Marketing

15 free online tools for marketing and sales professionals

Our 15 top recommendations for anyone within sales and marketing to improve their productivity and improve customer acquisition. 

 

1. aytm.com   Conduct Primary Surveys with a panel of 25m people
 2. profound.com  Purchase research by chapters from 200 research publishers
 3. companycheck.co.uk   Check who is the director and address of a UK company
 4. spyfu.com     Find competitor's SEO / PPC strategy
 5. semrush.com   Keyword analysis of competitors website using Google Adwords
 6. www.domaintools.com  See who owns the website
 7. BuiltWith.com     What technical tools the website is built using
 8. rapportive.com    Verify emails right into your gmail
 9. voilanorbert.com    Find anyone’s email addresses
 10. freeconferencecall.com   Free global conference call facility
 11. answeramerica.com   Inexpensive phone answering service
 12. ninjaoutreach.com    Find influencers in your industry
 13. onalytica.com     Find influencers for the article you have written
 14. numbeo.com     Compare eco-social conditions between 2 cities
 15. copyscape.com    Review where is the content copied from

PACER, Inbound meets Outbound. How to rapidly grow your business l

Step-by-step guidance on how to go from Zero to first 50 customers in any business, existing or brand new. Whether you're looking to start a new arm of your business or start it from scratch, we'll shed some light on how you can set yourself up for success. All of our techniques are based on what we have used to grow Goodman Lantern from $0, with no investment raised, to where we are today. We bootstrapped it all the way, and so can you!

 

The name of the game is being tactful. It's not about inbound or outbound marketing; it's about standing out and building trust. You can't build trust with customers if you haven't made contact with them yet. If you're merely relying on blogging, Facebook, or Twitter to pull in the punters, we have some bad news for you: outbound tools, like email, see an average click-through rate of 3.57%, compared to 0.07% for Facebook and 0.03% for Twitter. 

If you've previously heard that inbound was the only way forward, it's worth looking at this: 

  1. In an interview with Jeb Blount, author of Fanatical Prospecting, he mentions that he "was sold Hubspot on an (outbound) cold call " (scroll to 42.30). The term "inbound marketing" was coined by HubSpot, yet even they engage in outbound marketing. 
  2. Tony J. Hughes, in his blog post, talks about a company which went "full bottle" social selling. They removed phones from the sales floor and tanked their top and mid-funnel.

Why Isn't Inbound Marketing Good Enough? 

Before we identify why inbound marketing isn't sufficient on it's own, it's worth exploring why people don't have success with it as an alone-standing approach. It's worth noting that inbound works very closely with content marketing. The top reason why companies are likely to give up on content marketing, says Roman Kniahynyckyj, is due to the length of time it takes for the benefits to kick in, driven by these factors:

  1. Google indexing: The bottom line is that you need Google to index your website fully. Unless you are an internet phenomenon, based one experience, you are looking at a minimum of  3-6 months. 
  2. Time to learn: Writing content takes time and you probably won't get it right the first time, so you need to maintain a trial-and-error approach. 
  3. Building content: Once you have mastered the art of content creation, you need to build enough volume so it starts to snowball and you begin to receive leads. 

Inbound is good but it's slow, outbound is quick but it's pushy. What we are proposing is to take the best of both inbound and outbound, making the latter a dialogue. The key is to make outbound part of the 6-8 touches required to convert prospects into customers. 

Our focus with this campaign is to rely majorly on email. Why email? 

  1. Email marketing alone drives as much revenue as all other digital channels combined, according to a survey of US marketing execs.
  2. Email is 40x more effective for customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined.
  3. Marketers generate 174% more conversions with email than social media.

 

The Inspiration

Where did the idea come from? 

I will be the first to admit that the idea is inspired; it came from an email which I received in 2016 from Laura Hannan. It was probably the most well-crafted email I have ever read and I had no option but to respond asking for more information. 

Subject: Goodman Lantern's Role in the Future Smart Home
Hi Raj,
I'd be interested to understand if you have a view on where Goodman Lantern might sit in the future smart home.
The smart home future marketplace is not properly defined yet, so JM of EC (Wiki page) has created an ecosystem of organisations who want to lead or participate in this exciting field.
Members include utilities, telcos, insurance, property, manufacturers, digital enablers and start ups.
They share insight, ideas, and by utilising each others strengths, technology and consumer bases, they co-create and test applications for the future smart home.
Can we please set up a call to discuss?
Laura

This email was doing the following: 

  1. Selling me an opportunity to be part of an elite group in exchange for a phone call, without spelling this out. 
  2. Qualifying me to see if I'm in the space of smart homes.
  3. Testing if I'd be interested in transacting with other members.
  4. Finally, it's up to me if I'd be interested in a phone call.

This is a push form of marketing where I have to request or 'pull' information. Now, here is the backdrop to this information: the person referred to as JH is someone who I know, as she has been on various business websites / social media sites, really getting her inbound marketing right.  As a result, this combination of inbound and outbound marketing worked. Had there been no email, I would have never signed up. I would have never reacted to this via a Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook ad etc, as I wasn't searching for it. 

 

So how did Laura find me and get in touch? What is the process? 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how this can be achieved over a 3-month period: 

1. Develop tool or content

2. Develop list of emails

3. Send out emails

4. Monitor results / compare with the industry

5. Repeat

PACER

We call this technique the PACER (Promote > Collect > Email > Analyse > Repeat)

PACER.png

 

Promote

According to Eric Worre, Go Pro: 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional, you need to give away something in order to invite people to your network. To start your promotion, you need to give knowledge, webinars, software tools, and other freebies to get your target market interested in what you're offering. Some call it Inbound marketing, others Karma, but the fact of the matter is that genuine promotion is about giving, not taking.  


Collect

Once you have done your promoting, you need to find a way to collect the email addresses of your target market and proactively email them. This is very much an outbound tactic, and yes, you will approach them cold. If you have done your promotion right, they would already have heard of you. 

There are various tools in the market that enable you to collect email addresses. Alternatively, you can use data marketing agencies to buy lists. In a bid for shameless promotion, we also offer a free tool to help you generate a B2B list of leads including phone numbers and email addresses. 

 

Email

Once you have collected the email addresses, you need to carefully draft an email and send it out using a mail merge tool. Be warned: please don't send out newsletter or HTML emails, the default option on Mailchimp. 
 

