Tag Archive for "digital strategy" - Digital Advertising Agency – Marketing Strategy | IQ Agency digital strategy Archives |

Posts Tagged "digital strategy"

How To Write A Website RFP (Request for Proposal)

A website RFP, or Request for Proposal, is a document that outlines the requirements for the website redesign project, existing challenges, and business objectives. The RFP serves as a wish list for the project and invites agencies to submit a plan detailing how they would address your specific project challenges.

As a digital advertising agency, we receive Requests for Proposal on a weekly basis, for a variety of projects. Some RFPs are simple, but website RFPs tend to be more complex, and it’s understandable why. Your company’s website serves as the hub of your marketing: educating prospects, inspiring purchases, and providing a consistent source of content that helps them throughout the time they are a customer.

It’s not just the site’s importance in your marketing that makes website RFPs so complex, but how many stakeholders, opinions, and requests are often involved. For this reason, it is essential to provide a clear picture of your needs in order for the agency to accurately deliver a proposal. Without this information, the odds of disappointment in the end result of the project increase exponentially.

Website RFP Committee Meeting

What many website RFP committee meetings tend to feel like.

Continue Reading

  • 12.16.15

IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of our favorite……apps.

Unroll.me – Far superior to Gmail’s tabbed approach, Unroll.me is the simplest way to manage and filter your email to greatly reduce the number of times your phone vibrates and distracts you from what is truly important.

IQ best apps - unroll.me

Slack – Email will never die but that’s not stopping Slack from trying. Slack manages office communication with great cross-platform integration and we love the awesome giphy feature.

IQ best apps - Slack

Spotify – The streaming music service’s user base continued to grow this year and they extended into the fitness app market by launching a running feature that detects steps per minute, matching song pace to the user’s actual pace.

IQ best apps - Spotify

Instagram – While VSCO made a strong push this year, Instagram is still the photo sharing app to beat. From a marketing perspective the new self-serve ad platform they unleashed this year is fantastic!

IQ best apps - Instagram

Marriott – In addition to the great design this powerful hotel app (yes, we were surprised a hotel app made the list too) does more than just book your next stay at any of their 4,000 properties. You can chat with an associate to dial in the specifics of your booking or make special requests.

IQ best apps - Marriott

Timehop – Time travel to your past social posts. One of the best apps even though it can cause some self-shaming.

IQ best apps - Timehop

Snapchat – Started as a joke among older millennials but they’ve innovated to be a good news source for a tough market of media consumers, and their creative filters are almost memes themselves!

IQ best apps - Snapchat

Venmo and Cash – Instant and secure ways to send and receive money between individuals. It’s actually frightening how fast they work. Venmo took it one step further and socialized the act of sending money.

IQ best apps - Venmo and Cash

TwoDots – More than a few of us are addicted to this game. Just download it and curse us later.

IQ best apps - Two Dots

Favor – Their tag line is “Get Anything Delivered” Seriously. Anything. Food from your favorite barbeque place? Done.

Need a stapler? Done.

Anything you want in your city in under an hour.

IQ best apps - Favor

Tripit – If you connect your Outlook, Yahoo, or Gmail accounts Tripit will automatically pull plane tickets, hotel confirmation, restaurants reservations, and event tickets into the app and send you reminders of where you are supposed to be when.  One place for all of your itinerary needs. Some of us won’t travel without it.

IQ best apps - Tripit

So what will 2016 bring? We’re betting on apps and services that provide deeper connectivity and tied into wearables as more products enter the market at lower price points. Let us know what technologies IQ can research for your business.

You may also like:

3 Ways Voice and Tone Influence Brand Perception

Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

How Much Should you Budget for Marketing – what other companies will spend in 2016

  • 11.10.15

Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

Strategy Perception - Context

If you’re paying attention to the ad industry at all, you’re probably aware of the ‘attention’ media buyers have received by their clients. The kind of attention that costs thousands or millions to resolve.

