Category: Digital

Query “What should you measure in your website analytics?” and you’ll net 190M search results. Pose the question to a dozen specialty web strategists and you will get a dozen different answers. The concepts of what a website can be are so fluid that your measurement approach could be tackled dozens of ways. Generally, these methods are neither completely wrong nor completely right, but you can achieve better results if clear on your website purpose.

The first question you need to ask yourself:  “Why do I have a website?”  Here are a few of the more common reasons for a website and Mansfield Inc.’s perspective on what you should be measuring for each

I want to sell physical things from my website.

If you have a website that is primarily an online store, user journey is the top thing to track. All the visitors in the world are meaningless if they never purchase. User drop off will be the first problem you will want to monitor and tackle as it may indicate users experiencing bottlenecks, which is a common cause to prohibiting the completion of sales. Tracking and identifying how far users get through the purchase process before dropping off can indicate that your products not being adopted by your audience or your site providing a poor user experience that they abandon the process. More importantly if you have a high drop off rate on product pages that don’t have inventory you have a successful product, but no products to sell. Those pieces of information can dictate your own vendor purchase agreements.

I want to sell services that I can invoice later.

For example, the gig economy has led to the explosion of services on demand, independents and entrepreneurs able to compete with large established companies for creative, marketing and consulting services. This type of website should include portfolios, case-studies and testimonials they believe represents their business. These sections of the website are the key drivers for website traffic, but page views alone are the not the main indicator of success.

For a successful portfolio website to work you must measure the amount of time on page. If users are generally skimming over the pieces presented on the site, they are not in line with their interests. However, if one page of your site is gaining a greater share of the time spent on site, it can indicate that that piece is more relevant or interesting to your audience. One solution is to move that more interesting content between the landing page and a call to action to sign up as a new customer and help convert passive scanning to lead generation.

I want to be a thought leader in a certain subject

Prior to the internet, people became thought leaders by publishing in books and journals that would lead to speaking engagements to grow their physical audience. Online publishing has not only greatly reduced the costs of sharing your ideas, but the lead time from concept to read content has dropped dramatically also. This content churn means that an optimized path to delivery and content topics is of the utmost importance.

To build out your website as a driver of content, some key metrics to track are pages per visitor and traffic from your newsletter. Treating your newsletter followers like an advertising campaign will allow you track which content is of interest to your current audience. Tracking the pages per visitor will give your perspective on whether all pieces of content are creating value for you or just a few select pages. Looking at which pages are getting the most views will help drive your content strategy in the right direction.

I want to sell a service that exists on my website

Understanding the difference between website and web application is critical. From a high level they both appear the same, both are viewed in a web browser and jumping between them is seamless with a good architecture. The big distinction is that web applications have processing done on a server level, driving information to a database and a code base that could be 20 times as big. A marketing website that supports these applications are used as landing pages or provide supporting documentation for new users.

A marketing website for a web application is useful to track inbound traffic to the application. Once you identify where the users are coming from you can target and remarket to turn them into customers. The most important metric to track is called the referrer source in the acquisition section of your analytics platform. These will be social media campaigns, organic search results or paid campaigns if you have implemented them.

Online business card

If none of the above apply to you, perhaps you are just using your website as your online business card. Business cards are primarily used to facilitate communications with you from someone you have shared the business card with. An online business card essentially shares that business card with the world.

The key indicator of this type of website being successful is contradictory to how many SEO campaigns work. If the user finds the contact information they need it will be automatically be considered a drop off as they will most likely leave the site after they send an email or call. If the find the information on the landing page, then the page will show an abnormally high bounce rate. These terms are typically seen as enemies to the website, but in the right circumstances they are key indicators of success.

Mansfield Inc understands the importance of tailoring analytics to the success of your website. We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach to website measurement, contact us to create a custom measurement plan that fits your needs.

Chief Financial Officers are always looking for the answer to “What is the Return on Investment?”.  Often with digital and social media it is tough to produce a robust solid response if you lack the architecture to measure.

Mansfield Inc. has developed a Digital Audit Program that evaluates digital presence, generates a report card, and outlines next steps aimed at improving website experience.

Why does your organization need a digital audit now?