This section has three parts: 

1. Drafting emails which generate high conversions

 

2. Sending out the emails

 

3. Developing effective landing pages

Analyse

This is probably the most import aspect of the campaign. You need to make sure your campaign actually reaches the goals you've set and that you get responses. The best outcome of the campaign is that you receive several positive responses, mostly in the form of signups or a direct response to the email.

This email campaign will generate a much higher response rate than the industry email marketing statistics. Our previous campaigns on average have the following responses: 

Open rates should be 45-60% 
Average open rate is 9.2-20%

Click through rate of 4-11% and
Average CTR is between 1.25-5.13%

Conversion rate of 2-5% 
 

 

Repeat

Now repeat the process with new data and keep doing this recursively till you find a target market.

Let us know in the comments if this worked for you. We are always keen to hear success stories 

 

Generate 100s business sales leads in 35 seconds for Free

We are very excited to launch the latest version of our Growth Hacking tool GL Chrome Extension which allows you to generate leads of your target audience including Company name, email addresses, social media profiles and more in just 35 seconds. 

The tool is available for a limited time for free. Please download it here

Raj Anand, Goodman Lantern's CEO, giving an introduction to the tool

 

 

The Piggy Back Hack📱: 4 Guaranteed User Acquisition Techniques for Apps

How did Snapchat, YouTube, Airbnb, Instagram and WhatsApp ‘piggy-backed’ acquisition of new customers?


These days, it seems like some tech companies go from zero to a million users overnight. The growth of these firms like Snapchat and YouTube can seem magical… but it’s not. 
Did you know a small tweak within the platform can make all the difference between being a million or a billion $ company? 

This the ‘piggy-back’ growth hack to gain users, We call this the ‘piggy-back’ hack, as these platforms rode on someone's shoulders to grow their user base.


4. YouTube’s Embed Code Hack
Back in 2005 - 2006 YouTube chose to focus on MySpace as a means of reaching its target audience. At the time, in 2005, with nearly 25 million unique users, MySpace was the top social network, particularly for bands and their fans, but sharing videos on the site was next to impossible.

Other video sites like YouTube had avoided allowing blogs and other sites to embed videos on their sites. To avoid paying substantial hosting costs associated with supporting traffic to other people’s sites. Instead, YouTube shouldered the cost in exchange for a huge boost in brand recognition and grew average users to nearly 20 million visitors per month. That initial traction helped it grow into the powerhouse it is today, with over a billion users. 


3.  Instagram’s Cross-Posting to multi-platform
Launched in October 2010 it quickly became a fast, beautiful and fun way to share life with friends and family through a series of pictures, beautified using filters. Instagram took the platform hack to another level. They made it quick and easy for users to cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and more by push of a button. 

This was undeniably good for users, who struggled to post mobile photos to Facebook in those early days, but it was also good for Instagram, whose distinct-looking photos started popping up across various social platforms, serving as a free advertisement for the app.

2. Airbnb’s Craigslist Cross-Posting
Yet another example of a platform hack is a simple yet brilliant tool within Airbnb, which allowed users listing their properties on the app to cross-post them to Craigslist in one click. They asked the user to post their home that they wanted to rent out by filling a pre-filled form. It made it simple for the user to cross post their listing to Craigslist. (Image: https://www.quora.com/How-did-Airbnb-avoid-liability-when-they-implemented-their-growth-hack-with-craigslist-1)

Taking advantage of Craigslist’s well-established user base not only allowed Airbnb to get its name in front of as many new users as possible, but it also helped to ensure that the properties they listed for rent were booked more often—making listing with them more lucrative for users.


1. Snapchat’s Snapcode
Snapchat launched Snapcodes in early 2015 after they purchased a QR code company called Scan.me. While brands and marketers attempted to make QR codes hip for years, it was Snapchat who ultimately turned them into influencer currency. Snapchatters could then easily add friends by taking a snap of their profile picture. 

Also, By changing a Twitter profile picture to a Snaptag, users were able to encourage their Twitter following to add them on the new instant messaging platform.

10 Tips for using Content Marketing in Recruitment

Until very recently, content marketing was thought of as a tool used solely for boosting sales and growth. However, the versatility of content marketing is rapidly making its mark. Every industry has its own pool of potential employees, all of whom are interested in useful content that could assist them in their job hunt. Recruitment agencies are beginning to use this tool to their advantage, creating pertinent, poignant content that will assist them in finding model employees for the companies who make use of their services.

Who are Strategic Planning Consultants

In the realm of management consultancy, strategic planning consultants focus (as is indicated by their title) on the strategic issues faced by businesses. Their focus is firmly tethered to issues relating to anything from supply chains and logistics to Internet presence. While many of these consultants operate under the umbrella of outside consulting companies, more often they are a part of a larger organization offering their consulting services to different units within the company.


Strategic planning is driven at the highest levels of an organization, usually formulated by a board of directors with input from expert third parties. The resulting “plans” are officially implemented by the company’s executives.

The Role of the Strategic Planning Consultant

Strategic planning consultants help business owners and their executive teams to develop an integrated strategic plan that builds clarity and consensus on a critical game-plan for future success.

A strategy consultant’s role is to provide companies with advice on their goals and future direction. These consultants use expertise, industry experience and analysis to help their clients identify strategies that increase revenue and market share by improving their competitive advantage. Strategy consultants help companies grow faster and increase the value of their business.

A strategic planning consultant will endeavor to clarify an organization's objectives and the outcomes required for all key stakeholders including customers, shareholders, staff and community. The resulting strategic plan is formulated within a given framework of corporate policies and procedures, and against economic and regulatory backdrops.

A key role for strategy consultants is to help companies define what they do and to identify their capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Consultants examine the company’s product range, the skills of its employees, its customer base and its marketing communications to build a picture of its current capabilities.

Strategy consultants help management teams compare their current capabilities with market opportunities. They analyse a range of opportunities, compare market requirements with the company’s capabilities and set out a range of viable options. The options might include developing or sourcing new products, expanding into wider geographical territories or entering new market sectors. For each option, consultants highlight the associated risk and identify the changes required for success.

Independent strategy consultants are equipped with the expertise and experience of solving strategy problems for small and large businesses across different industry sectors. This perspective and experience can help a management team focus on what the company should do to differentiate itself from the competition. As part of their role, strategic consultants help management teams identify priorities and focus the team on the requirements for making the strategy a reality.

Strategic planning consultants will typically call on a range of individuals to bring supplementary expertise with depth of experience in particular areas for example: economic, financial, risk management, marketing, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management, information technology, and human resources.