Though you should always be assessing media spends and evaluating effectiveness, its come to our attention at IQ that many marketers today neglect a seemingly obvious and important piece of media effectiveness — context.

It’s important to seek 3rd party research for a number of applications in marketing. But think for a minute about your own consumption patterns.

Have I ever purchased directly after clicking a banner ad?

or,

Have I ever purchased a product from preroll video advertising?

or even,

When’s the last time I purchased a new product based on TV ads?

You’ve likely completed a purchase from a form of display advertising (loosely defined). Now think of your answers to these types of questions in the context of your consumption —“What else was I doing during this time?” Your answers will vary here.

Maybe you were checking email, and clicked a link to an article. Maybe you were attempting to watch your favorite show on Hulu. But definitely, you were checking messages on your phone, your Apple Watch, your Fitbit, or corralling the kid(s).

We live in an era of multitasked, multiscreen, low attention span consumption habits. In this case, we must consider the context for which an ad of any sort is seen by the consumer to develop a style of ad that will grab attention when we need it to.

To make the best ads possible, marketers must consider context along with attention and strategy to determine the right approach.

Below is a brief framework for creating more effective ads:

1.  Context

Where will the consumer be when viewing the ads? 

– What platform will the ads be viewed on? 

– What will the consumer (likely) be doing when viewing the ads? (i.e. multitasking) 

2. Attention

How attentive will the audience be on this platform? 

– Which screen will their attention be driven to?

What type of content will surround the ad? 

3. Strategy

Based on context and attention level, should the ad promote engagement or persuade the consumer? 

– Should the ad inform or entertain primarily?

– How critical is attention on first touch? (considering multi-channel ad campaigns)

The history of advertising leans heavily on persuasion. Shopping used to be fairly linear in that you might see an ad on TV or in a magazine and head directly in-store for more information. Advertisers had to persuade you enough to get you to physically try or buy.

But as the internet expanded in popularity, so did ad channels, creating a new ad content approach: engagement. Consider social media advertising. Attention spans will be remarkably low due to the amount of content. For this platform, its critical to get attention fast through entertaining content. This is why context matters first and foremost.

The next time you’re planning for new ad campaigns, try using this framework to right size your spend by platform and create content that’s appropriate for the context. If anything, you’ll likely have well grounded creative ideas and maybe even happier customers over time.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

3 Ways Voice and Tone Influence Brand Perception

7 Questions for your 2016 Marketing Plan

Twitter: Now With Ocean-Breeze Long Form!

  • 11.03.15

3 Ways Voice and Tone Influence Brand Perception

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

We’ve all heard this adage before. While it may serve a purpose in personal communication, it’s just not true for brands. As a brand what you say is just as important as how you say it. And since most brand communication is written, you’ve got to account for a lack of vocal and facial nuance with what you’re saying, too.

It's all in your voice and tone

Every brand has a style guide, and just as important as having branded logos and colors is having a brand voice and tone document. This document will help you figure out how to express the brand’s values and thinking in written communication on websites, emails, social posts, and more. Voice and tone are two distinct aspects of verbal and written expression that impact how a brand’s audience perceives them.

A brand’s “voice” is much like a person’s “voice.” It’s how they speak, the words they use and the order of phrases that communicate a feeling or message.

A brand’s tone, just like a person’s, changes subtly depending on the topic. A brand may use more slang or be more energetic on social media, but more straightforward on an email or a landing page.

Let’s look at an example of how the voice stays consistent while the tone shifts with circumstance:

How a brand interacts with their audience on social media on 4th of July is going to look a lot different from how they do on Memorial Day. Why? Because 4th of July is a day of patriotic celebration, and Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died while serving our country. You wouldn’t want to share a post for Memorial Day with the cheerful exuberance you would expect in a 4th of July post. If you did that, you risk alienating the members of your audience who have ties to the military.

