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Can Personality Tests Make a Difference for Your Team?

At first glance, a personality test may not seem like a valid exercise to bring to your workplace. While this writer firmly believes taking a “Which Golden Girl Are You?” quiz is never a waste of time, it might not give you much insight into how you can improve your relationships in the office. Personality quizzes that specifically focus on determining and comparing working styles, however, can certainly be beneficial for your team.

Taking a closer look at workplace personality types can help you to build healthier and more productive relationships on a personal level — an undeniably valuable benefit considering that many of us end up spending more time with our co-workers than we do with our loved ones. Of course, by improving your one-on-one work relationships, you’ll also help to promote more effective interactions across your teams, which ultimately contributes to a stronger, more successful business.

Determining and understanding personality types is trickier than it sounds, though. First of all, there are a number of different methods and models to choose from, with each one presenting its own pros and cons. And once you settle on a personality model that sounds like it will work best for your team and your goals, the results you get won’t instantly translate to healthier relationships — it’s all a matter of taking what you learn and applying it in constructive ways.

With all of this in mind, the GO2 crew is just beginning to learn about how our own personality types may be influencing our team dynamics. We’ve chosen the SELF profile model designed by NST, or National Seminars Training, to guide us.

NST describes their quizzing tool as “a fun, quick assessment of people’s interaction styles.” Now, I feel I have to give you a few caveats on following that link. First, the graphics will instantly transport you back to your elementary school days. And when you finish the quiz, your results will include some superfluous “fun facts,” like a list of celebrities that, according to NST, share your interaction style. But if you can overlook the aesthetics and the fluff, you’ll find some valuable insight.

To give you a general overview of the SELF model, it’s based on four major personality types or interaction styles that you’re likely to find on any team:

  • Social — a creative, persuasive and outgoing risk-taker who thrives on building relationships.
  • Efficient — a dependable, organized and goal-oriented leader who likes to have both control and recognition.
  • Loyal — a caring, compromising and helpful team player who prioritizes harmony and understanding.
  • Factual — a reserved, methodical and meticulous thinker who emphasizes accuracy and logic.

self-graphic

What makes the SELF approach particularly great is that it gives you quiz results with much more nuance than what we’ve found with other models. You won’t just get a description of your personality type — the SELF model puts it all into context for you, with a breakdown of your interaction style and a greater understanding of what that style means for you and the people on your teams. You’ll even get suggested working strategies that can help you to improve your interactions with employees, peers and managers of all styles.

After taking the quiz myself, I have to admit that even the “fun facts” do have some potential to help put it all in perspective. For instance, one particular fun fact helped me to clear up any doubt I’d had about being labelled an E. “In the Seinfeld sitcom, the character most like E is Elaine” — okay, I’m sold.

Once you begin putting your SELF profile information and advice to work for you, you’re likely to gain a better understanding of how each personality type or interaction style can play an important role in your workplace. You’ll see that individual strengths complement one another to create more balanced, effective teams.

If you and your team decide to find your profiles through SELF or any other method, keep in mind as you read your results that a personality type is never an absolute — we are all dynamic individuals who may work, react and adapt in different ways at different times. You’ll want to use the results of any personality test not as a rigid set of traits and rules, but as a general framework that can help you navigate workplace relationships and set your teams up for greater success.

Influencer Marketing

Consumers’ faith in brands’ traditional advertising campaigns continues to wane. Only 47% of today’s Internet users trust traditional advertising.1 They’re tired of paid ads interrupting their experience. So ultimately, they’re tuning them out. But this vast and growing number of doubters isn’t blindly making purchases.

Instead, they’re turning to trusted social influencers – consumers just like them. People who have a following – some relatively small, others large. These influencers post authentic content that influences followers and lowers the wall between the consumer and brand, while building up the brand’s image.

smartpicksKnown as Influencer Marketing, many believe it to be the advertising industry’s next big thing. So what is Influencer Marketing? In a nutshell, it’s word-of-mouth advertising that can reach a mass audience all at once. Rather than the old-school approach of talking to a consumer with traditional advertising, Influencer Marketing talks with them, entertains them and informs them.