The strategic planning consultant first analyzes an organization's current business practices, both internally and with its customers and suppliers. From the assessments made, the business strategy consultant formulates the objectives, both tactically and strategically. Once the plan has been stabilized and baselined, the consultant works with the executive team on an ongoing basis to implement the strategic plan and manage amendments, usually at specified intervals for example quarterly or annually.

Strategic Planning Consultant Skills

The skill requirements of a strategic consultant are extremely high. The complexity involved in formulating an effective long-term plan is immense. Consultants need to find the right avenue that will enable an organization to achieve its stated goals and objectives.

In order to be able to operate credibly with the leadership teams of large organizations, whether in the public or private sector, a strategic planning consultant will be expected to possess some or all of the following experience depending on the client brief:
 

  • Several years of direct business experience, preferably across several functional areas

  • Significant tenure in a leadership role including executive accountability for business planning across a number of organizations and probably in different industries

  • Experience as an external adviser or consultant to organizations

  • Continuous training and an advanced degree, possibly an MBA, to keep up with strategic advances and technological innovations

  • A solid background as a senior business professional involved in technical activities within a given niche or profession, perhaps including consultancies, academic research, thought leadership and presenting white papers at conferences

Rewards for Strategic Planning Consultants

Technically, there is no ceiling to the rewards available to the business strategy consultant. They are only limited by their experience, knowledge and contacts. A strategic planning consultant's compensation can quite easily range up in the millions of dollars over the life of an assignment. These fees can be supplemented quite substantially if you hire other experienced, niche consultants to contribute specialist insights.

An experience independent strategic planning consultant can make $250K or more in a year without too much difficulty. It is all within their reach given the right experience, knowledge, and drive. The total compensation will be determined by their background and skills.

There are also the non-monetary rewards: the kudos of being known as the expert in their chosen discipline and being in high demand among the world's top corporations. The potential in this field is great and very exciting.

Image Source:  http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Strategic_Planning_Consultant/Salary

Image Source:  http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Strategic_Planning_Consultant/Salary

The demand for skilled consultants is likely to remain high. Competition will be fierce, although the absolute number of credible competitors will be relatively low. Since the formulation of business strategy planning is an ongoing and evolving process, consulting services will be required for a long time to keep the plan current and the organization on track. The extract from Linkedin shows that the range of industries that are interested of services of strategic planning consultants is wide enough.

 

Overseas Market Introduction Service

OMIS Report

What Does OMIS Entail?

The Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) provides support for businesses pursuing export activities overseas. The information provided often includes competitor analysis, market reviews, bespoke events, and assistance with adjusting to local business etiquette and culture. Essentially, OMIS gives businesses an instant link to invaluable insights and set them on the right track. This service is tailored to each individual businessperson and assistance depending on the needs of the client. 

OMIS activities and support can include market information, advice and practical support, such as:

  • Understanding how to do business in the market

  • Having the confidence to explore or expand in a new market

  • Market analysis and feasibility studies

  • Identifying business opportunities and prospects

  • Understanding the competition

  • Identification, assessment and contacting of potential distributors, partners and contacts

  • Promoting business and products through events such as receptions and product launches

  • Meeting arrangements with business contacts

  • Deciding on the best market entry strategy

  • Understanding local regulations and standards

  • Overcoming barriers to entry or expansion

  • Raising profile and credibility in the market

Why is an OMIS Report Helpful?

Any business aiming to expand in the overseas market may face barriers in accessing the right international contacts or partners. Additionally, it can be equally challenging to find the best ways to operate in a specific overseas market and to successful market entry strategy in an entirely new sphere (both economically and culturally). Businesses seeking to increase profits by employing an effective overseas promotion may find OMIS to be particularly helpful.

There is no doubt about it: internationalisation is a difficult task. Differences in time zones, languages, and cultures are inescapable obstacles that must be faced. OMIS provides a wealth of practical support, advice and key market information, supporting business owners through each stage of their international expansion.

Each expansion starts with the process of market research. However, international research can be particularly challenging without contacts ‘on the ground’. The socio-economic environment is often quite specific, something not many business owners are used to or even aware of. Even when the necessary research information is in another language, OMIS teams can prove invaluable in finding the information needed. Unsurprisingly, these reports can open doors that would otherwise remain closed.

When it comes to actually visiting an international market in person, OMIS can be handy too. Booking meetings for a market visit and sending marketing material abroad can be time-consuming and frustrating. Using OMIS’ market specialists removes considerable stress and hassle both during the organisation of your visit and once you’ve actually landed in the country.

Thus, OMIS puts you in touch directly with overseas markets. It is beneficial for business, as it helps with the following:

  • Access the right international contacts or partners

  • Provide insight of the overseas market

  • Find the best way to do business in a market

  • Achieve a successful market entry strategy

  • Increase profits by using effective overseas promotion

What are the Characteristics of a Good OMIS Report?

It’s likely that the closer a business is to entering a chosen market, the more practical the services will need to be. Key tips here are the followings:

  • Mix and match OMIS services to select those that best meet your needs and requirements

  • Use OMIS for ‘value added’ services (i.e. activities that you are unable to easily do yourself)

For market research, one needs to choose between depth and breadth depending the current level of understanding. It is necessary to dive deeper into the market if there is  already an understanding of the broad brush strokes.

To obtain a comprehensive OMIS report businesses need to:

  • Provide a fully comprehensive brief of their request

  • Specify their objectives

  • Maintain personal involvement throughout the OMIS process

  • Set up milestones and due dates

  • Ensure that they obtain sight of draft/initial research so that they can be involved in final revisions/tweaks

  • Once the research has been completed, business owners need to make sure that they sign off on the brief and they you’re happy it has been met

  • Prior to sign off, businesses should ensure that they obtain any final amendments that they feel are needed.

A typical content of OMIS market report includes:

  • Identification of market size, market potential and key trends within a marketplace

  • Provision of localised industry and sector advice

  • Analysis of possible routes to market

  • In-country competitor analysis

  • Assessment of the potential level of demand for your products or services

  • Identification of opportunities and prospects.

 

If you are looking for an Overseas Marketing Report get started today with a Free Trial

Goodman Lantern ties up with Startup Grind Conference to Offer a 47.5% Discount

LONDON and SAN FRANCISCO, 24th October 2016. Goodman Lantern, one of the UK’s most prolific new market research and content development companies, has recently announced an exciting new partnership with the Startup Grind Conference to offer attendees a 47.5% discount on tickets to the event. Goodman Lantern works with  SME and enterprise customers helping facilitate conversation between the two.