Clearly the tone is just as important as the voice in these kind of posts, and both are equally likely to influence the way an audience views a brand. Here are some things to keep in mind when thinking of how to use your brand’s voice and tone to positively influence your audience:

1. Pinpoint what you want to talk about as a brand.

Understanding what topics you want to talk about as a brand is a great first step. These topics should relate back to the brand’s values. You can incorporate the brand values into your writing on these topics. This is a great way to reinforce who your brand is and what the brand stands for.

2. Understand the words that evoke your brand values to your audience.

You know who your brand is, but are you showing your audience who you are as a brand? To find out what your audience thinks of you, you can use social listening to analyze what words or phrases your audience uses to describe you. Using emotionally evocative language is a simple way to impact how your audience sees you. If your audience sees you as glib when you’re going for lighthearted, take a moment to look at the language you’re using as a brand and find ways to keep it playful but sincere.

3. Treat your audience like a part of your team.

You want your audience to become fans and advocates of your brand. You don’t want your audience to feel like they’re being condescended. Share tips, but don’t write in a way that makes your brand sound superior. This can be the simple difference between saying “You may know _____ but did you know _____?” versus “here is every little thing about ______.”  Encourage your audience to create and share their own content with your social media accounts by writing posts that have a personal touch. If your audience feels like you’re creating a community, they are more likely to feel connected to your brand and be involved with your social accounts.

Ultimately as a brand what you say and how you say it impacts how your audience sees you and relates to you. By creating a clear voice and tone guide for your brand you can understand how your audience sees you. As well, you can have a positive influence on their future interactions with your brand on your website, via email and social networks.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

<hr />

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/+IQAgencyUS” rel=”author”>IQ Agency on Google+</a>

 

  • 11.02.15

Tis the season of #PSL

PerceiveShareLearn

Tis the season of #PSL.

For most people that means the season of orange packaging and pumpkin spice flavors infiltrating everything from coffee creamer to dog treats. But at IQ we take a different approach to that three letter acronym:

Perceive. Share. Learn.

These three principles are at the core of how we grow our knowledge and understanding of any topic, both personally and professionally. When an IQ-er finds an insightful or interesting article online we share it with colleagues via Slack post or an email, and odds are you do the same. This is a simple and effective way to encourage collaborative learning and growth between coworkers.

So put down your pumpkin spice latte and see what the real #PSL is all about.

Perceive.

Perception is at the center of almost everything we do in advertising and marketing Even before we begin a project, we think about different content that we find interesting and pinpoint why. Then, we consider how different audiences react to content as well as how our clients do. We conduct research to find out more about our clients’ audiences as well as those of their competitors. Even during the creative process, we go through rounds of feedback to see what different roles at our agency think about the work. This is all perception, and it’s one of the most important things we do.

Share.

It takes three clicks or less to go from reading an article to sharing it with your network on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. We all share an enormous amount of content with people every day via social and messaging apps.

When you share something of interest, like updates to a popular social media platform, you’re not only giving others the opportunity to view it, you’re also opening a platform for discussion. This often leads to a wider perspective and understanding of the topic at hand. In the workplace, this also shows your colleagues what topics you are passionate about, and can position you as the go-to expert on content strategy, social listening or another subject.

Learn.

You learn something new every day. It’s not always a radical epiphany, but striving to gain more knowledge and understanding of the topics you work with on a daily basis is important. Not only will you be better informed and ahead of the curve on trends, you will also be considered a thought leader in your office – if not on a larger scale. Learning is best when it’s collaborative, so take time to create a dialogue with coworkers on relevant professional topics that makes everyone more knowledgeable.

These three principles feed into each other and create a cycle that propels you forward in professional development, both personally and as a team. At IQ, we #PSL every day. How do you?

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

7 Questions for your 2016 Marketing Plan

Twitter: Now With Ocean-Breeze Long Form!

IQ Spotlight: T.R. Wilhoit, Brand Strategist

  • 05.05.15

The Next Big Fight Won’t Involve Boxers

Content Providers Fighting

Many people are saying the “fight of the century” between Mayweather and Pacquiao didn’t live up to the hype. But a new fight emerged in the aftermath, live video streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat versus content providers. And this fight should be highly entertaining.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people watched this past weekend’s boxing match for free using these services. Sure the video quality was not HD and the audio was from whatever party was streaming it but the alternate broadcast was good enough for a lot of people. A lot of people who didn’t pay $100 a piece.

