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How to Handle Marketing During Uncertain Times

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For many businesses and individuals, the past few years have been positive and included opportunities and avenues for growth. With the current COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading across much of Europe and the Americas, the present and future have become very uncertain. The clear focus now should be on taking care of those who are ill, protecting those who are high-risk for infection, and staying healthy.

In the U.S., many businesses large and small are taking preventative measures to take care of their employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. Enabling remote working when possible has been demonstrated to be a good business continuity plan that puts the health of workers at the forefront. However, many businesses and business leaders who have taken steps to protect their workers are still experiencing much uncertainty about what comes next.

While business as usual is not an option, especially when it comes to marketing, there are several things to keep in mind during this pandemic. Below, our marketing team shares their thoughts on how to approach marketing as we cope with this global crisis.

Accept the Uncertainty but Don’t Panic

As humans, we are wired for fight or flight and panic can be a very real, normal response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The first thing that business leaders and marketers (and all individuals) should do is to accept that uncertainty will be constant for the near future, but to not panic. It’s important to know that while there are many uncertainties and China has not fully recovered from the Coronavirus outbreak, the country was able to disrupt the outbreak and change the course of the spread. While this won’t change our present, it should provide hope for the future, that recovery is imminent if we act appropriately now.

For marketers and business leaders, this means we can’t continue as normal, but that we need to adapt. You may be tempted to panic and stop all your marketing activities. While you may want to pause some activities to be sensitive to those who are ill or experiencing loss or hardship, it’s important to be strategic. While it may seem best to pause all your marketing activities, that will absolutely hurt your business in the future and may hinder your ability to recover.

Be Realistic, Not Pessimistic

In many ways, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Yes, we need to fear COVID-19, but for many B2B businesses, demand for your products and services is still there. If we go too far down the track of negative thinking, it will negatively affect employees, partners, clients, etc. Negative thinking can actually be more contagious than COVID-19 in a virtual workplace.

With marketing, be realistic about the impact COVID-19 will have on your business. Yes there will be dramatic effects on certain businesses (restaurants, bars, air travel, etc.), but there are other B2B businesses where it is business as usual, the only difference is sales and customer service will be done via Zoom, phone, or email. The quantity and quality of service will really not be affected.

Do not go down the path of negative thinking for no reason. Most B2B businesses can survive and actually thrive using alternative communication and service delivery platforms.

Be Thoughtful and Intentional

Over the past week, we have seen business leaders and marketers acting thoughtfully and with intention. Changing business operations to include “social distancing,” mandating that all workers able to work remotely do so, moving as much work online as possible, and limiting the amount of in-person interaction possible. These decisions are all thoughtful and intentional choices that demonstrate concern for individuals.

Marketers should be continuing to be thoughtful and intentional in their efforts. It’s ok to still post blog posts as long as the topics are worthwhile to the audience. It’s ok to send an email newsletter if the content is sensitive to the audience and offering value. Remember that many folks are taking their additional time right now to improve their skill set or expand their knowledge. They are focusing on the future and your content or materials will help to educate them while also letting them take their mind off the uncertainty surrounding them.

Avoid Being Opportunistic or Predatory

There is a clear line between an entrepreneurial spirit and using an opportunity to provide value. Because toilet paper hoarders are selling rolls for $10 a piece out of their cars, it’s essential to state that marketers and business owners absolutely MUST avoid being opportunistic or predatory.

If you are seeing an increased demand for something like IT services to set up remote workers or conference call software (both real demands now), be very careful about how you market these services. Make sure you understand the true need behind what is driving these trends and speak to the concerns of the end-users or business units.

Adapt for Now, Plan for the Future

We don’t know when the COVID-19 pandemic will be slowed, or how far it will reach, or what the final impact will be. But, based on recovery rates being published, it’s likely that much of the population will survive. For marketers and business leaders, it’s important to be flexible and adapt for now, but to continue to plan for the future.

