers, making them a potential new audience—and customer base—for Ford. By publishing strategic content marketing on YouTube, Ford was able to offer its epic programming alongside other extreme sports and stunt-centric videos to provide a thrilling new viewing experience to a targeted audience on mobile.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, brands are 36 percent more confident about the ROI on content marketing in 2013 than they were in 2012. That’s because brands as publishers are breaking the traditional mold to appeal to new audiences via mobile they never thought reachable and have become active participants in the daily lives of consumers and no longer interruptive voices.

Red Bull gave its brand wings in the wildly successful feature film, The Art of Flight. In cities throughout the U.S., Chipotle took its brand to the stage, sponsoring the Cultivate Festival, mixing rock bands like the Neon Trees with guacamole and chips. Ford decided to take its brand BASE jumping.

All three are great examples of mobile-centric brand publishing. What will your brand's epic mobile publishing moment be? Catch the full story here on Adweek.

Shake Up Your Mobile Strategy for 2015

With Americans now spending more time on mobile devices than on desktops or laptops, brands need a marketing strategy that embraces mobile. And yet, many brands are struggling to find a c...

With Americans now spending more time on mobile devices than on desktops or laptops, brands need a marketing strategy that embraces mobile. And yet, many brands are struggling to find a coherent mobile strategy. One mobile media company says that brands that don't "get mobile" must overhaul their marketing strategy in 2015 or risk becoming as obsolete as a flip phone. Companies can no longer create a responsive website and claim that they have a mobile strategy.

Smartphones and tablets are very personal devices. People carry them everywhere, unlike desktops or even laptops, so marketing needs to be tailored to how people use their devices. "Indiscriminant push notifications, irrelevant brand messages, and clumsy and complicated mobile interfaces do not impress consumers," says Marla Schimke, VP of marketing at Zumobi, a provider of integrated app content and advertising experiences on smartphones and connected devices. "Understand mobile content marketing is all about the consumer."

"Brands are beginning to understand that mobile content marketing strategy is not a sprint, but a marathon," Schimke says. And yet, the marathon is comprised of countless sprints, as brands can no longer rely on a catchy saying ("A diamond is forever.") or jingle ("Have a Coke and a Smile.") to be the tent pole of their marketing strategy, according to Schimke.

"The advent of mobile as a media platform has thrown a proverbial wrench into branding and marketing teams' creative processes, as they no longer have to think of that one catchy idea-they have to think of 1,000 catchy ideas," says Schimke. "Additionally, they have to think about where and how they will appear and ways to keep their consumers connected to their brand."

However, a complete overhaul of a company's marketing strategy may not be necessary if its business model and marketing initiatives are aligned, says Michael Blumenfeld, managing consultant for financial services at Maxymiser, a provider of cloud-based testing, personalization, and cross-channel optimization solutions. "The business model and goals dictate the outcome of the strategy," Blumenfeld says. A major marketing redo would only be necessary if a company doesn't have a mobile strategy yet or if its "current mobile strategy supports X and you're looking to support Y," Blumenfeld says.

According to a recent IBM survey, most enterprises understand that getting mobile right is a key part of their marketing strategy. "84% of CIOs rate mobile solutions as a critical investment to get closer to customers, while 94% of CMOs ranked mobile apps as crucial to their digital marketing plans," says Michael Gilfix, director of enterprise mobile product management at IBM.

"Based on the innovations in the mobile space over the past 10 months, I am going to say that days of mobile being an ‘afterthought' within a corporate strategy are coming to an end," Gilfix says. "Major corporations are rolling out new apps to enhance their customers' online experience."

Gilfix points out that apps such as QuickPay and Popmoney are making it easy to pay restaurant bills, for example, and Dominos' allows voice ordering. "More companies should be challenging themselves to emulate and improve upon innovations like these, turning mobile strategy into a competitive advantage for their business," he says.

Despite the progress, experts say that there's much work to be done if companies are to capitalize on mobile's promise. Take apps, for example. IBM says that 80% of apps (see graphic) are used only one time and then deleted. Gilfix says that Gartner, Inc.'s research shows that only 1 in 10,000 mobile apps "will be considered financial successes by their developers through 2018."

Creating a more engaging and personalized app experience could "represent significant opportunities in terms of loyalty and revenue," Gilfix says. "For example, 75% of mobile shoppers take action after receiving a location-based message. By designing for mobile from the ground up, organizations can provide targeted, cloud-based push notification technologies to maximize mobile customer engagement and drive a consistent brand experience through multiple channels."