If your digital strategist and developer team is constantly upgrading your website, you may feel that your organization is safe, and the technology is up to date. However, if you do have a large team working feverishly, are they just supporting your current clients? If so the conversions that they are tracking for success may not be the same as the conversions that you need to track for client growth. While client retention may lead to increased margins or repeat sales, to grow your business new client acquisition should be a cornerstone strategy.  Mansfield Inc’s Digital Audit can assess and determine how to extend impact to both nurture current clients and encourage new ones.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if your organization needs a digital report card:

  • What conversions are being used to determine if your website is defined as a success? If the answers are only from your marketing department, you are likely missing valuable input, and opportunities for other parts of your organization – impacting your bottom line.
  • Are you leveraging your website users to spread the brand message? If it takes more than one click for a user to share your messaging then you are losing out on unpaid advocates of your brand.
  • How often are you reporting website traffic analytics and how are the changes in user behavior being tracked? If your stats are being reviewed once a year, a quarter, a month, a week then they are out of date in that same time period. The time frame of your content strategies should be at least twice a long as your reporting period to see if they are working.
  • Are social shares optimized and displaying the content according to brand imagery and messaging? Social networks use the information in specialized tags to display links in their user’s feeds. If they are not optimized, your brand messaging could be out of line with what is being shared.
  • Do you trust the information coming out of your data analytics team is accurate and in line with industry standards? If your data team is responsible for the success of your website as well as reporting on the analytics, then there is a conflict of interest. Verification of those numbers and where they appear with respect to your industry peers are key indicators of website health.

Why engagement on social media isn’t enough.

 

Engagement and the measurement of engaged audiences on social media is a good way of building your brand’s audience, but these elements are only the first steps to a highly functional digital presence. A large, captive audience with nothing to convert them to clients is a lost opportunity. Appropriate architecture offers fact-based stats on the potency of your audience. This dataset will measure the visitors from social media to your website and their behavior as they browse content. Tracking conversions for successful content and user drop-offs for pieces that are not succeeding will offer you the data fueled evidence to help evolve the direction of your content and make you more successful.

Why all organizations need a robust website, not just digital companies.

 

Defining conversions are not just for income generating line items for the organization – they are cost saving strategies as well. In fact, a highly optimized website will also help to minimize overheads. For example, a Deloitte study regarding Talent Acquisition, new hire cost $4,000USD each. That spending was focused on the cost of recruitment agencies that accounted for 18% of the money spent to acquire each new hire.

 

With recent updates to the Google search algorithm that has placed open positions for companies on the search engine results page, with one click access to apply to those positions, search engine optimization will pay for itself. Web pages optimized for social media will allow for personal networking on LinkedIn to drive traffic back to your organization with the same techniques used by media companies.

 

 

Contact Mansfield Inc. to set up a digital audit so we can give you a report card on your website for back to school.

 

Is your social media content engaging enough? What about your website—is it equipped with the right tools to track leads or measure campaigns? Regularly analyzing how well your social media content is performing, where your website ranks and what your competitors are doing will help ensure your digital strategy is working for you.

What content matters to your business and how do you measure it?

Before you go running to Google Analytics or Facebook Insights, it’s important to know what to measure. Determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) actually matter to your business. B2Cs, for example, often care about engagement and brand awareness. This means measuring social engagement such as likes, shares and comments. B2Bs, on the other hand, put more weight on the clicks, conversions and website traffic coming from social channels.

Analyze the numbers on your website to see where your leads are coming from, when and how they convert and what types of content produce the greatest returns. From there, you can determine what to fine-tune for the best possible performance, and what to discard or modify. You should consider both quantitative and qualitative metrics.

Quantitative factors easier to measure, such as optimal time of day and character count. Qualitative factors are more abstract, like subject matter and sentiment, and can be more difficult to measure. Once you’ve established your KPIs, start with the analysis. Try to find out what times work best for posting your social content. Many social media tools automatically determine this for you, but you can also check manually. For example, look at the top-performing posts based on clicks, and see if you can identify peak engagement by days and hours.

What are your competitors doing?

