45 of the Best Business and Marketing Posts from Second Half of 2012

Social business and digital marketing is an ever-changing space that is tough to keep up with. I read a ton and do my best. And this summer I started saving some of my favorite and most interesting posts and shipping them to colleagues and friends in an effort to keep them abreast of best practices, changes in the space and other things that I hoped would help increase their knowledge and incrementally improve our (and their) social business efforts.

I’ve curated many of those posts below for readers of this blog. I hope you’ll find them useful in your own business endeavors, especially as you plan for 2013.

Please use the comments section to recommend/share other posts you found useful and/or your best post from 2012.

Social Business

The Definition of Social Business – (Peter Kim)

Social business draws on trends in technology (e.g., powerful mobile devices, widespread availability of high-speed Internet access, low cost of data storage), work (e.g., always-on culture, globalization), and society (e.g., propensity to share). Social business stands for what companies need to become—not a description of an incremental feature or business function.

A Roadmap for Brands for Combining Paid, Owned, and Earned Media – (Shell Holtz)

The fact remains that your advertising department can’t launch a standalone campaign without considering the digital and social implications; they’ll converge, whether you planned it or not. The silos in which communication functions are cloistered present all manner of obstacles to convergence, according to the report. Each department has its own perspectives on social. Each department is working toward departmental objectives, which are often in conflict with their communication cousins on another floor. Not many companies maintain any kind of superstructure that binds the various communication departments with a unifying strategy.

Three Social Business Mega-trends for Brand Marketers in 2013 – (John Bell)

This is a good read that discusses content marketing, community management and big data. It offers examples from Intel, Coke and others who are leveraging “content factories” successfully. It also covers challenges like turning data from monitoring vendors into actionable insights and business advantages.

How Social Intelligence Can Guide Decisions – (McKinsey&Company)

“Today, many people who have expert knowledge and shape perceptions about markets are freely exchanging data and viewpoints through social platforms. By identifying and engaging these players, employing potent Web-focused analytics to draw strategic meaning from social-media data, and channeling this information to people within the organization who need and want it, companies can develop a “social intelligence” that is forward looking, global in scope, and capable of playing out in real time.”


3 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes Everyone is Making – (Jason Keath)

Facebook ads are a very powerful tool, but for many Facebook marketers we are having to learn how to create good Facebook ads by creating a few bad Facebook ads first. But there are plenty of best practices and lessons to take note of to help improve that learning curve a bit.

Mobile Facebook Ads Generate 13x More Clicks than Desktop Ads – (Pamela Vaughan)

According to new data from 3 of Facebook’s biggest ads API partners (who help companies purchase ads) mobile Sponsored Stories are generating more than 13 times the click-through rates of all Facebook desktop ads.

What Facebook’s Embrace of Real-Time Bidding for Ads Really Means – (Joe Zawadzki)

With 25% of the web’s page views, and the prospect of integrating social into the whole marketing funnel as opposed to existing solely outside of it, Facebook entering programmatic buying portends much.

105 Facebook Advertising Case Studies – (Jason Keath & Calbe Gray)

Most of the Facebook ad case studies are summarized, list some of the campaign’s results, and have a link provided for a few more details. As many brands and small businesses continue to invest in Facebook ads, this should be a great resource of what others have done.

10 Examples of Facebook Ads That Actually Work (And Why) – (Dan Slagen)

The main difference between Facebook and Google is that the messaging strategy is push versus pull. On Google, users are actively searching for something and then browsing the search results to find the content that best suits them. On Facebook, users are there to check in on their social lives, which means that the element of disruption comes into play. Your ads now need to be louder and grab the attention of a user so they stop doing what they had initially set out to do on Facebook, and change their course of action to pay attention to your ad.

Is Facebook Anti-ROI for Brands? – (Nichole Kelly)

By removing the ability to have a default landing page tab, calls to action in cover images, and forcing brands to deploy offers and contests to tabs that mobile users can’t see Facebook is making it difficult for brands to prove ROI.