We are all in this together and we will pull through.



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Marketing Strategies

How 5 Brands Use WhatsApp For Marketing

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In 2019, WhatsApp reached 2 billion global users and solidified itself as the most popular mobile messaging app worldwide.

When the app launched in 2009, it was just a basic SMS platform that allowed you to log on, text message friends, send photos or videos, and make voice calls globally using Wi-Fi. The app became popular as an alternative to paying costly phone bills to communicate with loved ones around the world.

As one of WhatsApp’s earlier adopters, I discovered the app when studying abroad in Ireland.

After blowing up my U.S. cell phone bill with roaming fees and spending countless euros just to text my roommate on pay-as-you-go Irish phone, my classmates told me to download WhatsApp. Almost instantly, I was able to call my parents and connect with friends in the U.S. and Ireland. I never needed to use my junky temporary phone again.

After using WhatsApp for a few months, it was pretty apparent that this simple Wi-Fi fueled tool was going to be a big innovation in the telecommunication industry.

A few years after my trip abroad, WhatsApp became even more well known when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014. Since then, WhatsApp’s evolved from an SMS tool to a full platform of features. It’s also gained major attention from brands.

Most recently, in 2018, the app innovated even further by adding a group chat option and group video calls. With these features, companies like British Vogue could build group chats filled with prospects and send content or offers to them. Meanwhile, other brands have leveraged WhatsAp as a channel where customers or prospects can contact them with questions about a product.

Aside from WhatsApp’s large user base and brand-friendly features, the app’s also become intriguing to companies because of how it’s pulled in users from all around the world. While the app was created in the United States and is popular throughout North America, the two countries with the most users are actually India and Brazil.

Because of its global audience, brands that are looking to market internationally are able to leverage WhatsApp, as well as global social networks, and paid advertising campaigns.

But, despite WhatsApp’s global opportunities, the platform still presents a few challenges for brands.Early Challenges of WhatsApp

Prior to 2019, WhatsApp’s format was designed to keep people’s contact information private so that random accounts can’t easily find and message them. It was not initially designed for business usage. Because of this, neither you or your brand could create public accounts that users can easily search for.

Because WhatsApp required you to know someone’s contact information, brands similarly couldn’t use the network to find, add, and contact prospects that might have been interested in their product. Alternatively, the companies would need to get WhatsApp information directly from the prospect or a contact list they already had or add them.

Another issue with WhatsApp was that you couldn’t publish content publically. While Facebook or other platforms allowed you to post content to audiences on feeds or a profile, you had to create a group of WhatsApp contacts and post links there.

But, things are changing for brands on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp’s Growing Business Opportunities

Recently, WhatsApp and Facebook announced the launch of WhatsApp for Business, an app that allows companies to create an account with company information, allow contacts to text or call them, and monitor app-related insights.

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WhatsApp for Business, which has gained over 5 million users since its 2019 launch, also enables companies to build and share product catalogs, which highlight current offerings and can link to ecommerce sites. Once a business creates a catalog, its marketing team can share its link on the brand’s profile or in chats with prospects. Here’s a quick demo of how the catalog tool works:

 

 

Additionally, even though connecting with broad international targets was challenging at first on WhatsApp, some companies say the smaller groups they’ve interacted with on were more engaged than larger social audiences. This could be because a person who gives a company their contact information or is willing to add a company’s contact to might be incredibly interested in learning about that brand from the start.

Aside from WhatsApp’s engagement and branding opportunities, Facebook’s ownership of the platform also benefits advertisers. Recent findings reveal that branded ad targeting has resulted in more ROI due to data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook.

Although Facebook plans to integrate WhatsApp and Instagram into its own flagship platform, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp will remain a standalone app that benefits from Facebook’s app ecosystem.

Because WhatsApp is a growing app that probably won’t get discontinued any time soon, businesses of all sizes are continuing to experiment with it. Top Industries on WhatsApp

Most recently, two specific industries that are flocking to WhatsApp are publishing and fashion. Meanwhile, food and beverage companies like Absolut Vodka also leverage the platform for marketing.