The next step is to identify your competition and determine which platforms they use. Hopefully, you already have a good idea of your main competitors and their general strategy but with the right tools you can track what keywords they’re investing in, what percentage of the social conversation they claim and how engaging their content is. Identify the competitors with a robust digital marketing program, not only the ones in the same line of business as you.

If your company is looking to grow and gain a digital foothold in the marketplace, your social profiles and website must adapt over time. Evaluate whether your existing profiles are working, what your competitors are doing and whether your website is set up for optimal measurement. If your LinkedIn profile is getting lots of engagement, and your Twitter presence is an active conversation hub, you might not need to do much. But if any of your social accounts are starting to falter or your website is drifting lower in search rankings, it may be time to update your strategy.

Always Be Measuring!

Consistently measuring your social media content, website and competitors will enable you to determine what’s working, where you’re at in your industry in relation to your competition and discover the ways you can take advantage of the new tools in social media and digital communications.

Send us an email at info@mansfieldinc.com to talk about a digital consultation and find out where you’re at!

There is only so much sand in the hourglass and if you haven’t already figured out what your social media game plan is during a company crisis, please read on immediately.

In today’s age of communications having a social media crisis engagement strategy is critical to preserving your brand. Now more than ever, the public expects an immediate response on social media when a crisis hits. Every minute that passes by without a response is a slippery slope to disaster. According to a recent study on Hubspot 72 per cent of people who complain on Twitter expect a response within an hour. Moreover, 60 per cent of respondents in the survey felt negatively about the brand if they did not receive timely responses.

Here are a few steps to consider on how best to develop a minimal defence on social media when dealing with a crisis:

1. Social Media Monitoring

There are many different software platforms out there but if you do not have a full-time person involved in this process or a person who fully understands how to monitor and what alerts to establish you are far better off to engage the services of a firm that can manage this process for you. The cost of such a monitoring service can run you anywhere from $500+ per month depending on the size of your company. Though software platforms typically cost within this range, the advantage of having an agency manage this for your company is that you don’t carry the additional costs of an employee. At that rate, it makes much more economic sense to outsource.

 

2. Understanding the difference between and issue and a full-blown crisis

Having a clear understanding of the issue is your first step. You should develop a cascade of responses and protocol to ensure that you don’t escalate an issue like an ice cream spill in a retail store to a crisis like a bank robbery in progress.

Make sure the Crisis Communications Team (CCT) has assigned a senior member to be responsible for any communication approvals for rapid response requirements. It is very important that you don’t delay in responding to customer enquiries even if it means providing placeholder responses noting that you’re aware of the issues and you will get back to them promptly. If you have been in these turbulent waters before you understand how quickly a poorly managed issue can soon escalate into a crisis.

 

3. First Responders

Know what the program is once your issue has been detected. Every great crisis management plan has protocols and messaging created in advance. Everyone should know who is on the team and what previously crafted responses are ready to go or need to be quickly modified. Your social media responders have to be empowered with baseline responses and a priority sequence on response levels and messaging. Make sure you have a consistent message that can be adapted across all social media channels.

 

4. Get the message up

Do not waste time pursuing the perfect detailed response. Even if you do not have all the required details, at a bare minimum, you need to inform your audience. Tell them you are aware of the situation and expect to be addressing it more formally within the hour or whatever immediate timeframe possible. This conveys your understanding of the urgency and immediacy of the situation. Also, be sure to display the highest amount of empathy possible. Being abrupt and unsympathetic will only add fuel to the fire.

Make sure your team has a standing ‘if in doubt’ response so that no enquiry goes unanswered. Furthermore, once the correct, informed responses to your issue have been created, make sure your social media manager is able to respond expeditiously, and in the event of uncertainty, that the appropriate level of senior management is available to sign off on the post. Ultimately you will need to post an official response to a situation on your website which will be used by the media, blog writers and others who will be reporting on your issue.

 

5. Pause your scheduled posts

Nothing can be worse than seeing a light-hearted acknowledgement of an unrelated event magically appear during the heat of a crisis. Disable your scheduled posts immediately. Your customer base needs to know that your priority focus is on the issue at hand and nothing else.

