October 20th, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

Embedded, opt-in ads that reward attention and are contextualized in users’ app experiences yield deeper engagement than standard interstitial video ads, according to a study conducted by neuromarketing companies True Impact and Neurons Inc. on behalf of in-app mobile video advertising platform MediaBrix. The study tested users’ reactions to ads using two different delivery formats but featuring the same creative, and found that the contextualized ads yielded eight times more mental engagement, upwards of three times amount of time spent with the brand, and higher brand recall and positive sentiment than their standard counterparts.

The study also yielded several other findings. The interstitial ads initiated a fight-or-flight response for users at twice the rate of the embedded opt-in ads, and just 25 percent of users watched the entire interstitial video ad, compared to 90 percent for the opt-in versions. Furthermore, users spent three times as much time fixated on the brand’s creative and were eight times more cognitively engaged for the opt-in ads than they were with the interstitials.

“We believe mobile is the most powerful advertising medium of our day, but the industry as a whole lacks research and real innovation to capitalize on it.” Ari Brandt, CEO and co-founder of MediaBrix, said in a statement. “This research allows marketers to understand the opportunities that lie in mobile and the implications of how we approach consumers there. We’re excited to expand upon these findings and analyze more formats in our mission to build meaningful, coveted one-to-one connections between brands and consumers.”

October 17th, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

Just a few years ago, one might have raised an eyebrow if you told them you made a living by making videos and uploading them to YouTube. But in 2016, “YouTubing” is just as viable a career path as, say, hosting a talk radio show. This is because brands now recognize that the medium serves as phenomenal marketing tool, and they are increasingly willing to pay the average Joes running online channels to promote their products and services.

To illustrate this reality, Google (the owner of YouTube) has purchased FameBit, provider a technology platform designed to help connect brands with the social media personalities best suited to represent them. On FameBit’s platform, content creators with at least 5,000 subscribers (read: potential customers), can create a profile and reach out to companies with pitches explaining why they believe they are a good fit; businesses, meanwhile, can chose who to work with, and leverage tools that help them negotiate the terms of their deals (e.g. budget, video type/format, etc.).

Companies and video bloggers (AKA “vloggers”) have been able to use partner programs and other such tools to collaborate for years, but it hasn’t been easy for everyone to profit from them. One goal of the acquisition, according to a blog post from Google’s vice president of product management, Ariel Bardin, is to create more opportunities for smaller brands, as well as lesser known YouTubers.

“Our hope is that FameBit’s democratized marketplace will allow creators of all sizes to directly connect with brands, as well as provide a great technology solution for companies like [multi-channel networks] and agencies to find matches for their creators and brand partners,” Bardin wrote in his blog post.

Bardin added that, despite the acquisition, creators will still have choices in terms of how they link up with brands. However, he noted that “we believe that Google’s relationship with brands and YouTube’s partnerships with creators, combined with FameBit’s technology and expertise, will help increase the number of branded content opportunities available, bringing even more revenue into the online video community.”

October 14th, 2016 by Leonard Klie

The latest consumer satisfaction numbers are in, and they don’t bode well for contact centers. According to CFI Group’s Contact Center Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction with contact centers fell to 68 on a 100-point scale, the lowest in nine years, driven by contact centers’ inability to resolve issues on the first contact and a growing impatience with interactive voice response (IVR) systems.

According to the index, just 52 percent of contacts were resolved on the first attempt (down 6 percent from 2015), and nearly one-third (32 percent) of consumers couldn’t successfully self-serve through the IVRs.

The overall score of 68 is a four-point drop from last year and represents the lowest score since CFI began compiling the index in 2007.

The index also shows a widening gap between what consumers expect and what contact centers can actually deliver, with millennials feeling it the worst.

“Expectations of millennials are completely different from those of any generation preceding it,” said CFI Group CEO Sheri Petras in a statement. “Millennials simply expect the information to be available at their fingertips. Just having to reach out to a contact center at all because they couldn’t find the information themselves with a few taps on their phone puts an organization behind the eight-ball right away. And when half of these inquiries are not resolved with the first contact, you are creating ill will among a key customer base. Millennials are now the nation’s largest living demographic, so paying attention to the preferences of this group is absolutely critical if contact centers hope to thrive in this changing customer service environment.”