In more technical terms, Influencer Marketing uses key leaders to promote your brand’s message to potential customers through various social media outlets. This style of native advertising places products in organic content. Dedicated Media found that purchase intent is 53 percent higher for native ads.2

Now this doesn’t mean running out and paying a Kardashian hundreds of thousands of dollars to tout your product – unless that’s right for you, your budget and product. However, it could mean giving your new stroller to a mom with a strong blog following to test it out. Or giving your video game controller to a YouTube-famous pro gamer whose review could work wonders for your product. When it comes to product information, these folks are trusted sources.

They’re specialists who generate honest recommendations and create a running dialogue with their followers – a group that wants to receive updates from the influencer. Yes, some influencers may want compensation to generate sponsored content, but not anywhere in the stratosphere of Kardashian money.

moneybagsCollective Bias found that 70% of consumers are more likely to value an endorsement from a non-A-List celebrity.1 So rather than chasing premier talent, that pro video gamer (someone who can have an audience of millions) can make a big impact on your bottom line for very little expense. In fact, 82% of people are likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendation.3 Micro-influencers typically have 500 to 5,000 highly engaged followers.

Influencer Marketing also has another key benefit for your brand. It can boost your content ranks on social networks. The more shares, likes, comments and backlinks your influencers’ content generates, the higher your social media rankings will climb. And who doesn’t like being more relevant on Google? Plus, since it’s digital, you can mine a wealth of data.

But don’t expect your sales to skyrocket your brand to #1 overnight. Working with an influencer needs to be a long-term commitment. Also, Influencer Marketing is still a fairly new concept, so you may encounter a few bumps on the road to social media domination in your market.

If you’re going to launch an Influencer Marketing campaign, remember to keep it authentic. If you’re paying an influencer to promote your product, they will need to disclose this. However, just because they’re paid, doesn’t mean that they can’t get behind the product and enjoy it. Here are some basic tips to follow:

  • Choose the right influencers. Are their followers the market you want to reach?
  • Influencers want to be part of exciting ventures.
  • Share your influencers’ content on your own social media networks. Be sure to let them know that you’re doing this.
  • Build influencer relationships before you ask them to help you.
  • Have guidelines in place as to how your influencer reaches out to his or her followers.
  • Remember that it still takes more than an influencer to help you move sales.

Has your brand tried Influencer Marketing, or are you considering it? We’d like to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Introducing Suzanne Carle

GO2 Advertising has added another accomplished sales and marketing strategist with the recent addition of Suzanne Drake Carle as Director of Business Development.

Bringing over three decades of experience to GO2, Suzanne has consistently demonstrated expertise in developing effective brand, public relations and sales acquisition strategies for B2B and B2C markets. Prior to bringing her talents to Twinsburg, she generated market awareness for the American Bar Association, the National Association of REALTORS®, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, Key Bank and flexed her own entrepreneurial spirit as President/Owner of Suite Spot LLC, which provides C-suite solutions.

Suzanne’s goals for GO2 Advertising are to educate and connect people while moving the sales needle. She wants to help clients make that emotional connection that will optimize the end-to-end customer experience by influencing how they interact with the clients’ brand and products on- and offline.

In her spare time, Suzanne is dedicated to various causes including economic empowerment, human rights and social services issues. She’s also a big-time gardener who has what she describes as more of a “teal” thumb, is an avid magazine reader, and a self-professed chocoholic.

2017 Digital Advertising Trends

Advertising in the digital space is always an adventure. It is a place where technology advances at the speed of thought and ideas are shared at the speed of light. There is always some risk when investing your budget in such a rapidly changing environment, but that risk can be somewhat mitigated by staying on top of the trends.

Below you will find highlights of what the digital ad world might look like in 2017. There are some digital marketing strategy staples, some that are just beginning to settle in for the long haul and some exciting new developments.

Keep reading to see what to double down on, what to invest in and what to watch.