 

6. Create a crisis FAQ web page

Having a web page that addresses the most frequent questions around the issue gives you the ability to link to answers more efficiently. Details of the occurrence, contacts at the crisis site, lists of products impacted, geographic regions in question, etc., should all be aggregated in one place that can be easily referenced and shared throughout your social media posts.

 

7. Engage

Once the message is up, make sure you immediately engage with your audience responses. Make sure that you are consistent with your messaging and responding in a polite and caring manner. If you have positive responses, make sure and thank those supporters immediately. There will be individuals that cannot be pleased no matter what the effort and you need to understand this going in.

One tactic you should consider in your response is offering to take the conversation ‘offline’. While you may get a few people accepting this offer, at the very least, you are indicating to the broader audience at large your willingness to address heated and repeated comments directly. Remember, if you are satisfying the majority you have preserved your brand and supporting community.

 

8. Internal Employees

Your employees need to be made immediately alert to any social media crisis response campaign. It is critical that company employees do not randomly respond or engage in conversations on social. This protocol should be addressed in your employee handbook to protect the company/brand from rogue engagement. Make sure that all employees are aware of the situation when it breaks and to refer to the section in their handbook for references regarding proper behaviour. Also, make sure you keep your employees up to date on all developments and conclusions as they are reached.

 

9. Document Everything

Make sure you create a log of engagement. Tweets, status updates, blogs, comments on social media—everything needs to be saved in a central repository for future references. Make sure copies of all your emails are recorded. Also, review your campaign. Understand what worked, did not work and your social media activity as it relates to the time series of the event. Review web site traffic patterns and understand where visitors were engaged. Reviewing what happened will only make your campaign stronger the next time it happens.

 

10. Continue to monitor

One of the most common mistakes to crisis management is thinking it’s over and having it rear its ugly head again four days later. Keep a close eye and adjust your monitoring to key in on higher influencers. As well, make sure you are monitoring key date milestones. In other words, expect that someone will trot out “it was one year ago today…” these are common occurrences, and you need to be prepared.

These are but a few ideas that should help you better prepare. Until your next crisis…
HM

Since its adoption by brands and business, social media has evolved beyond a broadcast platform to a tool that enables you to gather insights about your customers, industry, products and competitors. With the right tools, a social listening strategy can help you earn valuable business intelligence by tracking, analyzing and responding to targeted conversations and keywords.

If you think of the information you can gain from market research, you can implement the same approach to learn from people on social who are already engaging with your brand and your industry. If you approach social media as a giant focus group, ask yourself as a brand, “what problems are you trying to solve, and what data do you need to solve it?”

We can define social listening as the act of monitoring social media platforms for conversation around your brand, clients, competitors, keywords and any other ideas or themes that are relevant to your business. The next step is where we find the real value of social listening: analyzing the information for actionable insights. Those actions can enable you to engage customers, determine consumer behaviour models or shift your overall product or brand positioning strategy.

Social listening is different from social media monitoring by looking beyond social metrics like engagement rate, mentions and followers to learning what the feelings are behind the posts—how people actually feel about you, your competitors and the industry overall.

Make it part of your business strategy

Social media listening should automatically be part of your business strategy—even if you’re already engaging in market research studies, social listening will provide you with scores of actionable data from real people who are actively discussing the subjects you’re monitoring. Last month, Mansfield attended a seminar in Toronto from NetBase, a leading social listening platform. Guest speaker Ravi Imam from 113 Industries spoke about “finding David in your data.” Michelangelo’s David was sculpted from a single block of discarded marble, and just as Michelangelo saw something beautiful in an unwanted piece of marble, there could be a masterpiece waiting in your data—it’s just a question of listening to what it’s telling you and taking action.

 

There's a 'David' in your data somewhere

There’s a ‘David’ in your data somewhere

On their blog, Hootsuite has a useful list of what to track when starting your social listening monitors:

  • Your brand name and handles
  • Your product names
  • Industry buzzwords
  • Campaign names or keywords
  • Your competitors’ brand names, product names, and handles

Because your social listening monitors will pick up what people are you saying about you and your competitors, you’ll be able to determine how your brand fits within the industry, relative to customer perspectives. You’ll see the types of content your audiences are most engaged with and higher level insights around customer behaviour.

