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Good morning, Marketers, and is there room for any more content?
That’s one question that occurred to me as I reflected on my conversation with HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar (see below). It goes without saying that more digital content is created every minute than one could consume in a lifetime. Fortunately one doesn’t want to consume most of it.
My anxiety stems from the sense that there’s more essential content created every minute than I can consume. The multiplication of podcasts, discussion forums, Clubhouse chats just around the subjects of marketing technology and operations is mind-boggling.
Not that HubSpot’s noticeably growing media business doesn’t make sense as a way to engage with an audience that doesn’t pay attention to ads anymore. Will software companies take over the media world? I doubt it. There’s still room for independence. Speaking of which, here’s hoping you had a great Independence Day break.
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HubSpot: Building community through content
“The subscription software business model is really a great business model,” said HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar. “You’ve got predictable revenue, you’ve got great gross margins — the biggest challenge is just distribution of the product. How do you get it out there, how do you make people aware of it?”
The traditional marketing model of heavy advertising plus some blog posts won’t work anymore, he said. “We’re going to have to be where people are at all times.” That’s the rationale for some of the moves HubSpot has made this year, like acquiring the media brand The Hustle, with its hugely popular newsletter, in February, and launching the HubSpot Podcast Network in May.
Bodnar was keen to explain that these initiatives form part of a broader strategy to invest in solid content across a range of channels. The benefit to HubSpot? “If you think of a traditional media organization, they’ve got a business side running ad sales and all the operations around that. We do the same thing, but we’re our only customer. We still have ad operations, but there’s one advertiser and that’s us.”
HubSpot user and host of the Ops Cast podcast (not on the HubSpot network) Mike Rizzo told us: “I think HubSpot creating a media arm to continue building original content is a natural evolution of their inbound marketing methodology,” commented Rizzo. “They literally wrote the book on creating valuable content to drive brand awareness.”
Read more here.
Sprout Social taps into social commerce with Shopify and Facebook Shops integrations
Cloud-based social media software provider Sprout Social announced new integrations with Shopify and Facebook Shops, two of the biggest players in social commerce. The social commerce space, which allows consumers to buy directly within a social platform, is estimated to be upwards of $36 billion in the U.S. alone and expected to balloon globally to nearly $2 trillion by 2026.
Sprout Social’s new integrations with Shopify and Facebook Shops support customer experience, including customer service, with personalized messaging throughout the purchase cycle. Of course, the social commerce gold comes with a shortened buy cycle, because users don’t have to click or swipe to get to another screen to purchase.
Retailers and other Sprout Social customers will be able to link product catalogs and historical customer data into the social media experience so that the interactions are seamless with customers when they are already discovering products and shopping on social. Marketers will also be able to respond more effectively to customer service requests that come through social channels.
Why we care: Social commerce is a category that is only going to grow. Customers are discovering products through sponsored posts on social platforms and social ad campaigns, and it makes no sense to drive them from social -— where they want to be -— to a website to complete the purchase.
Considering that at the beginning of the year YouTube launched a pilot program with influencers that featured an in-video shopping bag icon, it’s not a stretch for marketers to begin thinking of their social media strategy as part of their overall e-commerce attack.
Pinterest is the first platform to prohibit all weight loss ads
Last week Pinterest officially banned ads with weight loss imagery and language. “According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), there’s been a steep rise in unhealthy eating habits and eating disorders in young people since the COVID-19 pandemic started last year,” the company wrote in the announcement.
As many youths use Pinterest to plan their summers, this move helps them focus on summer fun. Almost 75% of Pinterest users are women and 32% are 18-29 years old, according to data from Statista. This makes Pinterest the first major social media platform to ban weight loss ads, an expansion of previous policies that prohibited body shaming and dangerous weight loss claims.
The expanded ad ban means the following are now also prohibited:
Any weight loss language or imagery; Any testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products; Any language or imagery that idealizes or denigrates certain body types; Referencing Body Mass Index (BMI) or similar indexes; and Any products that claim weight loss through something worn or applied to the skin
Ads that promote fitness services, healthy habits, and healthy lifestyles will NOT be a part of this ban as long as the focus of the ad is not weight loss.
Why we care. Many businesses have yet to tap the power of Pinterest for their own marketing. However, 82% of active users on Pinterest say they’ve been influenced to buy products based on the brand’s content on the platform. Pinterest has been expanding its ads options recently and is providing more tools for creators and influencers. This ad ban is another opportunity they’ve taken to protect their community and listen to their target market.
Employee experience impacts customer experience
A survey of more than 1,000 employees across the U.S., conducted by Ipsos for women-owned management consultancy Eagle Hill Consulting, found that 64% believed employee experience directly impacts their ability to provide a good experience for customers. Less than half thought their workplace focused on employee experience and satisfaction.
Among the top-ranked elements of employee experience were work-life balance, purposeful work and productive work. While 67% agreed that technology helped them provide a better customer experience, 22% found it an obstacle, and 35% said it could be frustrating.
Why we care. Brands today compete on customer experience as much as product and price. Customer experience ranges from brand experience, through all forms of engagement with marketing and sales, to customer service or success.
The message from this survey is that while making customer experience a priority, and investing in the tech to support it, are smart moves, the employee interacting with the customer needs to be happy for the customer to be happy too.
Quote of the day
“I will die on the hill of marketing operations not being an IT organization. We are not IT. Our job isn’t to ‘just do.’ Our job is to look for opportunities to make marketers successful while protecting the larger organization’s interests (think security, compliance).” Sara McNamara, Marketing Operations, Slack
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