Staples:

The following strategies have been around for a while and consistently remain a part of any forward-thinking advertiser’s consideration and budget. Their prevalence will only grow in 2017. In fact, if you are not already thinking about whether these tactics are right for you or your clients, you’ve got some catching up to do.

Native

Native advertising – a form of paid media where the ad follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed – is one of the oldest tricks in the book. But, as modern consumers continue to reject, condemn, and go to lengths to insulate themselves from traditional advertising, it will become increasingly important to create brand experiences that integrate with their entertainment.

That includes everything from a Buzzfeed listicle to an Onion video advertorial. Offering seamless and entertaining ad experiences will continue to be a pervasive and essential tactic.

Cross-device marketing

Stories of desktop death have been greatly exaggerated. There has been much talk about a mobile-first marketing approach, but the reality is that while smartphone use is overwhelmingly popular for activities such as social media, messaging and news, the majority of consumers also have a desktop, which they tend to use for more detailed review and purchasing.

Not only can you reach a broader audience by catering to the multiplatform majority, but mobile conversion rates are significantly lower than with desktop interactions. This suggests the importance of getting visitors to your site both for a quick mobile search and for a more in-depth desktop experience. So, from optimized web ads to responsive websites, every online touchpoint needs to be integrated and optimized, giving users a consistent experience across devices.

Trending:

The digital advertising trends below may be new to some and old hat to others. They have managed to gain a solid hold on our advertising focus by capitalizing on both technology advancements and broader entertainment trends and thus are a good indication of digital advertising’s present landscape and future direction.

Programmatic

Programmatic is the process of buying and selling media in an automated fashion, including the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. With the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) estimating that programmatic spend will grow to over 80% of marketing spend by 2018, there is almost no reason not to jump on board. Let’s take a look at how this increasingly essential ad strategy works:

  1. Brands and advertisers bid on an ad space.
  2. These brands/advertisers set different variables based on price and the audience segment profiles they are trying to reach.
  3. When a webpage is being loaded and has the space for an ad on it, information that’s been gathered about the visitor is sent back and forth to an ad exchange.
  4. This space gets auctioned off to the highest bidder and the ad is placed in the space – all of this is done in milliseconds.

With this method, rather than just purchasing inventory for a “spray and pray display,” you pay for only precisely targeted ads. Getting highly effective ads with the possibility of cross-demographic ad targeting for a relatively low cost seems like a no-brainer.

But I said earlier that there is “almost” no reason not to adopt for a reason: programmatic ad buying comes with a serious concern about fraud. Even so, considering the importance of effective targeting, this strategy is here to stay.

Live video streaming

Video has always been an incredibly versatile medium, allowing brands to tell stories that are impactful and entertaining. It is also a medium that has seen ever-increasing online engagement: between 2013 and 2015, there was a 360% increase in video views.

And consumers are 4 times as likely to prefer video content over text. And now, live streaming video has become a trend all its own. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and availability of fast Internet anywhere, many platforms have seen the advantage of integrating a live streaming service.

Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live give brands easy access to a new way to reach their customers. These services can make customers a part of a launch event, give them a behind-the-scenes tour or show off a product demo. Whereas the shooting and editing of traditional video often comes with a high price tag, live streaming consumers do not yet have the expectation of professional polish. So, it is a trend that can fit into any budget.

Emerging:

Now, I want to touch on some developments that may not fit into the average business marketing plan just yet.

Wearables

As with mobile marketing, reaching consumers through a device that is constantly on their person seems like an obviously smart move. However, though it may seem like everyone has a Fitbit these days, not everyone would be open to their interactions with it being infiltrated by advertising. It is therefore likely that the marketing advantage wearables offer will be tied to information gathering. They have the potential to offer a wealth of useful data concerning a consumer’s location, behaviors and even their health.

Darwinian Advertising

It is probably too early to call Darwinian advertising a trend, but it is certainly an interesting development that is worth watching. In this survival of the fittest digital advertising concept, parts of the creative that don’t engage a user are automatically removed from circulation, while those that receive a reaction are reworked into further iterations.