If you’re similarly aiming to target global audiences, a WhatsApp strategy could be worth considering now or in the future. But, if you’re new to the platform, you might need some inspiration to learn more about what makes a mobile messaging app’s strategy successful.

To help you plan your first experiment, here are a few of the best WhatsApp tactics that marketers can learn from.

How 5 Brands Are Using WhatsApp

Adidas: “100% Unfair Pred”

Adidas has been using WhatsApp since 2015 to answer questions about their products and promote new items to prospects. But recently, they launched a campaign that combined live chats and influencer marketing.

In 2019, after realizing that athletic teams used WhatsApp to send team-wide communications or announcements, Adidas offered to help recreational sports players “rent” a professional athlete — or “predator” — for one of their upcoming games.

In a WhatsApp Group temporarily opened by Adidas, the company shared that they wanted to help one uncoordinated recreational sports team win a single game by “renting” them a professional athlete. From there, recreational athletes and coaches were asked to send WhatsApp messages noting the sport they play, when their next game was, and why they needed to borrow a professional athlete to win.

Days later, Adidas sent a direct message to the winning recreational athlete. The “pred” then showed up to the recreational game dressed in Adidas sportswear.

“We know our audience use it to share fixture info, team selection — and team-mates messaging to find last-minute replacements,” Adidas’ Managing Editor Laura Coveney told Digiday.

“WhatsApp was perfect for the more functional elements of the ‘Rent-a-Pred’ hotline as it allowed consumers to share private information one-to-one with us for review, before being allocated a Predator player near them,” Coveney explained.

The Financial Times Shares Free Content

Think an age-old publication known for long-form content can’t succeed on an instant-messaging app? Think again.

In late 2019, the Financial Times, a subscriber-only publication, posted two free daily articles in its WhatsApp Group. According to Digiday, the tactic of sharing content has given them more conversions than other social platforms, more brand awareness, and insight into what topics are important to their potential subscribers.

Interestingly, the publication discovered that although its audience was much smaller, it was more engaged with the content and more likely to subscribe than audiences on other online platforms.

For example, people who clicked a Financial Times link on WhatsApp were 40% more likely to return to the site within three days than those who clicked their links on other channels. The publication also found that traffic gained from WhatsApp was similar to what it received from its average Twitter post.

“People liked the convenience of having [news] come through to their phone, pushed to them where they are, without having to go to our site, on a service they are already signed up to,” said the Times’ Audience Engagement Editor, Alana Coates, in an interview.

Absolut Vodka Launch Party Campaign

One of WhatsApp’s earliest success stories came from the Swedish liquor company Absolut Vodka. When marketing the launch of its Absolut Unique vodka product in 2013, Absolut struggled with driving global audiences and was tightly competing with other liquor companies that had many more years of history supporting them.

Unlike many other alcoholic beverage companies, Absolut didn’t have a story of long-running success behind its brand just yet. While some liquor companies could easily market how they’d been using the same recipes for hundreds of years, Absolut was only established in 1979.

Nostalgic content, such as this ad from Jim Beam, allows older brands to tell a story about their successful history, while emotionally connecting with their audiences. This was something that a young company, like Absolut, couldn’t play up as a marketing tactic.

Instead of inventing a story that spoke to audiences of all ages, Absolut decided to leverage WhatsApp’s messaging system to earn credibility and awareness from younger audiences globally.

To mark the Argentinian launch of Absolut Unique, the beverage company promoted a contest where you could win two tickets to a celebration of the new product in Argentina. To enter the tickets, you had to go on WhatsApp and message the account of a doorman named Sven to convince him why you deserved to attend the party.

According to a case study, 600 Argentinian users contacted Sven over the course of three days. The campaign was also widely discussed locally which helped Absolut gain brand awareness even from people who didn’t contact the account.