With a properly implemented social listening strategy, you will gain a deeper understanding of your brand and industry with insights on how to improve in all areas of your business. Sales teams will learn more about how customers really feel about products and services, marketing personnel will see what content is most valuable to audiences and R&D teams will have direct access to real-time customer perspectives on your products those of your competitors.

With the right tools and keywords, you’ll have the infrastructure in place to mold a David of your own. Read through Mansfield’s entire digital offering here and let us know when you’re ready to put social listening to work for your band. 

 

Welcome to another Mansfield Thought Leadership post. Our posts our designed to help the C-Suite with Public Relations and Social Media Management.

Should your company’s C-Suite executives be using social media? Even if they should be, chances are they’re not—according to research published in 2016 from CEO.com and Domo, 60 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.

Whether or not the company brass should be publicly active on social networks depends largely on who they are as a person and how they want to be perceived within the company and the industry. Do they want to appear more relatable and connect more genuinely with employees and colleagues? Conversely, executives may harm the brand if their social media is done poorly. Just look at United Airline’s Oscar Munoz’ response to the controversy around their forced removal of a passenger earlier this year.

To give you an idea of the pros and the cons, we broke down the simple reasons for and against your company’s leaders engaging on social media.

 

pexels-photo-219003

Reasons for getting your company leaders on social:

• Shaping brand views: any executives on social media will serve as an extension of the company and their social media posts coming from the top will support the larger marketing activities. This can help the brand appear more accessible to a larger audience.

• Being approachable to employees: any efforts to be more accessible to outside audiences are applicable within the company itself. When employees are engaged on social media with their leaders they’re likely more satisfied in their job which will lead to less turnover.

• Improving relationships with customers and stakeholders: active execs help show the public and future customers how much the organization values customer experience. CEOs engaging with real people on social media can enhance brand opinions and loyalty.

• Talent recruitment: being adept on social emphasizes a CEO’s know-how with technology. Organizations searching for recruits who are invested in tech-friendly companies may value a CEO who keeps a strong social media presence.

• Keeping abreast of company or industry issues: social media allows CEOs to proactively monitor and participate in the relevant discussions that arise in regards to their company or industry. This can help company leadership react quickly to key industry developments.

On the other side, basic arguments against CEOs embracing social include:

• It may be too time consuming: sometimes time is a CEO’s most valuable commodity and forcing social media on them can take their attention away from more relevant pieces of business.

• It could be inauthentic: it’s not uncommon for executives to let their PR or communications teams run their accounts. While they’re most likely approving the posts, the words may not feel genuine which largely defeats the purpose of a personal social media account.

• The risk factor: if they are running their own accounts, giving a CEO free rein of their can be risky if they’re known for contentious or provocative commentary.

• It could harm internal productivity: if company leadership is seen as proactively social it may encourage employees to spend more time than necessary socializing online leading to decreased productivity.

However, if your company execs see the value in social media, launching them on it is a multi-step process. Approach it like any other social media campaign—establish goals and objectives, set benchmarks and most importantly, figure out the personality they want to project to the world.

Above all the brand humanizing, thought leadership and company updates from the top, their personal brands should shine through on whatever they put out.

If you need help navigating the Social Media landscape, we can work with you in confidence to improve your online presence.

Welcome to another blog post on Influencer Marketing. Be sure to check out our other posts in this series.

Are you one of the 84% of marketers that said they were planning on launching an influencer campaign in 2016? Were you one of the 81% that said that influencer marketing was effective? If you are not one of the aforementioned but you’re planning your first influencer campaign, is your website ready for it? It might be the last thing on your mind after searching the social channels for the voice that best fits your brand and putting the final touches on the creative, but your calls to action have to lead somewhere, and that somewhere is your website.

Hardware: Load Balanced or Cloud Based?

Hopefully all your homework and research pays off, you have the quiet little influencer that has a ravenous following. The campaign goes out and you start to worry when you can’t access your website at the same time that your influencer’s tens of thousands followers do. You are caught in the worst situation possible, your web server that runs your website is overrun with request and you can’t get it to load.