As an example, the first experiment with this type of advertising measured response with an embedded camera. In this way, all the elements of an ad, from copy to color, can be optimized for maximum consumer reaction. While currently experimental and out of reach for most advertisers, the potential to evolve the perfect ad has an undeniable appeal.

Top 5 Takeaways from Content Marketing World 2016

Did you know that Cleveland is the content marketing capital of the world? With last month’s Content Marketing World offering more than 80 speaker sessions and attracting around 3,500 attendees from over 70 countries, it seems safe to say that title is official.

One of our senior copywriters attended the world’s largest content marketing event and brought back a wide array of insights. For a look at what Carrie learned during her CMWorld experience, we’ve gathered her top 5 takeaways here.

research

5. Perform original research
In his keynote presentation, Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director of Orbit Media, delivered some great advice for turning mediocre content into great content: include original research in your content marketing plan. Andy explained that by making original research a priority, you can make your brand a “primary source for an important piece of data in your industry.”

This research can be accomplished in a number of ways. You can perform valuable research through observation, analyzing a chosen data set and presenting it in a new way. You can rely on aggregation, bringing existing pieces of information together to answer a question or solve a problem. You might also consider employing surveys to find an unanswered need or identify claims that have not yet been supported. Each of these avenues can lead you to produce the kind of original content that can help establish your brand as a thought leader.

gaptarget

4. Fill a content gap
Content creation is at an all-time high, but unfortunately, so is noise. In order to break through the clutter of abundant content, Andrew Davis, Founder of Monumental Shift, advised marketers to identify unanswered questions that are likely to resonate with your audience. With that knowledge guiding your approach, you can re-evaluate and revise your strategy with the goal of filling those content gaps.

By narrowing your focus to a specific, defined audience, your brand can create and distribute the kinds of content your audience may not even know they need — yet. Target the right niche with content that successfully fulfills an otherwise overlooked need, and your brand will be in an ideal position to generate valuable engagement and build a loyal audience.

userstory

3. Put your audience at the center of the story
Lars Silberbauer, Global Director of Social Media and Search Marketing at LEGO, gave CMWorld attendees an eye-opening early morning keynote. He revealed that LEGO’s fans actually create 20 times more content than the brand itself produces. And the company not only embraces this fact, but actively capitalizes on it.

LEGO’s content strategy is built on powerful storytelling, and fans are always at the very center of the company’s efforts. “Building Together” and “Pride in Creation” are the two core ideas that make LEGO’s content strategy so effective, encouraging fans to share their ideas, tell their own stories and celebrate their integral roles in the larger LEGO brand experience.

slowdown

2. Slow down and empathize
No content marketing event experience could be complete without a session with Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. At this year’s CMWorld, she acknowledged that “marketing is impatient.” We tend to work at a rapid pace in order to keep up with news, trends and consumer demands. But she urged us all to slow down and ask “so what?” when developing strategy and content.

In fact, Ann advised that unless you’re willing and able to slow down and do your content marketing the right way, then you shouldn’t bother doing it at all. This statement echoed Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi’s opening keynote, where he told us, “If you’re not ‘all in’ with your content marketing program, you should stop.”

Slowing down is most certainly a key component of going “all in.” By taking the time to consider the kinds of content you’re delivering from your audience’s perspective, your team can develop a greater sense of empathy — a vital element not only for content marketing, but for your business in general. You want to be sure you are delivering genuine value to your audience, and if you follow Ann Handley’s advice, you can identify when your efforts aren’t aligning with your objectives so that you can correct your course and keep your content on target.

why

1. Find your why
One of the most powerful messages of the entire CMWorld event came from stand-up comedian Michael Jr. You might not expect a comedian to offer many relevant remarks to a room full of content marketers, but Michael Jr. certainly proved any doubters wrong. He applied the structure of comedic storytelling — the setup and the punchline — to the kinds of storytelling that can be done through content marketing.

Your setup consists of your opportunities, resources and skills. These are the things that can draw your audience in. But the punchline is where that setup must truly pay off for the audience.

