## Monday Optimization w/ @ameliashowalter and Wednesday Content Marketing w/ @saralingafelter

On Monday, we will be talking  to Amelia Showalter (@ameliashowalter) about A/B Testing and optimization. Like I’ve said many times already, one of the greatest strengths of digital marketing in relation to “traditional” marketing is our ability to take the guesswork out of decisions by testing strategies on some small subset of our database and then taking our p < .05 results to our population at large. It’s nice that we already are now experts in Google Analytics, since that can be used to figure out which variant is more successful at the KPIs we care about most.

But first things first, “What is A/B Testing?” Here is a quick guide from Optimizely that will explain it very basically and here is an academic journal article from a couple of folks from Microsoft (local company, based in Redmond) that gives some good background an introduces the HiPPO.

If you learn nothing else from this day make sure you understand why going with the HiPPO sucks and how A/B testing helps you avoid this awful fate.

Back to Amelia. We’ve had some classy guest speakers come through our digital doors, but Amelia is the first one to be featured in Elle Magazine.  Read this article from Businessweek and this one from TechPresident about the work Amelia and her team did for the Obama 2012 campaign and for your blog, write about what A/B testing is, what businesses can and cannot learn from the work that Amelia and her colleagues did on the campaign, and what other businesses out there are doing optimization well.

For Wednesday, we’re talking to Sara Lingafelter of POSSIBLE a global digital marketing agency, that happens to have an office in Seattle. (On the LinkedIn profile that I linked to there for her there is a Slideshare of a presentation she did entitled “What is the ROI of Kittens?”) Sara is a WWU alumna, and she used to be a Research Assistant for TJ Olney.

We have talked a little bit about content on Wednesday, but we’re going to go into more depth about how to create it, why you should create it and what are the trends to be looking out for in 2015.

First, read this blog post from earlier this year about what makes a successful content strategy. Also, check out these two lessons from HubSpot Academy (you may need to register for HubSpot, but it’s free.) http://academy.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing-certification/attract/blogging and here. (Each lesson is about 45 minutes long. Consider yourself warned.) These will help you both understand how and why you should do content marketing as well as help you write better blog posts. Additionally, here is a report on Content Marketing Trends for 2015 by friend of DigiMark @kanejamison. He runs an awesome Content Marketing agency called @contentharmony. You’ll notice from the report that their offices are across the street from CenturyLink Field. He’s a cool guy.

When we talk to Sara, she’s going to take us through a content campaign that POSSIBLE but together for Microsoft (local company, based in Redmond) for MS Office OneNote. This is from an email she sent me:

The goal:  Reach millennial college students to create a brand perception that Office OneNote enables collaboration and innovation.

(The subtext:  Most of us have a brand perception that inextricably links Microsoft Office with The Office (our work desk, our to do list, all sorts of things that we don’t want to think about at home).  Students don’t yet have this perception, so we wanted to catch them before they developed that association, and instill a more positive brand association / brand belief.)

About the campaign:

http://blogs.office.com/2015/03/12/students-discover-the-power-of-the-collective-through-onenote/

Campaign landing page (on Tumblr):

http://office.tumblr.com/

In addition to developing a ton of content, supported by an extensive paid media strategy, we developed an influencer strategy that leveraged content creators who had existing communities to share our story with, and those are audiences we never would have been able to reach as a brand.  Examples:

Zach King, a Vine influencer:  https://vine.co/v/Ox2HtwvIHx2

Zach’s content has received over 4 million loops on Vine alone… including an appearance on The View where they tweeted out the Vine URL.  

Amplification by Robert Downey Jr (organic – this wasn’t a paid partnership):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEx5lmbCKtY

The RDJ amplification reached over 50 million people, both through organic social and press (the story landed in CNN, NY Times, The Guardian, on Mashable, in AdWeek, on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and more … and many more high-profile news sources.  The cost of buying that engagement with the media would have equaled more than $6.5 million.  

Hannah Hart, a YouTube influencer:

https://twitter.com/harto/status/580435940344258560

Call to action around #igiveabook lead to an enormous upswell of audience activity … you can see the conversation around the hashtag here:

https://tagboard.com/igiveabook/search

Lead to user-generated-content that achieved another 2,600+ instances of engagement on Tumblr:  (the brand didn’t even make this content — the audience made it, and then it achieved high virality)

http://thatsgrace.tumblr.com/post/114518164984/igiveabook

Check out the stuff they did. We’ll discuss it with her during our Hangout. (That said, one of their clients is Skype, so we may have to use it instead.)

Speaking of the Hangouts, please come to class with questions in mind that you want to ask the speakers. These are really excellent opportunities to talk to experienced professionals. Happy Contentening!

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