Blumenfeld agrees that the mobile experience is not where it needs to be. "Many people continue to feel that responsive design websites are the end all, be all," he says. "That statement is only true when a corporation has an understanding of what their client is doing across devices."

He sees several challenges that prevent widespread adoption of mobile strategies, including:

• "Very few organizations have the foundation in place to capitalize on the power of mobile as part of a holistic business strategy, instead treating mobile as a siloed communications channel."

• Companies are finding that mobile security is a serious concern and can slow down and even prevent adoption of a mobile strategy.

• "Apps and devices must be integrated with core business processes, workflow, and back-end data and analytics in order to bring the power of mobile to the individual." Apps must be built "from the ground up" to solve complex problems for customers, he says.

2015 will be a challenging year as brands continue to react to consumers' rapid embrace of mobile. The experts interviewed for this article were full of predictions for mobile in 2015. Here are a few:

• Mobile will be embraced. "2015 will be the year that brands truly embrace the ‘mobile first' mindset," says Schimke. "Accompanying this trend, mobile content marketing spend will continue to increase as brands experience the value of engaging the opted-in consumer with relevant content marketing."

• There will be more sophisticated apps. "Developers will create more sophisticated apps that rely on analytics and cognitive computing capabilities to better engage users," says Gilfix. "Developers will be able to better access and store data generated by the apps and make better sense of that data to improve the user experience. Increased use of cognitive technologies like [IBM's] Watson will lead to the development of apps that ‘learn as they go' and use data to help shape entirely new markets."

• Mobile payments will catch on. "Mobile payments opportunities in developed markets will continue to rise, with merchants increasing use of technologies including geolocation and analytics to create greater value propositions for consumers-before and after the transaction-in order to increase consumer interaction and influence changes in purchase behavior and loyalty," Gilfix says.

• There will be beautiful storytelling. "As brands embrace marketing on a mobile device, great content creation and beautiful storytelling will become an integral part of brands' mobile marketing strategies," Schimke says.

• Video advertising's growth will continue, according to Schimke

• "Content will become as important as data in the marketing mix," says Schimke.

Read the full article by Robert Springer here on EContent.

3 Creative Digital Ads Sure to Impress

Digital marketers have their work cut out for them when it comes to creating compelling, personalized ads that drive clicks – and conversions – on the various channels consumers frequent....

Digital marketers have their work cut out for them when it comes to creating compelling, personalized ads that drive clicks – and conversions – on the various channels consumers frequent. Marketers are, however, up for the challenge. According to IAB’s Internet Advertising Revenue Report released in Oct. 2014, Internet ad spending climbed to a historic high of $23 billion for the first half of this year, marking an impressive 15 percent rise over 2013’s first-half ad revenues.

To ensure a return on their investment, brands must know which ads are currently catching the attention of today’s modern – and often distracted – online consumer. Here are such ads.

The CONTENT JOURNEY & Sauza Tequila

NBC is not alone when it comes to looking for innovative ways to drive brand engagement and loyalty. Targeting a female audience over the age of 21, Sauza Tequila enlisted the help of mobile media company Zumobi, Starcom MediaVest Group, Microsoft and Beam, Inc., to provide a fun new way for women with a proclivity for popular culture and social media to plan their next social gathering.

The result was the Sauza Party Planner, which takes tech-savvy party enthusiasts on a Sauza Tequila content journey. An in-app auto-expanding banner ad, which saw a 5 percent click-through rate, sets up the experience (see Image C). Once clicked, users are required to enter a birthdate (to pass the “age gate”) and are then taken to a branded, visually appealing quiz (or they can tab straight through to branded drink recipes) that gives them a tailored result set within a group of four categories (décor, food, drinks, music), plus one custom category. The types of questions users are asked in order to personalize their results range from, “What kind of cocktail or drink would you like to serve?” to “If I could describe my group of girlfriends in one word it would be:”.

Marla Schimke, VP of marketing at Zumobi, believes this type of experience – where people engage with a branded module on a content page that sets up the experience (e.g. “Plan Your Girls Night”) - serves as a best practices guide for brands wanting to utilize mobile to increase brand affinity and user engagement. What’s more, the content marketing experience’s 74 percent return rate serves as proof that consumers enjoyed the ad experience enough to re-engage with it. Zumobi’s “Content Hub” feature helped encourage users to return to the content, as it could be saved on their mobile home screen for continued use and social sharing.

Read the full article by Amberly Dressler with all 3 Creative Digital Ads Sure to Impress here on Website Magazine.