In order to make your punchline worthwhile, Michael Jr. insists, you must find your why. While it is obviously important to know what you’re doing, it is just as important to know why you’re doing it. He explained, “You have a lot of options for what, but your why never changes. What is your why? Or are you too busy jumping from ‘what’ to ‘what’ to answer that question?”

Each of these points of advice is applicable not only to building and growing a content marketing strategy, but to any efforts you make for your brand. By performing research, identifying content gaps, telling audience-driven stories, taking the time to empathize and always focusing on the “why,” you can strengthen any initiative.

Creativity Outside of Creative Roles

If you work in an ad agency, you hear it all the time: “think creatively.” Within an agency’s creative department, this seems obvious. But it’s important to encourage the extension of creativity beyond that department. In fact, creative thinking is an essential element of success not only for every department of an ad agency, but for any business in general.

Adobe and Forrester Consulting performed a study on creativity’s impact on business and found that 82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. The study actually showed that those companies that were encouraging creativity in the workplace outperformed competitors in revenue growth, market share and competitive leadership.

It’s clear that your business can benefit from more creative thinking. So, how exactly can you foster more creativity?

Reshape your company’s culture.

cultureCompany culture has such an immense impact on business, especially when it comes to creativity. Employees need an environment where they are free to be creative: where they are confident enough to take a chance and suggest new ideas and where they strive to produce better work with each project.

To achieve this, leadership has to make an effort to reduce fear and maintain an open environment where employees aren’t afraid to be curious. Encouraging curiosity and questions will promote exploration and experimentation. Peer support and collaboration should also be ingrained in the culture. It should be to the point where it becomes one for all and all for one, helping one another and pushing each other beyond the standards.

This will lead to a culture where excellence is not only what everyone strives for, but it’s expected because there are no boundaries to limit employees.

Constantly think of more than one solution.

morewaysThis can be done in any role. Though it may take some extra effort to come up with two or three additional solutions, it can pay off with better options and major time savings. At GO2, we often give our clients numerous ideas, thinking creatively to give them what they wish they’d asked for and providing a second option, showing we anticipate our clients’ needs.

Don’t wait for the opportunity to be creative.

creativeIt’s the classic “proactive vs. reactive” attitude. Training employees not to wait for a request to be creative is essential. If they understand the product/service deeply, we should be encouraging constant thought about the next step. At GO2, we don’t wait until the brainstorm or creative brief, no matter if we’re the one putting it together, approving it or reading it to start a project. If our creative team comes up with an idea, they take it to the account team to get their thoughts and possibly even present it to the client. If our account team has an idea, they run it by the creative team for input and then decide how to approach the client with the new idea.

Regardless of workplace, leadership should encourage all employees to start thinking sooner, with the ultimate goal of proactivity. The clients will appreciate this, and it could potentially save both parties a great deal of time.

Shy away from normal.

normalWhen you step away from normal, new ideas are more likely to spark. Spending time outside of your normal routine stimulates your brain with new surroundings and situations, which can lead you past the dead ends with ideas. So try it – go outside your normal sphere of colleagues, resources, environments, expertise, etc. Network with others in your industry and in other industries. Talk to them about their processes and how they foster creativity. And when you’re networking, try different activities for meetings other than sitting in boardrooms. For example, in a recent networking trend dubbed “sweat working,” meetings are held over a physical activity or exercise.

Everyone has the capacity for creativity, and when we take advantage of it, all parties have the potential to thrive. So no matter the industry, department or position, creativity should be encouraged in every aspect of business. What are your recommendations for fostering creativity in the workplace?

Sources:
Business News Daily — Creativity Business Success
Business News Daily — How to Teach Creativity
Harvard Business Review — How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity
Robert Half — Creativity Lessons from Five Top In-House Creative Teams
Creative Something — How to Create an Environment for Creativity at Work

Confronting the Ad Industry’s Gender Gap

The term “gender gap” can cover a wide variety of issues, each of which is loaded with tricky questions and often inadequate answers. Among advertising agencies, one such gender gap exists in our leadership.