Let’s say that just three hundred thousand people worldwide watched via Periscope/Meercat. If those people had instead paid to see the fight that would have generated thirty million in revenue.  That’s ten percent of the overall fight’s purse. In a day when HBO and Showtime are still sending bounty hunters to bars to find illegal fight broadcasts, they aren’t going to leave thirty million just lying around. Even if the fight brought in revenues of at least four-hundred million.

But what happens when Periscope opens up an API? This situation is going to explode. Imagine a high quality GoPro camera live streaming a Taylor Swift concert via Periscope from the front row. Access and then monetization. A scalper gets their hands on a premium ticket and now it’s not about reselling it to the highest bidder, it’s about making money from live streaming from that ultra-exclusive location.

Twitter has a lot of friends in entertainment; friends that spend a lot of money within Twitter. And Hollywood uses/needs Twitter to make a lot of money for their TV shows, records, movies, and events. It’s going to be fun to watch both sides maneuver but the winners will be the artists and entertainers who figure out how to adapt and use the new technology to their advantage and elevate the user experience.

If you have questions about how to enhance your content using emerging technologies contact IQ.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

How Facebook’s New Algorithm Impacts Brands

At IQ #weloveATL

The New Brass Ring: Trusted Knowledge Source

Every Brand Needs a Playbook

450747183

Brands have been planning since the dawn of marketing, but with the advent of the digital consumer it has become a great deal more complex. This post lays out the steps that lead to a marketing execution plan that is based on data and insights.

An Evidence Based Approach

Marketing has become a very complicated game. On every play there are thousands of possible permutations and like chess you have to not only win the moment, but also make it part of the bigger strategy. It’s not easy because there are so many things to consider, from the sheer number of channels and influences, to the behavior of the independent minded, digitally savvy consumer. Trying to do it by gut, or even experience, alone is just not possible anymore. That’s why brands need an evidence-based approach to marketing planning.

First Things First

There a number of steps to developing a plan, each building on the other, but to begin you need to gather all the intelligence you can find. This includes data and insights on barriers and opportunities inside your company, the category, the competition and the target consumer. It also includes doing a health check on the brand position, reviewing the lead process, if any, the conversion process and the role of technology; internal and external. Then with, hopefully, target audience segmentation and personas in hand, you should conduct a competitive analysis, use social listening to see what your targets are talking about, and analyze search patterns to glimpse what they are actually doing.

Mind the Gaps

Normally companies already have lots of this information, as well as Attitude & Usage research, sales and geographical data and so on. The idea is to synthesize all this data into insights and direction. But first you should determine the gaps in your knowledge, where you need additional understanding, and decide how critical it is to fill those gaps. Often stakeholder interviews, across the organization, from sales to the executive suite, are a fast way to fill in knowledge gaps, identify what is important internally and as an important bonus, get buy-in for the planning process.

Journey Mapping

All this data and knowledge becomes inputs for the next phase; Journey Mapping. This critically important step is based on the Mckinsey Consumer Decision Journey model introduced in 2009. Its job is to map consumer behavior at the key steps of awareness, evaluation, conversion, post purchase and loyalty. It tells us what each segment of consumers is thinking, doing and feeling at each juncture; it also identifies barriers, distribution requirements, brand role and more. Usually conducted as a collaborative workshop, Journey Mapping brings marketers together with key stakeholders and subject matter experts, to answer the key questions of “When” and “Where” to connect with consumers, and the role and purpose of channels at the different stages of the journey. Of course it is invaluable to talk to consumers too if time and budget allow.