So what can contact centers do to improve? CFI Group recommends, among other things, improving IVRs, expanding the communications options for reaching the contact center, offering a virtual hold/call-back option when the contact center is overly busy, and resolving issues on the first try.

When customer issues are resolved in the first five minutes of the first contact, customer satisfaction was found to be very high, at 90 percent.

Here’s the infographic, which breaks down some of the numbers a little more:

CCSI 2016 Infographic (PRNewsFoto/CFI Group)

CCSI 2016 Infographic (PRNewsFoto/CFI Group)

October 13th, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

57 percent of marketers consider generating new leads to be the most important aspect of their digital marketing strategies, according to a recent report from marketing technology provider Adestra. Based on responses from marketers representing both B2B and B2C enterprises, the study also found that they prioritize improving conversion rates, brand awareness, and ROI, and consider email to be their most effective digital channel.

Interestingly, although one-third of marketers surveyed said that their digital marketing programs are having more impact than ever, 60 percent reported that they are only seeing marginal increases in effectiveness. Furthermore, 48 percent of marketers consider social media strategies to be the most difficult to get right, with 44 percent saying that search engine optimization is the most challenging.

According to Ryan Phelan, VP of Marketing Insights at Adestra, marketers need to be proactive in familiarizing themselves with new channels. “The rapidly changing technology landscape continues to have a disruptive effect on marketing strategy,” he said in a statement. “Just when marketers feel like they’ve mastered Facebook, for example, along comes Periscope and Snapchat. We tell our clients all the time to go out and learn what you don’t know. And call on your ESP and other partners to help jump-start innovation.”

Phelan also suggests that marketers make more of an effort to listen to their customers, saying that “successful companies have a clear strategy and have their fingers on the pulse of their customers. They continue to launch, listen and learn – accurately tracking results and making adjustments along the way because they know what they need to accomplish.”

October 10th, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

At Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference last week, Qstream announced the addition of the Coaching Hub component to its mobile sales performance platform. According to Duncan Lennox, CEO and cofounder of Qstream, the solution taps into the often neglected “human” elements of sales to boost educational processes.

“What we hear all the time from companies is that managers want to be able to coach more effectively, but they don’t necessarily know how,” Lennox says. “They have all the experience, because they’ve been reps themselves, but they’re not necessarily sure how to help with the coaching processes.” And, for reps, the process can also be a very time consuming one.

The Coaching Hub, Lennox explains, includes a workflow that makes it “incredibly simple” for managers to address a salesperson’s proficiency gaps, and hold conversations with the intention of  sharpening their performances. “The manager can start the dialogue, and the rep can then respond through the app when they’re ready, in a time that suits them,” Lennox says. “So it kind of takes the pressure off of both sides and facilitates the whole process.”

The platform can combine data that is processed within Qstream with data drawn from CRM systems and observational data, Lennox says. When a manager conducts a customer meeting with a rep, or observes them as they carry out different functions of their jobs, he can capture additional information and add it in as part of his analysis. Users can access information about close rates, or the number of attained second meetings, for instance, as well as a variety of other sales metrics. “The manager can [then] walk [the reps] through the process of who needs coaching, where they need the coaching, and how to do the coaching.”

Combining CRM data with Qstream’s data also enables the platform to trigger new events. If a particular sales rep has moved a deal from stage three to stage four, and records indicate that closing skills are vital to step four, but the rep’s closing skills are measured as low, managers can automate the platform to assign additional scenarios that focus on closing.

The solution was developed in collaboration with Qstream’s higher-profile customers, including LinkedIn, and has been piloted by enterprises over the past six months, Lennox says. While it’s still early to report the results, he anticipates that the tools will  help firms build on improvements they have already measured. “Typically, we’re seeing, on average, a 30-35% increase in proficiency across sales reps that are using Qstream, and that’s translating into business metrics like 20% higher quota attainment,” Lennox says.


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