Though the total number of women in the ad industry continues to grow, gender diversity tends to stall when we look at the upper levels of agency structures, particularly among creative departments. As of 2013, just 11.5% of creative directors at advertising agencies were women1. This number is up from 3.6% in 2004, and while an increase of 319% is certainly promising, that gender gap is still incredibly vast. And while these percentages may not be exact (after all, not all creative directors carry that very title), there’s really no denying the gender disparity in the upper creative levels of our industry.

Not only is this pervasive gender gap detrimental for those of us working in the industry — just think of all the talent we’re missing, or shutting out, as women become less and less visible near the top — but it’s also wrong for our clients and our target audiences. Women control 73% of consumer purchasing and $20 trillion of the world’s annual consumer spending2. Clearly, advertising efforts need to speak effectively to women. But by and large, advertisers are failing. In fact, according to 2013 research from Greenfield Online, 91% of women reported they didn’t think that advertisers understood them1.

Though I won’t pretend that a single blog post can adequately detail all the factors contributing to the ad agency leadership gender gap, I think this statement from The 3% Conference sums the issue up quite well:

“The advertising industry does not have a recruitment problem, but a retention problem when it comes to gender diversity in creative departments. Portfolio schools are graduating equal (if not greater) number of women than men. Yet these same women ‘disappear’ from the field right around the time they have the appropriate level of experience to be CDs. The 3% Conference tackles the many reasons why: lack of mentorship, lack of visibility of female CDs, award show jury bias, lack of support for motherhood and other factors.”1

Our industry, like so many others, impedes its own progress by perpetuating environments that are neither appealing to nor supportive of female talent. In short, we lack the feminist perspective that is essential to developing diversity and equality among our workforce in general, and in our leadership in particular.

The issues contributing to our leadership gender gap obviously can’t be solved overnight, but they are by no means impossible to dismantle and overcome. There are many steps we can all take to help build a more balanced industry, top to bottom. I recommend downloading the entire list of 50 things an agency can do to close the gender gap in our industry, provided by The 3% Conference3. To get started, here are 15 of my favorite ideas from the list:

  • Launch a company-wide audit to set benchmarks and measure your efforts toward diversity and inclusion.
  • Establish and fully support a progressive maternity and paternity policy.
  • Support nursing mothers with adequate breaks and access to space that allows them to comfortably use a breast pump at any time.
  • Support access to child care, whether by providing services onsite, or by offering referrals.
  • Invest in professional development, providing your entire staff with opportunities to enhance their skill sets.
  • Hold informal creative presentations within your agency. This allows anyone in the agency to gain valuable presentation experience at any time, without the pressure of having clients present.
  • Maintain ethical marketing standards in all sales, promotional, and advertising materials.
  • Consider revising your creative brief and/or agency bio to include language that expresses a dedication to diversity and respect in both your work and your workplace, just as long as your agency is prepared to consistently deliver on this promise.
  • Evaluate your production schedules to ensure reasonable expectations.
  • If you’re a manager, show your team that you have a life outside of work by taking vacation days, talking about your hobbies, and leaving work early when you need to. Demonstrate that when you say work/life balance is valued by your agency, you actually mean it.
  • Consider inviting clients to your office expressly to discuss the importance of diversity, and how you can work together to support it.
  • Establish and promote mentorship opportunities at every level.
  • If you have a non-negotiable stop at the end of your day – whether you need to pick your kids up from school, or you have a class or volunteer opportunity to attend – once management’s been made aware of your schedule, live by it without apologizing every time you need to leave.
  • When recruiting talent, do so with an understanding of aspects that tend to motivate women: making a difference, being challenged, believing in the company’s direction, a sense of satisfaction in their team, and recognition.
  • Establish and communicate a clear, unbiased grievance policy that allows employees to securely comment or report on interactions and incidents in your workplace.

While these ideas can help advertising agencies to close our gender gap, they can also serve as steps toward closing many other gaps, including the racial and cultural disparity that persists in our industry and many others.