This isn’t a new issue, when email marketing was in it’s early days, an email deployment without a staggered delivery schedule would suck your hardware resources dry. Today the same is with influencers once they share their link in their social channel, it hits everyone at the same time. Sure there are longtail stats for the content that gets revisited, but if you want to stay relevant, make sure you content is ready to go live and expand on demand.

Content: Deep Linked or Hide and Seek?

So you have the influencer, you have the hardware, now where are you going to send the users that want to give you money? If your site has gone through a user experience (UX) audit and had a face lift on your chassis, you may have missed one important feature, the deep link to your content.

If you don’t understand the concept of a deep link I try to explain it best like this: if you need to describe to someone over email how to sign up for a service, order a product or reserve a table using more than a URL, you’re going to lose conversions. Javascript has created the ability to float overlays on your content for conversions for those who are just browsing, but if you’re only using that technology to send people to you’re going to have drop off.

Conversions: Calls to Action or Bounce Rate Bait?

If people have made the decision to click through from your influencer, you need to believe they are just as excited to pay or reserve as you hoped your influencer would make them. Always be closing was from the Glengarry Glenn Ross, you have the leads, they have come to you. Make sure your information architecture is set up so you can close with as little effort as possible from the user. One of the first things that your new users should see is an unobtrusive, yet obvious way to let them convert at the click of a link. If you are driving them to take part in your content strategy, have a link to convert when they are done reading it. If your stats are showing that the average video watch time is much less than the total play time, capture them before they disappear and add to your bounce rate.

Analytics: Analyze This or Analyze What?

If I were to make a movie about influencer marketing, my ABC would be “Always Be Checking”. Don’t rely on just one source of your metrics, especially if that only source is your influencer. They can report out of Twitter Analytics and Facebook Insights about the clicks from their audience to your site, but are you set up with Google Analytics or your social server to see what your audience is doing after they get to your site? High rates of click throughs from your influencer that don’t correspond to your site’s analytics could be the first indication that your influencer isn’t as authentic as you’d like.

At Mansfield, we don’t want to be the all or nothing agency, we want to do they best for your brand. Our results are data driven, but if you need an audit on your site before you launch your campaign contact us. We are more than willing to help out with one part or all parts of your influencer campaign.

Welcome to another entry in our Tips & Tricks series. In this post we will be cover tips to help with your digital services.

Every year during the weekend prior to Labour Day, Canada’s largest, and North America’s third largest, pop culture event takes over downtown Toronto. If you are unexpectedly caught in the horde, sometimes literal horde depending on the cosplay, you might think that Toronto has been taken over.

At its heart, FanExpo, which covers nearly every square foot of the north and south buildings of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, combines comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming (video and otherwise).

The event attracts more than 120,000 people. They come to shop for artisan jewelry, original pieces of art for all the genres, collectibles of every form. They come to meet the comic book artists that inspired them. Most of all they come for the celebrities. Autographs of Hollywood celebrity or the sci-fi elites are extremely popular. Between $40 and $100 means about a minute of time while talent pen their names. Want a photo? That will be another $100, more for group shoots. The thousands of dollars an hour celebrities earn is nothing compared to the earned media that brands generate.

This year, Cards Against Humanity who are famous for their Black Friday “deals” had people lined up and taking photos of their booth titled “Apologies from Americans” while other attendees snapped shots of those in the line-up. The upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok featured actor costumes in front of a movie poster wall, which drew the attention of fans who captured the image and shared it. The upcoming TV show of Star Trek: Discovery gave fans the chance to play “phaser Tag” while other shared photos of a wall well-branded with the show’s logo.

Competing for each and every dollar are the independent artists as they hustle to position themselves as the next hot property, but these new talents lack the big budgets of the established players.

Here are four tips for low-budget hustle tactics used by the independents.

1. Know your audience, and know what they like. Artists recognized how popular the video game Overwatch is and recognized how loyal their fans are. When the lone voice actor, Charlet Chung from the game with 30 million players came to sign autographs, artists created prints for her to sign. A majority of artists promoting their own original art also featured many renditions of the popular Overwatch character D.Va. The booths that had prints had line ups of fans eager to buy which drew in potential fans for their original material.