How mobile is changing customer relationships

Just ten short years ago, the volume of content either consumed or created on a mobile device was shockingly little. Today, the superphone has become the primary medium via which brands e...

Just ten short years ago, the volume of content either consumed or created on a mobile device was shockingly little. Today, the superphone has become the primary medium via which brands engage with users - including a broad spectrum of console-quality videogames, many channels for high-quality video, and a wide range of social media channels.

Kristina: How has the landscape of the human narrative transformed because of mobile devices?

John Sangiovanni, Co-Founder and Vice President, Product Design, Zumobi: With the exception of an occasional BlackBerry email, MMS'd low-res photo, or simplistic J2ME game - users, brands, and publishers did not view mobile devices as a core content platform. With the rapid and enduring curve of iOS, Android, App Stores, YouTube, social media, phablets, and more, this perspective has changed dramatically. In the future history of human communication, it's hard to think of a more suitable label for this past decade than "The Age of the Superphone."

Kristina: How has the shift to the mobile platform and the perpetually engaged and expectant consumer led to new branded opportunities, targeting, beacons, geo-local opps., etc.?

John: Historically, media was planned and programmed based on very few factors: Audience, time-of-day and perhaps, gross location (as in geo/metro or city). The wars of media programming were fought over the precious primetime slots attracting the largest audience, or tailored content designed to attract a specific demographic of interest to advertisers. Mobile devices now enable us to add a dizzying array of new pivots to this equation... in addition to time and audience, we can add precise location (within mere FEET, in the case of iBeacons), device, installed apps, purchase intent, and even content affinity. These new targeting capabilities have given rise to highly thoughtful media strategies that endeavor to reach a consumer at the precise nanosecond when they're most likely to engage, participate, or purchase.

Read the expert Q&A facilitated by Kristina Knight here on BizReport.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Mobile Content Marketers

Mobile apps? They didn’t come onto the scene until 2008 when Apple launched the App Store to coincide with the release of its second-generation iPhone. Available apps numbered around 500....

Mobile apps? They didn’t come onto the scene until 2008 when Apple launched the App Store to coincide with the release of its second-generation iPhone. Available apps numbered around 500. Today–a mere six years later–millions of apps are available for download.

However, though hundreds of apps are downloaded every second, 22 percent are never used more than once. With such extensive industry saturation, how can mobile content marketers create and maintain a successful branded mobile app?

Let’s take a new-school approach to an old-school concept: It’s all about habit.

Habit #1: Listen Mobile content marketers too frequently speak without first taking the time and effort to listen. Before communicating your agenda, take a backseat and listen to your consumers. In this manner, content marketers can gain insight into what type of content people like. Learn the language, ingest the signals, and understand what is relevant. Only then should content marketers enter the conversation. Creating a meaningful connection with the consumer curates relationships that eventually become valuable commodities.

Habit #2: Be Personable Trying to think beyond the basic utility of an app and find other reasons for users to keep coming back is not easy. How can you create a more meaningful connection with your audience? What can an app offer that has the highest customer life time value?

Consider personalization. Take a weather app, for example: What about including updated weather reports based on a user’s location, or a customized city guide that offers pertinent weekly notifications on the comings and goings in your neighborhood? Perhaps the app could provide updates to local events or special travel offers at nearby airports. A weather app could consider letting appropriate partners provide additional content that is relevant to the audience. This opens up a new revenue stream that goes a step beyond advertising to provide true mobile content marketing. The bottom line is that apps that offer a personalized value add are going to stand out from the crowd, and continue to draw them in.

Habit #3: Be Relevant Just because you create an app doesn't mean everybody in the world is going to download it and/or use it repeatedly. You have to strategically align your content so people who want to learn more will come back to the app. Offering easy access to a consistently fresh flow of content is fundamental to transforming app users into app loyalists. Your app should offer value each and every time it’s accessed. Consumers who check in periodically (potentially your most devoted app users) and find nothing new, interesting, or useful will inevitably stop returning, visit less often, or perhaps even press delete to free up storage space.

Creating a stream of meaningful content is not as hard as it sounds. Brands are continually creating new content for a variety of marketing efforts across different channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even printed magazines. Consider leveraging these types of outlets as direct feeds into your app. This will maintain a real-time relationship with your consumer.