Mighty Messaging

Building on Journey Mapping is Content Strategy, which is focused on answering the other two key questions “What to say” and “How to say it” at each touch point. The objective is to determine the most relevant and impactful messaging that can be presented to each consumer at each interaction.  That messaging needs to be relevant to the persona and their stage of the journey, while also being designed to contribute to a cumulative brand impression. At the same time messaging must be delivered in a way that is right for the context of the interaction; a video on a phone, for example, might be perfect or completely wrong depending on where someone is likely to view it and what he or she might be doing at the time.

Making the Cut

By this stage of the process you will have identified many potential tactics that address “where, when, what and how”.  But since budgets and time are always limited, you need to make choices based on each tactic’s ability to achieve business goals. Tactics are therefore reviewed for how they are projected to deliver on business objectives within time, resource, difficulty and ROI requirements and those that make the cut go into The Playbook. This is a prioritized action plan, typically covering 12-18 months, made up of the most effective and efficient tactics that you have determined will together achieve your business goals for the period. With it you know what marketing tactics need to be executed when, what performance they are projected to deliver, over what period of time, at what cost and at what difficulty level.

Less Guesswork

The Playbook is the culmination of a comprehensive evidence-based strategic process that takes the guesswork out of this complex process and gives senior management and the marketing team the confidence they need that their marketing plans will accomplish their business goals. While experience alone might have worked in simpler times, it’s just too risky today, which is why the Playbook will give a brand a much higher chance of success vs. reacting, improvising or just going on gut.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

The Time is Now: Google’s Mobile Deadline

Part Museum. Part Zoo. All Fun.

Inspiring an Atmosphere of #IntelligenceAtPlay in my Projects

  • 11.04.14

Mobile First Website Design

by Jay Littman

Mobile First

When it comes to responsive design, the concept of mobile first is not a new one. It was first coined by Luke Wroblewski (LukeW) in 2009.  However, as time goes on, it only becomes more apparent how important designing with mobile in mind will continue to be.

As of February of this year, Americans use tablets, phones, and other mobile devices 55 percent of the time they go online.  At IQ, we’re no strangers to responsive projects. We want to ensure that this huge portion of our clients’ traffic is able to access their sites without anything breaking. But we do have internal debates over which should come first: desktop design or mobile?

I tend to vote for mobile first. We know designing for mobile is important, but why design for mobile first? There’s several reasons to explore:

1. Forced Focus

Designing mobile first forces you to focus. Because when designing for mobile, you want the quickest loading time possible. That means cutting out anything unnecessary to the user experience, paring down a site hierarchy to the essentials, and keeping the core purpose of a site as the only content left standing.  Designing for mobile first requires designing the simplest, quickest method to get the user to what they want from your site. Then, in desktop versions, expanding upon that design while keeping those core functions top of mind.

2. Smaller Real Estate, Bigger Design Challenge

One of the key elements of designing for mobile, and also possibly the most intimidating, is that space is limited on a phone screen. Mobile design is the tiny NYC apartment where you end up using the oven for storage if you don’t plan for your small space. But if you do plan ahead, you can end up with a space that is streamlined and incredibly elegant. I will admit that this is not an easy endeavor, but your designs will be better for it.

3. Enhancements versus Degradation

Let’s get a bit technical. When you design for desktop first, it means loading all of the content that would be seen on the largest platform and then reducing it to the mobile version. The trouble is your user already had to wait for all that content to load on their smartphone before they can get to the mobile version of the site… if they indeed waited and didn’t just close the page out to find something else. Designing for mobile first means allows a minimal amount of content to load first, streamlining the experience. This is a lot faster and means your site gets enhancements as it moves up to desktop, instead of degradations of content when moving down to mobile.