2. Be everywhere. Most brands social media extends to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Independents need to be everywhere and their business cards prove it. The majority had at least five to to 10 social network icons highlighted: Google+, YouTube, Twitch, Tumblr, Behance, Pinterest, Dribble, DeviantArt and Patreon on top of the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

3. Employ a three step approach to acquisition: interest, entice, engage. The real hustle of the art occurs when artists start selling themselves. They have a few square feet to claim as their own, and they lay it all bare to the world, that is step one, gain interest. Once they have a moment of attention they entice. They know they are surrounded by passionate fans, they quickly identify their realm of fandom and sell directly to it and they do it hundreds of times per hour. Thirdly they engage with the soft sell, offering package deals or simply handing out their business card. These artists sell on all platforms and realize that physical sales are not the only source of income.

4. Be the source. Artists don’t only sell art, they sell knowledge and experience. Patreon has made it easier for artists to receive a monthly income from people that appreciate their art as well as share how they make it. YouTube and Twitch partners share revenue with the content creators that populate their networks.

Keep these tips in mind if you’re an artist or even an established brand. If you would like any help with your digital presence, ask us how we can help you.

Welcome to another of our “Best Of” series. If you would like to be notified when our articles go live, please send us an email and we’ll add you to our mailing list.

School is now in session and yes, marketing for 2017’s back-to-school season began earlier than ever this year—campaigns from Office Depot and Lands’ End started as early as mid-June before many students even finished their final exams. Compared with 2016, back-to-school TV commercials did not begin airing until mid-July. While marketers are pushing their brands, products and tech earlier and earlier each year, we get even more time to analyze the effectiveness of each campaign.

Here are four notable campaigns from this year’s back-to-school season, plus one classic ad that’s always relevant.

IKEA

Using YouTube influencers and Snapchat to reach their target audience, the furniture brand enlisted pop music/web comedy stars Superfruit to promote their college dorm products through interactive videos. With Superfruit hosting, the ads utilize Snapchat’s vertical-video ads that let users to “swipe up” to play clips and answer quiz questions around their home décor tastes to find the right IKEA products for them. Once you’ve completed the quiz, you can then click through to IKEA’s website to buy the products featured in the video.

By using influencers to reach their target audiences on a medium they regularly interact on, IKEA created a targeted, engaging and interactive campaign that puts their products top-of-mind for the people most interested in them.

 

HP

Hewlett-Packard is attempting some serious appeals to our emotions in this tear-jerking ad based around an evolving parent-child relationship and the transition into adolescence. The product it’s actually advertising, the Sprocket Photo Printer, takes a backseat in the narrative while playing an important role within it.

The ad tells a relatable story for parents and kids and gives everyone else a subtle reminder that there’s a nifty cell phone-sized printer to make the moments you capture even more memorable.

Gap

Gap has produced a series of ads for Gap Kids with their “Forward with” theme running throughout. The campaign features four short films that each showcase a different life skill for children to adopt. This spot, entitled “Forward with Kindness”, centres around a reading of Raquel Jaramillo’s book, Wonder (that features a boy born with facial defects who helps his community learn about kindness), to demonstrate “the world wants to be kind.”

This ad is also features a racially diverse group of children including some with facial differences to drive home a message of inclusiveness and acceptance to kids returning to school.

 

Marks and Spencer

This ad for the British multinational retailer is narrated by a seemingly nervous schoolboy walking into his first day of class. Internally, he confronts the highs and lows of his upcoming school semester in an understated and thoughtful message of self-confidence.

Like Gap’s ad, this commercial does not overtly promote any one particular product but makes use of the brand’s status as a household name to instil feelings of encouragement and self-assurance in viewers.

 

Bonus ad: Staples

This 1996 Staples commercial is a classic, featuring parents skipping down the aisles singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” in anticipation of their kids returning to school, while they follow sluggishly behind with hanging heads.

Staples has used at least five various iterations of this popular campaign throughout the years, with the most recent version running in 2013.

It’s the job of destination marketers to come up with new and creative ways to attract visitors to cities, countries or regions but how can you encourage people to share their experiences and advocate for your destination once they’re there?