Habit #4: Be Original Consumers are intelligent and know when brands are simply repurposing content for promotional reasons. It is imperative to surprise and delight with original, inventive content that veritably appeals to the app user. When branded mobile content provides information and is entertaining, it becomes infotainment. Amusing branded content is more likely to be thought-provoking, memorable, and socially shared. It doesn’t have to be lengthy–in fact, the shorter the better–but it does have to resonant and stay fresh.

Habit #5: Be Fresh Don’t let the lack of fresh, updated content bury your app in the App Store graveyard. The app market is saturated, and mobile marketers must consistently provide new or curated real-time content to the user. For example, according to The Wall Street Journal, the eight different real-time campaigns executed during the World Cup generated 2 million fan interactions across 200 different countries. Granted, content marketers can’t base their mobile strategies around events occurring once every four years; however, they can anticipate what content will be relevant and when.

Habit #6: Make It Easy Leverage existing content. This is not easy, especially in large organizations where it takes many departments to get your app updated. Brands may want to consider using a mobile content marketing platform that enables app updates in real time without involving IT or creating a new version in the App Store. This enables marketers to drive interesting app content that is favored by consumers.

Habit #7: Rinse. Lather. Repeat Content consumption, in general, has changed. Consumer behavior is constantly wavering. Content delivery is evolving. Mobile content marketers have little choice but to keep up.

Read the full article by Marla Schimke, VP of Marketing at Zumobi on here.

Zumobi Featured in New Ad Age Guide to Content Marketing Partners - The Only Mobile Platform

Any marketer can develop content, but creating high-quality, compelling material requires finding the right partner for your needs. Here Ad Age covers leading STRATEGY, CREATION, DISTRIBU...

Any marketer can develop content, but creating high-quality, compelling material requires finding the right partner for your needs. Here Ad Age covers leading STRATEGY, CREATION, DISTRIBUTION & ANALYTICS for Content Marketing.

To learn more about this guide click here.

Zumobi Sauza Mobile Experience Shortlisted for the 2014 International IAB MIXX Awards

Selected for Groundbreaking Creativity and Impact, Beam Inc, Sauza “Girls Night” Mobile Party Planner is a finalist for the IAB MIXX’s “Rising Stars Mobile Rich Media Display” Award SEAT...

Selected for Groundbreaking Creativity and Impact, Beam Inc, Sauza “Girls Night” Mobile Party Planner is a finalist for the IAB MIXX’s “Rising Stars Mobile Rich Media Display” Award

SEATTLE, WA – September 24, 2014 – Zumobi, a leading mobile media and technology company, today announced that it is shortlisted for the IAB MIXX Award’s category, “IAB Rising Stars Mobile Rich Media Display.” This marks the second consecutive year the company has been recognized by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, with last years Chevrolet Technology Series mobile content marketing experience winning a coveted Gold award for “IAB Standard Mobile Rich Media Display.”

The overall objective of the Sauza Party Planner mobile content marketing experience was to create an innovative way to drive brand engagement and loyalty through interactive event planning scenarios that could be saved to a consumer’s mobile home screen for continued use and increased brand loyalty.

Targeted to females over the age of 21, the experience provides an exciting new way for ladies to plan their next social gathering from their mobile phone. Geared towards a more eclectic and trendy crowd, the Sauza Party Planner capitalized on tech-savvy party enthusiasts with a proclivity for popular culture and social media. This unique mobile solution featured recipes, activities, videos, and decorating tips, all of which could be shared via social media and saved as a Content Hub on their smartphone.

With results as high as 74 percent of users revisiting the content marketing experience, the team saw a 5.03 CTR, which is far above industry benchmarks.

You can visit the innovative mobile content marketing experience on your iPhone here:

Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 30, at the 2014 IAB MIXX Awards celebration in New York City. For more information about the event, visit IAB MIXX Awards.

Understanding Successful Mobile Content Marketing

As Chief Executive Officer, Ken Willner leads an experienced team in the development and growth of Zumobi’s mobile media business. Prior to Zumobi, Ken was Vice President of Advertising a...

As Chief Executive Officer, Ken Willner leads an experienced team in the development and growth of Zumobi’s mobile media business. Prior to Zumobi, Ken was Vice President of Advertising and Media at AT&T Wireless, where he developed a number of innovative marketing programs to stimulate consumer adoption of mobile content and applications

What are the secrets/keys to successful content branding today and to creating great content that is useful to a brand’s audience/customers?

The key to successful content branding is providing valuable information to people whenever and wherever they want it. On a daily basis, the consumer is bombarded with irrelevant marketing messages. In order for a brand to successfully engage with consumers, they must either create quality content or align themselves with content meaningful to the consumer. Additionally, branded content must be contextually relevant and easily accessed via whatever medium or method desired.