Although Absolut is now a giant, well-known company, this is a great example of how the brand recognized and leveraged WhatsApp as a platform that could be used to boost local brand awareness and sales in another part of the world.

Hellmann’s: “WhatsCook”

Back in 2014, Hellmann’s, a U.S.-based Mayonnaise company, wanted to reach audiences in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay. To do this, they hired a team of professional chefs to help them with a WhatsApp campaign.

WhatsCook camapgin on whatsapp

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WhatsCook camapgin on whatsapp

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According to Cubo, an agency that assisted with this campaign, 13,000 people signed up for the service and the average participant interacted with a chef for 65 minutes.

With the “WhatsCook” campaign, Hellmann’s leveraged industry experts as a way to get in contact with fans. The company already knew that people who bought its mayo wanted to use it. But, they also knew that people might not know many mayonnaise-friendly recipes. With this strategy, the brand engaged with people who love to cook and solved for the customer by showing them how to use Hellmann’s main product in different ways.

Yoox Personal Shoppers

Yoox whatsapp campaign

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Yoox whatsapp campaign

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During Yoox’s WhatsApp experiment, they made $80,000 off of sales through the app.

This is a great example of how a company leveraged WhatsApp to reach interested prospects, ease them through the buyer’s journey with a highly interactive messaging experience, and successfully make sales without having customers enter a store.

Navigating Mobile Messaging

As seen above, WhatsApp can help brands to nurture interesting prospects into leads. At the moment, you can’t send a message to the entire social platform, but you can send links and engage with contacts that have already shown interest in your brand.

While all of the examples are fairly different, they all emphasize how interactive and highly personalized mobile messaging techniques can be beneficial to marketing.

If you’re planning to test out a WhatsApp experience, keep these tactics in mind:

Interested in learning more about messaging app strategies? Check out this blog post that compares WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Kik.





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Top 15 Kansas News Websites To Follow in 2020 (US State)

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Top 15 Kansas News Websites
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Kansas News Websites

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1. KAKE – News

Wichita, Kansas, United States About Website Follow KAKE News to get the latest breaking news, weather alerts, sports and the topics that impact you. Frequency 16 posts / day Website kake.com/category/310963/news
Facebook fans 246.4K ⋅ Twitter followers 126.3K ⋅ Instagram Followers 29.9K ⋅ Social Engagement 5.6K ⋅ Domain Authority 69 ⋅ Alexa Rank 51K

2. KSN-TV

KSN-TVWichita, Kansas, United States About Website KSN News gives up to date information, latest news, sports, community, and weather updates. Frequency 30 posts / day Website ksn.com
Facebook fans 129.2K ⋅ Twitter followers 76.5K ⋅ Instagram Followers 5.2K ⋅ Social Engagement 77 ⋅ Domain Authority 71 ⋅ Alexa Rank 107.4K

3. The Wichita Eagle – News

The Wichita Eagle - NewsWichita, Kansas, United States About Website The Wichita Eagle is the leading and essential source for news, information, opinion columns, videos and community events in south-central Kansas. Frequency 30 posts / day Website kansas.com/news
Facebook fans 112.3K ⋅ Twitter followers 64.4K ⋅ Social Engagement 63 ⋅ Domain Authority 79 ⋅ Alexa Rank 80.3K

4. KSNT News

KSNT NewsTopeka, Kansas, United States About Website Follow KSNT News for local Topeka and Northeast Kansas news, weather stories, sports, community and more. Frequency 30 posts / day Website ksnt.com
Facebook fans 138.8K ⋅ Twitter followers 12.6K ⋅ Instagram Followers 3 ⋅ Social Engagement 619 ⋅ Domain Authority 68 ⋅ Alexa Rank 282K