If you have ideas to contribute or other perspectives to consider, we invite you to share. Let’s continue the conversation.

Notes:

  1. “Female CDs are On the Rise,” The 3% Conference.
  2. Karen Fraser, “Women in Advertising: What’s Changed?” Advertising Association.
  3. ”50 Things You or Your Agency Can Do Right Now to Help Drive the 3% Number Upward,” The 3% Conference.
Site vs. App: Meet Your Mobile Match

With mobile usage growing at an amazing rate, it’s obvious that brands benefit by making themselves easily accessible on mobile devices. And while several brands have looked to us for app solutions, we’ve shown others that mobile responsive sites can sometimes serve them even better.

Ideally, a mobile responsive site should be the first step in developing your mobile web presence. An app, on the other hand, can allow you to perform specific functions that may be less effective or even impossible with a mobile site.

To help you determine which is right for you, let’s take a look at the specific differences between apps and mobile responsive sites and compare the advantages that can support your strategies and elevate your brand.

What’s the difference?

mobile website differs from a standard website in that it’s designed specifically for mobile use, taking into account a smaller handheld display and a touch-screen interface. In addition to displaying text, images and video, mobile sites can also offer access to mobile-specific features such as click-to-call or location-based mapping.

Also, keep in mind that mobile responsive design goes beyond simple mobile optimization, so that your site will automatically adapt to the screen on which it’s viewed. This means that the content, images and essential structure of the site will remain the same and provide the best possible user experience on any device — and it’s all accomplished with just one website and URL.

An app is downloaded and installed on your mobile device, rather than being accessed with a browser. Users must visit portals like Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store to find and download apps that are compatible with their operating systems.

Apps may pull content and data from the Internet like a mobile site does, or it may download the content so that it can be accessed without an Internet connection.

Once you understand the difference between mobile responsive sites and apps, your next step is to align your goals with the advantages offered by each solution.

Mobile responsive site design might be your solution when:

  • Your budget and/or timeline are limited.

Responsive design is generally more cost- and time-effective than developing and launching an app.

  • You want to strengthen your SEO.

If you need to increase your visibility and drive traffic, a mobile responsive site gets the job done. Because apps are closed environments that aren’t crawled by search engines, they won’t have any bearing on your SEO.

  • App approval may be a serious obstacle.

If you’ve ever submitted an app to Apple’s App Store, you know the detailed guidelines can’t be taken lightly. The approval process can take up to several months, and certain features, such as in-app purchases and in-app subscriptions, are subject to particularly strict regulations.

  • You want to update your content frequently.

That challenging app approval process applies to updates, too, so if you expect to make frequent design updates, going with a mobile responsive site is your simplest path.

  • Universal access is a priority.

A mobile responsive site means your content will be accessible across multiple platforms and devices, allowing you to get your brand into more hands.

App development could be your answer if:

  • You want to involve specific smartphone functions.

If the camera, GPS, scanning or other functions are needed to fully experience your content, you’ll want to go with app development.

  • Complex design and UI are at the heart of your goals.

Depending on what you want to achieve, HTML 5 (responsive web) may not be up to the task. For the most adaptable UX, apps can’t be beat.

  • You want to drive sales.

Though a mobile site can certainly accommodate shopping functions, an in-app purchasing system offers you the greatest simplicity and flexibility.

  • Data expectations are high.

If you want user to be able to send and receive high levels of data, an app will most likely work faster than mobile responsive sites. And if you want to work with data to produce complex charts, reports or other functions, you’ll want to build an app.

  • You want your content to be accessible offline.

To provide offline access or allow users to perform functions without a network or wireless connection, app development is the way to go.

These comparisons are by no means exhaustive. We understand that your unique goals require unique strategies. And while your mobile options are virtually unlimited, you can count on GO2 to help you focus your efforts in the right place and develop solutions that are built just for you.