For example, on average a typical consumer spends at least 139 minutes a day on their mobile device. These connected individuals represent a tremendous number of daily touch points between brands and consumers. To effectively reach these consumers, marketers need to apply content marketing programs in ways that can be distributed across any device or screen in both long and short form.

Why is it important for content marketers to get this branded content out to wider audiences?

eMarketer predicts that mobile usage will grow 23 percent this year as time spent online and with traditional media declines. Last year, mobile time (excluding voice calls) lined up evenly with time spent on desktops and laptops. This year, they believe that mobile will pull significantly ahead. With this emphatic shift to mobile devices, it is imperative to seize the opportunity and provide relevant content consumers connect with; when and where they want it.

What strategies do you recommend for content marketers to get their branded content out? What strategies have proven effective and not so effective?

Marketers should leverage every communication channel available to them to expand their branded content exposure, including paid, earned and owned media. On the paid media side, the movement toward native advertising offers some unique opportunities to provide branded content more organic to a user’s consumption. Then on the owned media side, one of the areas that my company, Zumobi, has been pioneering is the enablement of content marketing programs inside a marketer’s own native mobile and tablet apps. Our ZBi platform provides a compelling opportunity for marketers to deliver personalized content to their customer based on their expressed intentions and preferences.

What are some of the distinctive/recent challenges digital publishers/electronic content providers face today when it comes to wider distribution of their branded content and maximizing their reach/message that perhaps weren’t challenges just a few years ago?

Capturing consumer attention in an increasingly competitive digital media landscape is definitely a challenge. Also, developing and optimizing content for distribution across multiple screens is a significant endeavor. The fragmentation created by the diversity of connected devices, screens and operating systems add major complexities to business today.

What are some don’ts marketers should avoid?

Don’t assume that one size fits all when it comes to content marketing. Different consumption modes require different formats, digital assets and feeds, as well as diverse technology to really be successful in today’s evolving digital media landscape.

What are some of the challenges/limitations/opportunities publishers and marketers need to keep in mind?

Most Fortune 500 companies from major auto manufactures, to banks and CPG brands have their own mobile applications. Frequently, we’ve noticed that these were launched quickly as utility apps, with functionalities to book a hotel room, check an account balance or print out a boarding pass. These features are functional of course, but they do not provide a mechanism for the brand to communicate, cross-sell or upsell to their customers. Adding a creative and compelling content hub to their app enables brands to keep their customers engaged on a whole new level, motivating them to keep coming back for more.

How should publishers/marketers be leveraging different platforms and media to increase their reach/audience? Any creative/innovative strategies they should consider?

Brands should consider deploying a content marketing platform for apps that easily leverages existing content from outlets like YouTube, Twitter (and even their print publications) to continually inject interesting new dynamic content into their app. What many brands may not know is that this can be done without the hassles of long-term development efforts, continual app store updates or even ongoing technical assistance from IT departments. Marketers that embrace a content marketing platform can easily update their apps automatically and streamline their process in real-time. In addition, brands benefit from the app data they gather because it can be utilized to inform associated marketing efforts.

Can you provide at least one example of a digital content provider/publisher that has been particularly successful in getting its branded content out to the masses?

For last year’s “Chevrolet Technology Series” campaign, Zumobi, in partnership with Motor Trend and Commonwealth, utilized our ZBi platform to translate a special print editorial collection to the mobile environment. This provided users a unique branded content experience across Motor Trend’s iOS and Android reader apps. Essentially, the ZBi platform provided a native-ad solution for Chevrolet. The campaign achieved phenomenal success, resulting in an unprecedented 37 percent engagement rate, which showcased the fact that more than one-third of people interacted with the native mobile advertisement. Additionally, we were named a GOLD winner of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) 9th Annual MIXX Awards in IAB’s Standard Mobile Rich Media Display category.

What other often overlooked factors/criteria should publishers/marketers be considering?

Publishers and marketers must always be cognizant of our changing times. Since the advent of apps about seven years ago, the world has undergone a momentous digital transformation that shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s by all accounts speeding up. Stay fresh, stay relevant and remain successful.

Any other thoughts/comments?

Consumers want information, but they also want to be entertained. When done correctly, a brand’s app can provide “infotainment” to keep the customer intrigued and engaged. After eight years in the mobile space, I’m confident that mobile content marketing will drive real results for brands and exceed expectations.

View the full QA with Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi, here on adotas.