Startup Grind is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs connecting 400,000 founders in over 200 cities. The Startup Grind conference is one of the highlights of the entrepreneurial sphere, offering budding business owners a chance to rub shoulders with industry leaders and pick their brains on pertinent topics. Past speakers include the co-founder of Twitter (Biz Stone), Airbnb (Nate Blecharczyk) and Slack (Stewart Butterfield).

We at Goodman Lantern believe that the best way to connect is face-to-face.  For this reason, they have arranged an exclusive 47.5%* discount for the Startup Grind Conference held in San Francisco on 21st Feb 2017 using the code Code12345, expiring on 14th November. For further information email startupgrind@goodmanlantern.com.

Professional conferences are a great platform for training and peer-to-peer interaction. These events are the number one place for entrepreneurs to learn new and more effective ways of conducting business. The actionable tips and statistics that business owners are able to collect from industry leaders are invaluable. It is just as important to note that attending these conferences can lead to viable solutions for fundraising efforts as well as an opportunity to sell to both enterprise and startup customers.

* The total discount on one full price ticket when buying 2 for 1 is 47.5%. Applying the code gives attendees a 5% discount on all tickets available until 14th November.

 

Using SWOT Analysis for Clever Content Strategies

In terms of business analysis techniques, a thorough SWOT analysis is possibly the best means of identifying the feasibility of an impending venture or project.  This analytical tool is used for the identification and categorization of internal and external factors. Strengths and weaknesses in SWOT analysis are termed as internal factors while opportunities and threats are termed as external factors. Potential ventures are only considered as serious possibilities only when the strengths and opportunities outweigh the weaknesses and threats.

SWOT analyses, flexible as they are, can be conducted for the following:

·         a situation

·         an organization

·         a project

·         a new venture

·         a country

·         a nation

·         individuals

While some factors in the SWOT analysis are internal to the venture being undertaken, others are external. Internal factors, quite naturally, involve the internal operations and resources of the organization including the strengths and weaknesses inherent to the project/ venture. External factors, on the other hand, relate to the external environment and elements on which the organisations have no influence, including opportunities and threats.

In order for a SWOT analysis to be carried out correctly, it necessary to focus on internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) before moving on to the external factors (opportunities and threats). This is a fairly straightforward strategy as it is of the utmost importance that you should have a full understanding of the inner workings of your company before considering the world outside.

Internal Analysis: Strengths and Weaknesses

A full internal analysis of your organization will always include its culture, expertise, resources, and unique qualities within the marketplace.

Strengths

A company’s strengths are the basis on which success can be made and sustained. They are, in short, the qualities which enable a business to achieve its goals; adding value or offering a competitive advantage. These qualities should be considered from an internal perspective as well as from the viewpoint of customers and competitors.

Your strengths refer not only to what you are well-versed in or what you have expertise in, but also the traits and qualities your employees possess (individually and as a team) as well as the distinct features that give your organization its consistency. Your company’s strengths include human competencies, process capabilities, financial resources, products and services, customer goodwill and brand loyalty.

In order to discover your business’ strengths, you may wish to consider the following key questions:

·         What advantages does your organization have?

·         What do you do better than anyone else?

·         What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others      can't?

·         What do people in your market see as your strengths?

·         What factors mean that you "get the sale"?

·         What is your organization's Unique Selling Proposition Add to My Personal Learning Plan (USP)?

Weaknesses

Weaknesses will prevent a company from achieving its full potential. Essentially, any factors within the company which do not meet your expectations can be considered a point of weakness. These should be addressed immediately, and if not eliminated, they should be minimized as much as possible.

Weaknesses in an organization could refer to depreciating machinery, insufficient research and development facilities, narrow product range, poor decision-making, high employee turnover, wastage of raw materials, etc. Any of these problems can place you in a negative light and provide your competitors with the advantage they need to climb to the top.

To discover where your company’s weaknesses lie, it is necessary to ask the following questions:

·         What factors that are within your control detract from your ability to obtain or maintain a competitive edge?

·         What areas need improvement to accomplish your objectives or compete with your strongest competitor?

·         What does your business lack (for example, expertise or access to skills or technology)?

·         Does your business have limited resources?

·         What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?

·         What factors lose you sales?

External Analysis

External factors to consider in your analysis include the environment in which your organization operates in, your market, the economy, and all of the 3rd parties involved in the day to day running of your business.

Opportunities

Opportunities arise when an organization can benefit from conditions within its operational environment. These opportunities enable you to plan and execute strategies that secure higher profitability rates and as such gain a competitive advantage. More often than not, these opportunities present themselves for a limited amount of time and should therefore be snapped up as soon as they arise. There is a delicate balance to be found in selecting the targets that will best serve the clients while getting desired results.

Opportunities often arise from changes in:

·         Technology

·         Markets

·         Government Policy

·         Supply methods

·         Social Patterns

·         Population profiles

·         Global offerings

·         Lifestyle

The followings key questions need to be considered:

·         What opportunities exist in your market that you can benefit from?

·         What interesting trends are you aware of?

·         Is the perception of your business positive?

·         Has there been recent market growth or have there been other changes in the market to create an opportunity?

·         Is the opportunity ongoing, or is there just a window for it? In other words, how critical is your timing?

Threats

Threats arise when conditions in your external environment jeopardise the reliability and profitability of your business. Threats are uncontrollable, particularly when they relate to the aforementioned weaknesses within your company.

Contingency plans should be put in place to combat threats when they arise. Not many businesses can survive being taken completely by surprise.

Major sources of threats are the following:

·         Competitors reducing prices

·         Supply costs increase

·         New Technology

·         Government regulations

·         Economic downturns

·         Changes in consumer behavior

Benefits of SWOT Analysis

In addition to the cost-effectiveness of conducting a SWOT analysis, the following benefits are well worth looking into:

·         Wide Range of Applications:

SWOT analysis can be used to conduct competitive analysis, strategic planning or any other study.

·         Promotes Discussion:

    SWOT analysis promotes discussion. It is important that you have your employees on the same page.

·         Provides Visual Overview:

     A SWOT analysis is usually presented as a square, each quadrant representing one factor. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of the company’s position and encourages dialogue.

·         Offers Insight:

    SWOT analysis can be used to gain insight about the market, giving you a better understanding of your competition.

·         Integration and Synthesis:

    SWOT analysis gives the analyst the opportunity to integrate and synthesize diverse information, despite it being qualitative or quantitative in nature. SWOT analysis organizes information that is already known, as well as information that has just been acquired or discovered.