5. The Hutchinson News

The Hutchinson NewsHutchinson, Kansas, United States About Website The Hutchinson News provides the latest news, information and opinion about communities in Hutchinson, Kansas. Frequency 28 posts / day Website hutchnews.com/news
Facebook fans 27.8K ⋅ Twitter followers 8.7K ⋅ Social Engagement 19 ⋅ Domain Authority 70 ⋅ Alexa Rank 399.9K

6. Salina Journal – News

Salina Journal - NewsSalina, Kansas, United States About Website The Salina Journal offers daily news coverage of local news, sports, arts and entertainment for Salina and North Central Kansas. Frequency 25 posts / day Website salina.com/news
Facebook fans 15.2K ⋅ Twitter followers 6.4K ⋅ Domain Authority 62 ⋅ Alexa Rank 876.8K

7. The Hays Daily News

The Hays Daily NewsHays, Kansas, United States About Website The Hays Daily News delivers up-to-the-minute news and information on the latest top stories, weather, entertainment, politics and more. Frequency 20 posts / day Website hdnews.net/news
Facebook fans 14.1K ⋅ Twitter followers 5.4K ⋅ Domain Authority 57 ⋅ Alexa Rank 975.1K

8. The Manhattan Mercury

The Manhattan MercuryManhattan, Kansas, United States About Website The Manhattan Mercury covers news and information in the Manhattan area, including Riley, Pottawatomie, Geary, Wabaunsee, Marshall, Clay and Washington counties in northeast Kansas. Frequency 5 posts / day Website themercury.com/news
Facebook fans 5.5K ⋅ Twitter followers 6.3K ⋅ Social Engagement 37 ⋅ Domain Authority 58 ⋅ Alexa Rank 478.8K

9. Leavenworth Times – News

Leavenworth Times - NewsLeavenworth, Kansas, United States About Website Follow Leavenworth Times News for breaking news, story previews and live community updates from the Leavenworth area. Frequency 20 posts / day Website leavenworthtimes.com/news
Facebook fans 7K ⋅ Twitter followers 2.1K ⋅ Social Engagement 57 ⋅ Domain Authority 55 ⋅ Alexa Rank 322.6K

10. Dodge City Daily Globe – News

Dodge City Daily Globe - NewsDodge City, Kansas, United States About Website The Dodge City Daily Globe provides news and information on the latest top stories, weather, entertainment, politics and more. Frequency 25 posts / day Website dodgeglobe.com/news
Facebook fans 6.8K ⋅ Twitter followers 3K ⋅ Social Engagement 13 ⋅ Domain Authority 55 ⋅ Alexa Rank 2.4M

11. The Kansan – News

The Kansan - NewsNewton, Kansas, United States About Website The Kansan covers Newton and Harvey County, Kansas with the news and information on the latest top stories, weather, entertainment, politics and more. Frequency 23 posts / day Website thekansan.com/news
Facebook fans 4.8K ⋅ Twitter followers 1.6K ⋅ Domain Authority 54 ⋅ Alexa Rank 835.3K

12. Wellington Daily News

Wellington Daily NewsWellington, Kansas, United States About Website Get the latest breaking news, sports, entertainment, obituaries from Wellington Daily News. Frequency 21 posts / day Website wellingtondailynews.com/news
Facebook fans 5.9K ⋅ Twitter followers 1.2K ⋅ Domain Authority 47 ⋅ Alexa Rank 5.1M

13. McPherson Sentinel – News

McPherson Sentinel - NewsKansas, United States About Website McPherson Sentinel provides local news in McPherson County community. Frequency 21 posts / day Website mcphersonsentinel.com/news
Facebook fans 3.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 1.5K ⋅ Domain Authority 50 ⋅ Alexa Rank 3.3M

14. Osage County Online

Osage County OnlineKansas, United States About Website Osage County Online provide news and information about Osage County, Kansas, and the surrounding area. Frequency 4 posts / day Website osagecountyonline.com
Facebook fans 3.8K ⋅ Twitter followers 284 ⋅ Domain Authority 31 ⋅ Alexa Rank 4.3M

The post Top 15 Kansas News Websites To Follow in 2020 (US State) appeared first on Feedspot Blog.



