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Picks of the Week: April 2-8, 2011

As YouTube sensation, Rebecca Black would say, "It's Friday, Friday, Friday..."

And, with that, we bring to you our marketing picks of the week. The roundup includes: tips on designing your site for mobile, B2B social media marketing, PR professionals' use of social media, taking a strategic approach to content marketing, and the need to transform the marketing services industry.

Web Design & Mobile Marketing

7 Web UI Mistakes to Avoid for Smartphones and Tablets

It’s important for modern marketers to understand, at the very least, the basics of website design and user experience. Your company’s website is the online hub that ties all campaigns and activities together, and ensuring that it guides visitors through an educational path or buying cycle is imperative.

In this article, Neil McCallister shares seven common user interface errors that cripple website usability when accessed by mobile device (iPad, smartphone, etc.), such as:

  • Using rollover/hover functionality
  • Having too many scrollable areas
  • Preloading too many images
  • Using Flash

For details on these, and the other three design mistakes to avoid, see the complete article.

B2B Social Media Marketing

How Can B2B Marketing Become More Social?

Some B2B marketers tend to focus on distributing content to customers rather than engaging with them. Lee Odden of TopRank offers strategic recommendations for two-way social media communication, which can grow and scale your return.

  • Decide What You Stand For — Organize a strategy that clearly identifies your goals, customer personas, and content and keyword plans to define key messages and how you will communicate them to your audience. Find out where your customers spend their time, and create, share and participate in these areas.
  • Plan to Win — Figure out what to do after you get your feet in the water, and what resources you’ll need to make waves. Forecast and allocate resources — including people, technology and money. Don’t look at social media marketing as an experiment, but as a significant marketing channel with a long-term investment.

Social Media & PR

How PR People are Destroying Social Media

In this Search Engine Journal article, Brian Carter explains that a certain type of PR person (which he refers to as the “Ignorant Opportunist”) is having a negative impact on social media. These individuals lack the marketing, customer service, sales and analytics knowledge to truly be successful, measure performance and adjust strategies.

Carter explains that for social media to work well for PR professionals — or whoever else assumes ownership of this function — new skill sets and strategies must be assumed. He advises that all social media coordinators should be familiar with the following:

  • Sales processes and priorities
  • Marketing processes and priorities
  • Customer service processes and priorities
  • Web analytics and business metrics
  • Conversion funnels and optimization
  • Business basics – goals and priorities, measurement, etc.

On the flip side: For examples of how PR professionals are using social media effectively, see Leyl Master Black’s Mashable post, Top 5 Innovative Ways PR Pros are Using Social Media. In it, she offers suggestions for tapping into breaking news, connecting with freelancers, creating proprietary influencer networks, connecting with media at events, and integrating online and offline strategies.

Content Marketing

Working with Marketing Content Writers

In this post, Ardath Albee writes about taking a strategic approach to content and ensuring quality deliverables ­­­­— valuable whether you’re producing the content, or passing an assignment to a colleague or freelancer.

Essential to ensuring quality content, and enough of it, is providing strategic groundwork for success, including:

  • Set deadlines for outline, drafts, revisions and final piece.
  • Discuss ownership rights and byline details for the final content.
  • Determine pricing and additional fees upfront.
  • Show need for the content and how it fits into a bigger picture, overall goals and objectives.
  • Determine the target audience, their pain points, and how to refer to them.
  • Identify quality sources to use for research, and reference materials to use for background.

Albee also shares suggestions for executing copywriting, such as: use an active voice; consistent tone; ideation from research (rather than reference materials used verbatim); and review and edit drafts before turning them in.

For more on content marketing strategy, see Geoff Livingston’s Why Content Marketing Fails.

Marketing Agencies

5 Reasons Why You Should Transform Your Marketing Agency — NOW

In this article, Pete Caputa from HubSpot discusses the need for marketing agencies to transform themselves in order to stay afloat and competitive in the business. In a 2010 survey, HubSpot found that agencies are struggling with variable cash flow, a lack of new leads, difficulty signing new clients and few sources of recurring revenue. 

Clearly, the traditional marketing agency model is broken. Caputa offers four tips on how to evolve your agency and better serve your clients:

  • Stop writing pitches and proposals, and work toward resolving the business challenges your clients will pay you to fix.
  • Deliver the right services, at the right time, for the right client. 
  • Move away from project-based work and toward a retainer model that delivers ongoing value. 
  • Don't reinvent the wheel for every client. Look to create reliable marketing processes that can be customized.

For PR 20/20 president Paul Roetzer’s thoughts on the topic, see his post, Rise of the Inbound Marketing Agency.

Marketing News

Epsilon Data Breach Shows New “Spear-Phishing” Risk

In what may become one of the biggest data breaches ever, hackers aquired tens of millions of email addresses after gaining access to online marketer, Epsilon's databases. This puts customers and employees of about 50 companies, including major banks, hotels and retailers, at risk for spear-phishing attacks, and has far-reaching implications for Internet security as a whole.

Bookmark of the Week

It’s Time to Transform Your Marketing [SLIDESHOW]

Jam-packed with statistics on Internet use and online behaviors, this HubSpot slideshow details the transformation to inbound marketing and is definitely worth a bookmark for future reference. 

What were your top stories of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

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