·         Fosters Collaboration: SWOT analysis fosters collaboration and encourages open information exchange between a variety of functional areas in a firm that would otherwise not collaborate or interact much

Using SWOT Analysis for Content Strategies

A SWOT analysis is the ideal catalyst for targeted content strategies. The main reason for this is simply the fact that a two-step process (data collection and categorization) is all you really need to fuel various different types of marketing content for your business.


Your content strategy can be evaluated according to the following framework:

Strengths

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic strengths of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify what has been working well for you so far (eg. a well-defined blogging strategy)

·         Identify your expertise in certain subjects

·         Identify potential partnerships that could assist in promoting your content to generate traffic

Weaknesses

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic weaknesses of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify holes in your resources

·         Identify problems with tracking your ROI

·         Identify where your focus is lacking (lead generation vs closing deals)

Opportunities

·         List 3-4 major external opportunities that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Are there paid distribution opportunities worth looking into?

·         Are any platforms looking for specific content that you are able to create?

Threats

·         List 3-4 major external threats that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Is your content easily replicated by competitors?

·         Do your competitors have better resources than you do?

 

·         an organization

·         a project

·         a new venture

·         a country

·         a nation

·         individuals

While some factors in the SWOT analysis are internal to the venture being undertaken, others are external. Internal factors, quite naturally, involve the internal operations and resources of the organization including the strengths and weaknesses inherent to the project/ venture. External factors, on the other hand, relate to the external environment and elements on which the organisations have no influence, including opportunities and threats.

In order for a SWOT analysis to be carried out correctly, it necessary to focus on internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) before moving on to the external factors (opportunities and threats). This is a fairly straightforward strategy as it is of the utmost importance that you should have a full understanding of the inner workings of your company before considering the world outside.

Internal Analysis: Strengths and Weaknesses

A full internal analysis of your organization will always include its culture, expertise, resources, and unique qualities within the marketplace.

Strengths

A company’s strengths are the basis on which success can be made and sustained. They are, in short, the qualities which enable a business to achieve its goals; adding value or offering a competitive advantage. These qualities should be considered from an internal perspective as well as from the viewpoint of customers and competitors.

Your strengths refer not only to what you are well-versed in or what you have expertise in, but also the traits and qualities your employees possess (individually and as a team) as well as the distinct features that give your organization its consistency. Your company’s strengths include human competencies, process capabilities, financial resources, products and services, customer goodwill and brand loyalty.

In order to discover your business’ strengths, you may wish to consider the following key questions:

·         What advantages does your organization have?

·         What do you do better than anyone else?

·         What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others      can't?

·         What do people in your market see as your strengths?

·         What factors mean that you "get the sale"?

·         What is your organization's Unique Selling Proposition Add to My Personal Learning Plan (USP)?

Weaknesses

Weaknesses will prevent a company from achieving its full potential. Essentially, any factors within the company which do not meet your expectations can be considered a point of weakness. These should be addressed immediately, and if not eliminated, they should be minimized as much as possible.

Weaknesses in an organization could refer to depreciating machinery, insufficient research and development facilities, narrow product range, poor decision-making, high employee turnover, wastage of raw materials, etc. Any of these problems can place you in a negative light and provide your competitors with the advantage they need to climb to the top.

To discover where your company’s weaknesses lie, it is necessary to ask the following questions:

·         What factors that are within your control detract from your ability to obtain or maintain a competitive edge?

·         What areas need improvement to accomplish your objectives or compete with your strongest competitor?

·         What does your business lack (for example, expertise or access to skills or technology)?

·         Does your business have limited resources?

·         What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?

·         What factors lose you sales?

External Analysis

External factors to consider in your analysis include the environment in which your organization operates in, your market, the economy, and all of the 3rd parties involved in the day to day running of your business.

Opportunities

Opportunities arise when an organization can benefit from conditions within its operational environment. These opportunities enable you to plan and execute strategies that secure higher profitability rates and as such gain a competitive advantage. More often than not, these opportunities present themselves for a limited amount of time and should therefore be snapped up as soon as they arise. There is a delicate balance to be found in selecting the targets that will best serve the clients while getting desired results.

Opportunities often arise from changes in:

·         Technology

·         Markets

·         Government Policy

·         Supply methods

·         Social Patterns

·         Population profiles

·         Global offerings

·         Lifestyle

The followings key questions need to be considered:

·         What opportunities exist in your market that you can benefit from?

·         What interesting trends are you aware of?

·         Is the perception of your business positive?

·         Has there been recent market growth or have there been other changes in the market to create an opportunity?

·         Is the opportunity ongoing, or is there just a window for it? In other words, how critical is your timing?

Threats

Threats arise when conditions in your external environment jeopardise the reliability and profitability of your business. Threats are uncontrollable, particularly when they relate to the aforementioned weaknesses within your company.

Contingency plans should be put in place to combat threats when they arise. Not many businesses can survive being taken completely by surprise.

Major sources of threats are the following:

·         Competitors reducing prices

·         Supply costs increase

·         New Technology

·         Government regulations

·         Economic downturns

·         Changes in consumer behavior

Benefits of SWOT Analysis

In addition to the cost-effectiveness of conducting a SWOT analysis, the following benefits are well worth looking into:

·         Wide Range of Applications:

SWOT analysis can be used to conduct competitive analysis, strategic planning or any other study.

·         Promotes Discussion:

    SWOT analysis promotes discussion. It is important that you have your employees on the same page.

·         Provides Visual Overview:

     A SWOT analysis is usually presented as a square, each quadrant representing one factor. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of the company’s position and encourages dialogue.

·         Offers Insight:

    SWOT analysis can be used to gain insight about the market, giving you a better understanding of your competition.

·         Integration and Synthesis:

    SWOT analysis gives the analyst the opportunity to integrate and synthesize diverse information, despite it being qualitative or quantitative in nature. SWOT analysis organizes information that is already known, as well as information that has just been acquired or discovered.

·         Fosters Collaboration: SWOT analysis fosters collaboration and encourages open information exchange between a variety of functional areas in a firm that would otherwise not collaborate or interact much

Using SWOT Analysis for Content Strategies

A SWOT analysis is the ideal catalyst for targeted content strategies. The main reason for this is simply the fact that a two-step process (data collection and categorization) is all you really need to fuel various different types of marketing content for your business.