Product Launch Prep: Six Steps for New Product Success

Rolling out a new product is one of the most complex challenges any business can take on. Refining your product, identifying your audience, perfecting your packaging — your to-do list can be extremely daunting. To make a product launch more manageable, try creating a reasonable timeline to accomplish each of the following steps:

  1. Identify your goals.
    Before you and your team can accomplish any goals, you all have to know just what your goals are. This seems like an obvious first step, but too often, goal identification is either rushed or brushed aside in the interest of diving into the steps ahead.
  1. Research the competition.
    In order to put your own product into the right position, you have to know what you’re up against. Take a close look at a range of competitors to see how they’ve positioned their products, where they’re focusing promotion and in what ways they may be succeeding or failing.
  2. Define your audience and value proposition.
    Who is most likely to buy from you? And why should they choose your brand over others? Answer these questions well, and the rest of your steps will begin to fall into place, putting a successful product launch well within reach.
  3. Develop your messaging and visual identity.
    Whether your new product will adhere to the voice and the look of your established brand, or new elements will be developed around the launch, be sure you have guidelines for keeping all of your marketing materials cohesive.When GO2 partnered with Firman Generators for their North American launch, we knew that while the company had a strong presence in over 100 countries, a unique web identity would be required for the launch. Our Art Directors worked closely with Firman to ensure brand consistency, and the payoff is clear when you look at the site we developed.
  1. Test and refine your concepts and approach.
    The value of a focus group cannot be overstated. Anything from headlines to packaging can be shared with members of your target audience to see how well they resonate.As part of our efforts to build the simplyclean™ brand, GO2 tested potential brand colors, imagery, messaging and packaging options, allowing us to learn what inspired the response among the brand’s audience and to refine our approach accordingly.
  1. Set up measurement and roll out.
    Before you officially launch any product, it’s essential to decide how you’ll measure your results. Set milestones, track your progress and be prepared to reevaluate your strategy if necessary.

No matter where you are in the product launch process, you can count on GO2 to help you make the most of your efforts. From thorough research and smart strategy to effective copy and exceptional creative, let’s work together to get your new product off to a great start.

Making the Most of Mail

As the global digital ad spend continues to increase each year, making digital the fastest-growing category in advertising, the marketing landscape has definitely been shifting. But keep in mind that the rise of digital does not mean the fall of traditional.

Traditional forms of advertising are here to stay, whether they make up an entire campaign on their own, or they’re used alongside digital for a dynamic marketing mix. To illustrate this point, let’s take a closer look at direct mail.

Though it might seem like letters and postcards can no longer compare to blogs, microsites or Facebook ads, that’s just not the case.

  • Direct mail still yields the lowest cost-per-lead and highest conversion rate.
  • Direct mail continues to be used heavily, with a 43% share of total local retail advertising.
  • Direct mail marketing has an average response rate of 2-6%. To put that in perspective, email marketing averages only a .12% response rate.
  • 48% of people retain their direct mail for future reference.
  • 40% of consumers try new businesses after receiving direct mail.
  • U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person on direct mail to earn $2,095 worth of goods sold, a 1,300% return.

Sending thoughtfully designed, strategic pieces of direct mail can make a significant difference for your bottom line. Plus, GO2 can help you to integrate direct mail into multifaceted campaigns that can make an even greater impact for you.

76% of small businesses say their ideal marketing strategy encompasses a combination of both print and digital communication. And when you consider direct mail as part of a larger marketing strategy, you’ll see that the possibilities are virtually endless.

When you send your customers a printed piece, you can also deliver so much more. For instance, with the addition of a QR code, or even an Augmented Reality trigger, you can invite your audience to explore content far beyond the printed page, with anything from a dedicated landing page, to a video or a 3D experience.

To make the most of your direct mail marketing campaign, you’ll want to be sure that every tactic is consistent, presenting a cohesive look and feel that will engage your audience and keep your brand’s identity top-of-mind. Because we have the capabilities to cover every aspect of your efforts, you can count on GO2 to deliver brand consistency in everything we create together. From custom, personalized mail pieces to comprehensive, innovative campaigns, we’ll make it all work for you.

Sources:

Media Sales Today

Online Marketing Institute

Compu-Mail