Interactive landmarks such as 3D signs or placemaking campaigns centred around immersive engagement are effective ways to capitalize on digital marketing—tourists are naturally compelled to share photos of themselves to mark their experiences and as a result, become consumer-to-consumer marketers with every upload, tweet or share. This demonstrates an understanding of the importance of user-generated content in destination marketing and how destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are using digitally-connected visitors to their advantage to shape the destination brand.

Here is our list of notable destination-based installations and campaigns around the world and the impact they’ve created in consumer-to-consumer marketing:

 

I amsterdam

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The I amsterdam letters in Museumplein

 

The I amsterdam sign was installed as part of the city’s I amsterdam rebranding campaign in 2005 but quickly evolved beyond its origins into something bigger—the sign is now recognized as the inspiration to city-marking installations in places such as LyonBudapestGuadalajara and Cleveland. This 3D sign is now one of the city’s most popular landmarks and has grown into four iterations—two are permanent (one in Museumplein and the other at Schiphol Airport) and the other two “playfully change locations around the city“.

In Eye for Travel, David Hornstein calls the sign Amsterdam’s most photographed item, estimating it is shot 8000 times per day during sunny weather.

 

#MTLMOMENTS

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A #MTLMOMENTS frame atop Mont Royal in Montreal

 

Advertising agency Sid Lee was hired to promote Montréal as a destination to travellers in 2013 and launched the #MTLMOMENTS campaign in May of that year. To engage people in the hashtag, large photo frames were installed in strategic locations around the city that were designed to capture every day moments experienced by Montréalers and visitors. This initiative was designed for user-generated content with simple, accessible installations made to coax people into sharing their favourite Montréal destinations and activities in a new light.

Around 350,000 #MTLMOMENTS have been shared via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, web traffic increased by 22 per cent and Tourisme Montréal’s YouTube channel recorded nearly 2 million hits.

 

The Brisbane Letters

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The Brisbane letters in its permanent home on the banks of the Brisbane River

 

Brisbane’s sign was built as a temporary installation along the Brisbane River to mark the 2014 G20 Brisbane summit but its popularity among Brisbanites and visitors enabled the city council to make it permanent—Brisbane’s Mayor Graham Quirk called it “the people’s sign” and saw tens of of thousands of people taking photos with it during its initial run. However, when it was first installed, people were forced into the road in order to fit the entire sign in photographs so city planners moved it further down the river when the permanent version was made.

Designed to showcase the diversity of Brisbane, officials saw opportunities beyond its effectiveness as a destination marketing tool and chose to involve the community in designing the permanent sign—letters were decorated by local groups including the Queensland Country Women’s Association, Amnesty International and the Multicap Association.

 

 

The 3D TORONTO Sign

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The 3D TORONTO sign illuminated at night in Nathan Phillips Square

Known officially as the 3D TORONTO sign, this installation in Nathan Phillips Square outside Toronto City Hall was built as a temporary attraction for the 2015 Pan Am Games but the city opted to leave it as a permanent attraction after witnessing the engagement it garnered. At three metres tall by 22 metres long, the LED lights can create an estimated 228 million colour combinations, approximately equal to that of what the human eye can sense. You can even submit a lighting request to the City of Toronto to bring awareness for local not-for-profit and charitable causes or festivals.

In 2016, CityNews estimated it’s served as a backdrop for 120 million posts on social media with the hashtag #share3DTO.

 

The 1888 Hotel

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A selfie uploaded from Sydney’s Instagram-ready 1888 Hotel

Relying on user-generated content as a marketing tool has made its way into the private sector as well. When Sydney, Australia’s Hotel Ovolo opened in 2013 (now Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbour), it marketed itself as the world’s first Instagram Hotel, offering complimentary stays for guests with more than 10,000 followers on the platform and a free night’s stay to the uploader of the month’s most creative shot. There was also a selfie wall in the lobby with screens throughout showing a stream of auto-updated with the #1888hotel hashtag.

All of these campaigns and initiatives come down to your brand and media hits so when it’s time to rebrand your organization,  engage the media or revamp your social media Mansfield is ready to deliver, and contact us at info@mansfieldinc.com to hear about our destination marketing campaigns.