Your content strategy can be evaluated according to the following framework:

Strengths

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic strengths of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify what has been working well for you so far (eg. a well-defined blogging strategy)

·         Identify your expertise in certain subjects

·         Identify potential partnerships that could assist in promoting your content to generate traffic

Weaknesses

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic weaknesses of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify holes in your resources

·         Identify problems with tracking your ROI

·         Identify where your focus is lacking (lead generation vs closing deals)

Opportunities

·         List 3-4 major external opportunities that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Are there paid distribution opportunities worth looking into?

·         Are any platforms looking for specific content that you are able to create?

Threats

·         List 3-4 major external threats that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Is your content easily replicated by competitors?

·         Do your competitors have better resources than you do?

 

Survey on 'Why top level executives attend conferences'

In an effort to learn more about the conferencing behaviours of Fortune 1000 executives, Goodman Lantern conducted a survey featuring 191 top-level panelists. Our main aim was to discover why these executives choose to attend certain business events, how they research upcoming conferences, and what motivates them to participate as exhibitors or sponsors rather than attending in an observational capacity.

Download the entire presentation (free)

Determining the “Worth” of Attending an Event

An overwhelming 62.6% of respondents choose to attend conferences based on the quality of marketing and communication received before the event. The second-most popular method, ranking in at 41.3%, of decision-making in this regard is learning about these events from peers and colleagues.

Reasons for Attending an Event

One of our main motivators in conducting this survey was to discover why Fortune 1000 executives attend certain conferences and events. Most of our panelists, around 68.9%, claimed that these events presented a wealth of networking opportunities – clearly a driving force behind making their decisions. The runner-up reason for attending events was to meet experts and speakers face-to-face, a motivating factor for nearly 31% of our panelists. At least 21.1% of the executives interviewed stated that they saw event attendance as a way to invest in themselves and their professional endeavours.

Motivation for Sponsoring or Exhibiting at an Event

According to 51.3% of our participants, industry reports and knowledge produced at the event form the bulk of their motivation for exhibiting at or sponsoring an event. The next-highest motivator, 39.9%, for our panelists was the quality of attendees. Additionally, 22.6% of our survey participants stated that a speaking slot was motivation enough for attending a conference.

Produce industry reports and knowledge for your conference via Zero Cost Content via Goodman Lantern's research platform.

Speakers Market Beyond the Event Itself

As a professional you need to be able to see the value in your event speakers beyond the session itself. Quite obviously, speakers play one of the most important roles in the success of your event. You may wish to harness their infinite charisma in order to market your event more effectively. When they're on the stage, speakers are the living embodiment of the event itself. They engage with the audience and share their passion for the topic at hand. They keep people entertained for an hour or so, hoping to stay in the audience's mind for long after the event is over. Additionally, they have full control over their content - an enormous responsibility, all things considered. Surely, their responsibilities could (and should) extend a little further.

Turn your Speakers into Marketing Machines

Event organisers often make the mistake of shouldering the burden of marketing all on their own. The fact of the matter is that your speakers should be generating buzz about your event. After all, their success depends on the success of the whole shindig too.

If your goal is to have your speakers market the event from day one, you need to be completely honest with them. If they want the gig, they need to uphold all of the responsibilities laid out for them. Tell them that they need to raise awareness. Get them in touch with your marketing team so that all of your efforts are synchronised.

Your speakers should be doing exactly the same things you are to promote your event. Posting on social media, blogging, and reaching out to influencers are three vital steps in generating buzz.

Stay Updated on Important News and Trends

Research is incredibly important leading up to your event. While your event may be set up and ready to go, you need to keep track of your audience and attendees in the months and weeks before the date. Your speakers will find a wealth of information that will enable them to reach out on social media and connect with the people that matter.

 

 

Online Marketing for Events: Tips for Event Profs

Many event professionals hit a roadblock when it comes to online marketing. Of course, with a few handy tips and tricks you needn't feel like online marketing is such a huge challenge. With your event planned perfectly, including fantastic speakers and tantalising catering, the only obstacle you really face is getting the required attention. Essentially, online marketing is a gift rather than a burden. It truly does make your life that much easier...if you know how to use it.

Be Smart - Get Other People to Do your Marketing for You

Perhaps the best thing about online marketing is the fact that you can, without too much effort, get other people to do your marketing for you.

Contests are a great way to generate buzz about your event. Consider launching a competition where entrants can win tickets to the event by sharing the news. You would be surprised at how far information will reach when there's a prize to be had.

Influencer marketing is another fantastic way to generate interest in your event. It can sometimes be difficult to connect with the right influencers due to the fact that they're usually bogged down with hundreds of requests. Try to get noticed by the right kind of influencers by doing some noticeable legwork. Reach out to them by sending personalised requests instead of flooding them with generic posts that are clearly targeted at a large group.

Offering referral discounts is another fantastic way to generate buzz. Send a message to your attendees letting them know that they will be able to receive a partial refund on their ticket purchase should they refer a friend (or two).

Use Social Media Wisely - It's One of Your Biggest Assets

The most important thing to remember about social media is that it is in a constant state of growth. While Facebook and Twitter may have once have been the only bigwigs worth considering, other social media platforms have now joined their ranks. Spend a little time doing research on what's trending online, and use that knowledge to your advantage.

Create an air of exclusivity by creating a closed Facebook group for VIP guests. There will always be those people who crave exclusivity and "special treatment" - this could be a great way to get them to mention your event on social media in a completely positive light.

If you're going to invest in social media, you may wish to consider creating an awe-inspiring video. At the moment, video content is the biggest trend. Audiences crave entertainment in the form of a teaser. They want to feel as though they have something absolutely magnificent to look forward to.

How to Find the Ideal Event Venue

The event venue you choose is the foundation for the success you hope for. Finding the perfect venue, whilst still attempting to offer attendees something unique, can be challenging. An out-of-the-box venue is often the number one headache event profs deal with during the planning process. Many event planners are taken by surprise when they see new venues popping up all over town. Of course, it always seems as though a new venue pops up just as you manage to get to grips with the details of your upcoming event.

Staying updated on trending local event venues is of the utmost importance for any event professional. Here's how best to do that:

Get Real with Your Clients, Be Humble

The most important thing to do when trying to source event venues is to remember that you are not all-knowing. This is something you need to admit both to yourself and your clients. As an event professional, you need to come to terms to the fact that you will never know everything. This is a career that requires constant learning and constant improvement for the simple fact that everything around you is constantly changing.

The Concierge is Your Number One Source of Info

Finding out what's happening inside a hotel is as simple as having a chat with the concierge. This is where you'll find honest feedback, as well as information regarding the goings on at hotel events. You need to know how well a particular hotel venue performs, and what sort of feedback is received from guests their way out.