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Folloze Study Reveals Link Between Personalization & Growth; Launches AI-Powered Platform

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More than three-fourths (77%) of B2B sales and marketing professionals believe personalized marketing experiences make for better customer relationships, according to new research from Propeller Insights and sponsored by Folloze, a provider of a personalization platform for B2B marketers. In addition, more than half (55%) of the 205 sales and marketing professionals surveyed said marketing personalization leads to higher sales conversion rates and future growth.

“The emphasis on personalization is increasingly relevant now, as many B2B marketers move to a digital-only platform for their messaging in light of COVID-19,” said Randy Brasche, VP of Marketing at Folloze, in an interview with Demand Gen Report.

Brasche noted that as companies increase their ABM efforts, many are still struggling to achieve the level of personalization at scale that customers expect.

Traditionally, B2B marketing has focused on building demand gen at the top of the funnel, but Brasche sees that shifting. “With the long buying cycles in B2B, it is important to maintain strong connections with buyers throughout the customer lifecycle.”

While they recognize the benefits of personalization, 42% of these professionals said their marketing efforts are not fully personalized. More than a third (39%) said their current personalized marketing strategy is only somewhat sophisticated, and 15% said that their personalized marketing strategy is not sophisticated at all.

These personalization challenges may be attributed to technological competencies. Specifically, 60% said they are not using AI or machine learning to personalize their marketing efforts. Meanwhile, more than a fifth (21%) of the survey group said their company does not use data on existing customers to personalize content designed to increase sales to them.

Most respondents also noted the unique challenges of marketing personalization in B2B environments. More than half (54%) of respondents said it’s harder to get personalization right in B2B than in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.

Survey participants also shared their views about what to avoid in sales and marketing outreach and how personalized email makes them feel. Sixty-six percent of the group emphasized the importance of carefully reviewing emails, saying that typos sabotage the effectiveness of email outreach. Nearly a fourth (23%) suggested that organizations should avoid using the word “urgent” in their email outreach.

Personalized Marketing Platform Aims To Support ABM Strategies

Folloze also announced the launch of its Personalized Marketing Platform designed to help B2B marketers deliver relevant and contextual experiences across every stage of the customer lifecycle. Powered by data-driven machine learning and intelligence, the Folloze Personalized Marketing Platform aims to support ABM strategies by delivering one-to-one experiences that fuel top-line revenue while optimizing lifetime value and future growth.

Features of the platform include:

  • Content Intelligence Center: A recommendation, analytics and management service designed to engage customers at the right time with the most relevant and highest-performing content. To consistently optimize these content experiences, the platform uses AI-based self-learning from fellow marketing teams, data-tagging and matching rules.
  • Data Services: The platform combines multidimensional data from first- and third-party account data sources, including embedded firmographic, business context and intent, according to the announcement.
  • Personalization Studio: A drag-and-drop authoring environment that aims to help marketing teams quickly execute high-impact personalization campaigns at any scale.
  • Sales Activation: This feature is designed to help marketers create and execute highly targeted and personalized campaigns – across every stage of the customer lifecycle – for their sales counterparts.
  • Account Engagement Analytics: By scoring and measuring both account engagement and topics of interest, the application intends to deliver timely insights to sales and marketing teams and dynamically informs next steps for each unique customer journey.

“For every B2B company, data-driven account-based engagement represents the new table stakes for fueling long-term growth,” said David Brutman, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Folloze, in a statement. “Companies that fail to act will be at a significant competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. The Folloze Personalized Marketing Platform empowers revenue marketing teams to break free from the limitations of legacy systems that were designed for automating top-of-the-funnel demand generation activities. Through real-time and contextual personalization, Folloze makes it easy for marketers to scale their account-based marketing programs and build personalized customer journeys that drive the right action.”



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