These are some of the things we consider when beginning a website design project here at IQ. This method may help you find a few ways to improve your user experience all over, not just on mobile. So on your next site design project, try starting with mobile first and see where this aspect of creative intelligence takes you.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

IQ brings #KNOWvember to you

Redesigning Amazon.com

Do’s & Don’ts of Creating Brand Videos

  • 09.17.14

Budgeting 2015 – The Essentials

marketing budget done wisely

Since digital channels are where so many interactions happen, brands need to make sure they have the essential digital technology pieces in place.  These include:

website / mobile / blogs / social / email / search / content / ratings & reviews / marketing automation / analytics / commerce

While almost every brand probably needs a website, the exact recipe should be determined by the right strategy work, as we discussed in this recent post: 5 Steps to a Defensible 2015 Marketing Budget.

The idea is that modern marketing is circular not linear. You never come to a dead end and everything connects and supports everything else in the brand ecosystem.  In order to do that you need to have certain technology pieces of the puzzle in place before you jump to tactics.

You probably already have a website. It’s should be the core of your ecosystem. This is where you are free to cultivate and convert to the best of your ability. But all websites are not created equal. A modern marketing websites should:

  1. Have landing pages that are customized by where viewers come from.
  2. Tell a persuasive brand story customized to each viewer’s interests.
  3. Attract search with content designed for SEO.
  4. Enable advocacy with content and social media.
  5. Use Responsive design to enable viewing on any mobile device.
  6. Identify visitors and deliver relevant content.
  7. Produce comprehensive activity analytics.
  8. Enable speedy marketing updates with a flexible CMS.

These are the basics of a modern brand website. The key, however, is in how you execute them. You messaging, branding, content, design and user experience are all the product of your strategy work, without which your site may not resonate with consumers or produce the leads and conversions you hope for. Whatever the ingredients, the fundamental idea is that your digital marketing infrastructure should enable you to execute and adapt quickly and easily.

Advertising and acquisition tactics alone rarely close the deal anymore.  Consumers, B2C and B2B, need to do research, evaluate, talk with friends and peers, and be cultivated. It’s a complex soup of influences and interactions. The good news is that it can be mapped and understood, so that armed with that knowledge you can deliver the right message to the right person at exactly the right time. In order to do that, however, you need to have some essential mechanical pieces of the puzzle in place first.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

5 Reasons to Rebalance Your 2014 Marketing Plan

7 Questions for Your 2014 Marketing Plan

Redesigning Amazon.com

  • 07.18.14

Dear Brands, You’ll Never Be Potato Salad

advice on viral for brands

 

The Internet is a strange thing; so strange, in fact, that a man asking for $10 to help him make potato salad for the first time has resulted in over $50,000 in a Kickstarter campaign that has gone viral. And why? His appeal wasn’t one based on need (he wasn’t starving). He didn’t promise to feed the hungry. He literally just wanted to try to make potato salad. And the Internet thought he should be able to make a lot of it.

Brands spend millions of dollars every year paying agencies for content aimed at going “viral” in a similar way, and it almost never does. The ask from these brands has become so normalized that social content is often just called “viral content.” The ask sounds something like this: “We want to create a viral video.” What they mean is that they want to create a video intended specifically for the Internet, usually YouTube. But when it gets uploaded, it gets a few hundred views and the agency that made it cashes a nice check. The brand gets very little in return.

I have a word of advice for you: stop. You aren’t a potato salad Kickstarter. Your brand is not a random phenomenon; it is carefully crafted. Your brand is also not human. Consumers know both of these things and so the content you publish, the campaigns you launch, are expected to be of the highest quality. The chances that you’ll create something that is so different from what is expected that gets shared millions of times is really really small. It happens, but rarely.

Instead of spending millions of dollars constantly creating content in hopes of something resonating, create content with utility. Unless you are a brand in an entertainment category, understanding the questions consumers have and providing solutions will do much more for your business.

Lowe’s does this really well. Its Vine account is a case study in strategic early adoption of an emerging channel, and its use of YouTube is really effective.

Alternatively, if you are set on reaching a million+ people with a single piece of content, partner with an influencer who already has a large audience to create content on your behalf. Ford has done this really well on YouTube.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

You may also like:

The Great Social Media Bait and Switch

YouTube: The Next Big Thing Is Already Here

4 Reasons Brands Need Agile Agencies

Tags