Conduct a Few Online Investigations

Over the last few years there has been a significant increase in the presence of websites that showcase event venues and all of their pros and cons. In general, you'll probably find guest reviews as well. Word of mouth is invaluable in this industry; so take heed of the general chatter if you want to stay informed.

Keep Track of Popular Events and Festivals

The organisers of popular festivals are constantly searching for new and exciting venues. These popular events span over various categories including food, music, and theatre - and all of them require fairly large event spaces with a range of attractive amenities. Because these event organisers work outside the realm of corporate functions, they tend to think more creatively. Take the time to chat with them and pick their brains a bit; you may learn something incredibly valuable.

 

 

Moving on up with Digital Swag Bags

We recently did a post about event goodie bags and how they need to be adapted for a better attendee experience. Virtual event bags are a step up from the traditional, physical “swag bag”, and marketing gurus predict that these may be the way forward. We are smack bang in the middle of the Digital Age, after all – why not use this to your advantage? What is a Digital Event Bag?

Digital event bags help sponsors and exhibitors connect to attendees through a more modern version the classic tool we’ve all become accustomed to over the years. It’s finally time to kiss printed materials goodbye and opt for a more user friendly, eco-friendly, and experience friendly approach.

People love digital content that makes them tick. There is always a market for great content that people can relate to, connect with, and share with their friends and peers. The possibilities for creating digital goodie bags are virtually endless – it all depends on the audience you want to reach and the impact you want to make. It’s a revolutionary marketing tool that packs a serious punch.

Attendees can open their virtual bags from their smartphones and tablets via text messages or emails that link to the event organiser’s website or app. Once opened, guests have access to discount codes, free offers, contests, surveys, video content, articles, and so much more. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of marketing opportunities in one handy little package – and there’s no chance of attendees forgetting this particular goodie back under their seats once the event is over.

Popular Perks for Organisers and Marketers

Perhaps the greatest perk of handing out digital goodie bags instead of the traditional, tactile version, is the fact that sponsors have the ability to track useful consumer behaviour. Whenever coupons are used or content is viewed, sponsors can track the information in order to better their own marketing campaigns in the future. Trackable data, in this industry, is pure gold.

Of course, it certainly helps that putting together a virtual event bag is much more economical than the traditional version. There’s absolutely zero waste, and sponsors are guaranteed to connect with attendees on a more substantial level.

 

Evening Events: Why they Matter

Evening events at conferences often get a bad rap. Most event planners find themselves wondering whether hosting an evening event is worth the trouble at all. After a long day of meetings, talks, and manning exhibition stands, attendees may question whether or not they have the resilience to stay after hours...unless the experience is worth it.

An Opportunity for Networking

In general, huge conferences are often a little too bustling for any real networking opportunities. Evening events present attendees with a space to relax and unwind; to mingle with their peers and perhaps find a chance to fit in some relatively "chilled" networking, should the opportunity present itself.

For instance, many attendees who spend their day scrambling through busy conference hall look forward to some down-time. They enjoy a scheduled evening event which provides a much-needed chance to chat to vendors, sponsors, speakers, and industry leaders.

Emphasis on Personal Brand

While the main conference is centered around the vendors and sponsors, an evening networking event presents attendees with the opportunity to showcase their personal brand. These business networking events are an amazing way to keep abreast of any important trends in the industry.

Foster Professional Relationships

Personal and professional growth should be the end goal of every event attendee. Of course, walking away with a number of useful contacts is an absolute must. Evening events present the perfect opportunity to build new relationships. They offer a chance to focus on maintaining existing relationships. All in all, there is no doubt that an open and relaxed setting is better suited to forming new acquaintances.

Education without Boredom

Conferences, as a whole, are designed to educate and hopefully inspire. Unfortunately, the massive nature of the main event can lead to an impersonal feel. The fact of the matter is that people absorb information better when there is a personal feel to it.

Evening events present the opportunity for vendors and attendees to connect on a one-on-one basis. In fact, nothing boosts the ability to absorb information quite like a simple face-to-face conversation.

 

Creative Marketing: Displaying Logos at Events

There has to be a better of displaying logos at events. Gone are the days where marketers and event profs can get away with taking the easy way out. Consumers tend to bristle at in-your-face, lacklustre, or slapdash efforts at making branding memorable. Event managers need to think outside of the proverbial square when figuring out how to display company logos. Try a subtle approach, give something more fun a try, or use technology to your advantage. Your options are virtually endless if you know where to look.

Give a Photobooth a Bash

The verdict is in: people love photobooths. There's an undeniable element of nostalgia involved in taking an instant photo. It conjures up a person's favorite memories and positive emotions. Hire one of these fabulous devices and you've added that sought-after personal connection. Logos can not only be displayed on the outside of the booth, but they can be printed directly onto the photos as well.

Hire a Street Artist

Watching an artist at work is an almost magical experience. There are so many talented street artists out there - most of them working with completely unique materials. You can really bring your event to life by hiring one of these creative geniuses. By incorporating company logos into their art, they create something memorable that will really stick in an attendee's mind.

Edible Logos Aim to Please

Basically, the aim of your event is to ensure that everybody leaves happy. Nothing makes people happier than a snack or two. Try to find innovative ways to offer attendees edible logos. Molded chocolates, beautifully iced biscuits, refreshing ice pops, branded drinks... The opportunities are amazing if you really think about it.

Digital Caricaturists Exist to Amuse

Caricaturists have gone digital - and it's a good thing too. People love to laugh. Really great people love to laugh at themselves. Bring in a digital caricaturist to entertain people and give them something to share on social media. Company logos can easily be worked into digital caricatures, making a lasting impression.

It's amazing what you can come up with when you take the time to think about it. Originality is so important in terms of marketing at an event; use your intuition and imagination to come up with something truly great.

Colour Matters in Event Design

Colour choices in event design are more important than most people realise. There is almost no way for an event to be 100% successful if the design is not up to scratch. The correct colour palette is the very foundation of your decor; and event attendees' experience begins with the eye.

The Emotional Connection

Whether you choose to believe it or not, the colours in your surrounding environment can have a very real effect on your mood. Certain bright colours inspire high energy buzz whilst others have a more soothing effect. You need to think carefully about the core concepts behind your event, and the kind of vibe you're hoping to generate.

Don't Clash with your Venue

When choosing your colour palette, you need to remember that you're not starting with a completely clean slate. Your venue already comes with an array of its own colours which will need to work in cohesion with your choices.

A single colour can look completely different depending on its surroundings. Some colours compliment each other whilst others are in complete contrast.

Play it Safe, Go Monochromatic

If you're worried about a colour clash, you have the option to choose a monochromatic palette. It almost seems as though monochrome will never go out of style - and that's a real stroke of luck in terms of event design. Choose a single colour and work with varying shades (darker and lighter) thereof. You can go two ways with this: subtle or dramatic.

Keep it Simple with Neutrals

Neutral colours are quite often the favourite for people who aren't fully acquainted with the ins and outs of design. There's a very real sense of comfort in neutral colours - it feels a bit like home. Neutral tones lend an air of relaxation and calm. You can add an accent colour here or there for that bit of pizzazz if you feel the need.

Audio Beacons Add Value to Event Experience

Audio beacon technology has the ability to turn any smartphone into a device that has a “sixth sense”.  Using microphones on smartphones as an access point, audio beacons send ultra-high frequency sounds that the human ear cannot hear. With these capabilities, apps have the ability to deliver relevant content in an almost completely organic way. Event planners and marketers are staring to incorporate this technology into the event planning process; finding new and exciting ways for attendees to really immerse themselves into the experience.

Is Privacy an Issue?

Of course, there is the possibility that attendees may feel as though their privacy is at risk. There is a bit of discomfort involved in using any app that has direct access to one’s recording devices. Organisers will need to find a way to ensure that event attendees feel safe in downloading and using the relevant apps.

The smartest approach is to give attendees a little bit of a head’s up before your event. Send out an email or social media blast on the apps they’ll need to use and how these will interact with the beacons. Let them know that the apps are exclusively for the event, and can easily be deleted without leaving a trace afterwards.

Put a health and safety spin on it if you need to. Let your attendees know that the beacons are active for security reasons as well. Should there be any sort of unexpected issue at the event, an immediate notification will be sent to attendees ensuring that they are prepared in time.

Keeping the Event on the Fast Track

One of the best ways to ensure that attendees feel good about using audio beacon technology, is letting them know that the whole process is in aid of a seamless experience. Registration should be a breeze – eliminating frustrating queues by having attendees register through the app and receiving confirmation via email.

Audio beacons provide event updates in real time. Attendees will receive notifications (should they choose to) when anything of interest is about to occur. If there’s a particular keynote speaker they have an interest in, or if there’s a demonstration they’re absolutely itching to see, this technology will keep them in the loop.

In the end, it’s all about adding value to the attendees’ experience.

The Ins and Outs of Event Goodie Bags

We all have them… the secret stash of event and conference goodie bags lurking at the back of the closet. Chances are you don’t even remember what most of them contain. Admittedly, we all take one peek inside the bag, browsing for that kitsch-looking pen you can keep in your handbag or briefcase for emergencies. Everything else is of little interest. Over the years, goodie bags seem to have become little more than a formality. Like the cursory bag of stale Jordan almonds at a wedding reception. With just a little forethought, they could be so much more. Promotional bags and products are a $19.4 billion industry. It’s about time event organisers started putting in a little more effort.

Top 5 No-No Items

To make things simpler, it’s worth eliminating the following 5 items from any goodie bag list:

  • Pens
  • Tote Bags
  • Mousepads
  • Stress/Foam Balls
  • Random office supplies
  • Wristbands (or anything clothing besides t-shirts)

These are items that no one wants or needs. It’s time to start thinking of guests as human beings with a real life beyond the event.

Get a Little Personal

Event bags are the organiser’s way of thanking guests for attending. Quite obviously, it is impossible to personalise each bag for each individual guest. There is, however, a way to make the bag an integral part of the event experience.

Event Manager Blog suggests the following: "Set a goal that you want the bag to achieve. Just giving people a place to stash junk and office supplies is a wasted opportunity. Communicate the strategy to workshop leaders and exhibitors. Enlist them in the plan."

Try to think of travel-sized gifts that attendees might think of as a little luxury. “Usefulness” can sometimes be overrated. People like to feel special – it makes for a memorable event.

Avoid a Design Faux Pas

Style should never be overlooked. Goodie bags should have a little bit of a designer feel. If you can swing it, aim for a recyclable material in an effort to keep the event eco-friendly. Work in your CSR wherever possible.

Aim for a “dynamite in small packages” vibe. Keep it vibrant, punchy, and eye-catching but remember that your guests will need to lug the bag around all day. Bigger isn’t always better, but beauty certainly wins out.

Video Content: The Gateway to Creative Communication

Video Content Goodman Lantern Video content has been gaining popularity recently, to such an extent that in 2010, Forbes reported that among senior executives, 80% report watching more video than they did previously. Alan Newton, Eventopedia’s COO and Co-founder quotes his Creative Director, Pete Davies as saying that, “visual might be the new text,” - a prediction that seems to be coming into it’s own with 75% of senior executives preferring to watch work-related videos on business-related websites, while 52% also make use of YouTube. Newton believes video is the trend that shows the greatest opportunity as a creative communication tool, but cannot be overlooked as a tool for traffic generation when it is considered that 65% followed videos up with a visit to the creator’s website. Cisco has gone on record saying by 2019, consumer internet traffic will be 80% video, which would amount to a 64% rise from 2014’s figures.Video is considered to be the most significant method of communication between companies and their clients, but also in the business to business environment.

Tom Afek, CMO and co-founder of Showbox, believes that the creative and intelligent use of intuitive production platforms combined with appropriate research and execution allows any marketing manager to create engaging video content to highlight their company.  He recommends four “basic principles” of creating video content, beginning with the often underestimated importance of great content to fill the video with. A tight, punchy message is given a new breath of fresh air when coupled with engaging visuals and audio cues. Also vital is an attitude of transparency and a focus on viewer engagement - both aspects can appear daunting, but can be achieved by efficiently utilizing user feedback tools that allow comments and interaction between consumers and companies.

Another vital aspect to be considered is the placement of your video. Afek recommends a combined strategy of using a video hosting service such as YouTube, but stresses the importance of embedding the video on a relevant, prominent section of your company’s own site, diminishing the problems caused by distraction of competitor videos with good ratings. Consistency is the final piece of Afek’s focus, highlighting the need for a dependable and reliable outlook that communicates stoicism and steadfastness of resolve to any potential clients who view a number of videos in succession, or who are exposed to your company’s content over time. The fact is that the next generation of consumers demand to know as much as they can about every facet of the companies they support and to feel involved in their lifecycle - a sentiment that is often summed up into the extremely broad term, ‘relationship building.’