Facebook Advertising / Marketing: Best Metrics, ROI, Business Value – (Avinash Kaushik)

Increased investment in Facebook as an engagement/acquisition channel has translated into requests from CEOs, CMOs and other CxOs about the return on that investment. As Facebook is a very young channel, it is not surprising that everyone’s struggling with the answer. Avinash explains that we (marketers) don’t understand what is unique about Facebook and that as a result we fall back on sub-optimal old world metrics. He uses the rest of the post to correct one of the foundational flaws about how we think about marketing/measurement and Facebook, then clearly identifies two things we have to do to prove Facebook’s ROI, diving really deep and identifying specific ways to measure each effort we undertake on Facebook.


5 Mobile Marketing Questions Every Business Owner Needs Answered – (Jason Falls)

There are now 5.9 billion users of smartphones and other mobile devices, representing 87 percent of the world’s population. The ICU also reports that 1.5 billion people are using the mobile web. That’s a huge business opportunity. But where do you start? Here is some insight on five mobile marketing questions every business owner wants answered.

[Infographic]: 10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site – (Alex Matjanec)

With smartphone’s taking the majority share in mobile phone usage in America this year, it’s easy to see that the future of Web is mobile. No one can afford to ignore it. Astute advertisers, developers, and brands are creating experiences that connect, convert, and engage their audiences before the mobile revolution consumes them.

The Future isn’t About Mobile; It’s About Mobility – (David Armano)

Getting something launched on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest is easy, but building an engaged and meaningful following isn’t. And the same will happen in the rush to mobile if companies take a “channel” approach vs. a behavioral approach. In short, it’s not about mobile as much as it is about understanding mobility. Mobility means information, convenience, and social all served up on the go, across a variety of screen sizes and devices. Mobile itself is the nuts, bolts, and infrastructure, while mobility is the context which determines if it all works together or doesn’t.

AdAge Releases First Mobile Marketing Fact Pack

If you’re still wondering if it’s the year of mobile, you’ve already missed it. While the medium pales in advertising dollars spent — just $6.4 billion worldwide in 2012 — it occupies an outsized place in the marketer’s consciousness. Why? The smartphone, now carried by nearly half of all Americans who own a mobile phone, is a computer, a camera, a map, a compass and, for a small-but-growing number, a wallet.

Mobile Marketing 2015: Rethink Customer Acquisition, Intent Targeting – (Avinash Kaushik)

Using Skullcandy and TripIt as examples, Avinash walks us through the future of mobile marketing, including re-thinking four key success factors that make will make any business successful in the future.

Google: The Meaning of Mobile

“We know a lot about WHAT people are doing in the mobile space: when they use their phones, what activities they do with their phones, how many times a day they use their phones, etc. But what is missing in the marketplace is a deep understanding of the WHY the mobile space is so powerful. That is, what is the emotional relationship people truly have with the mobile space and how they make meaning there? To answer this, we conducted an anthropological study to gain a better understanding of how people feel about, relate to and find meaning in the mobile space. And ultimately we learned how brands can engage their consumers in more emotionally resonant and impactful ways.”

5 Flaws in Your Mobile Marketing Strategy – (Scott Forshay)

The hyper-connected consumer of today has little patience for clutter or noise. Her smartphone is the compass with which she engages the world, the persistent interface that guides her through the ever-evolving digital landscape. How then, as marketers, do we evolve in order to not only keep pace with the mobile revolution, but also to utilize it as intended?

What Makes Mobile Ad Campaigns Work? – (Say Media)

We also analyzed key campaign metrics from more than 100 recent mobile campaigns to better understand what mobile creative elements are most effective at capturing consumers’ attention. Among the findings: Mobile ads drive consumers into the marketing funnel faster, with three to five times higher click-to-site rates than online campaigns, and campaigns that use a device’s native features had three times the average click-to-site rate. You can read more and download the white paper on the study here.

Guide to Mobile Advertising Networks – (mobiThinking)

What’s the Best Mobile Ad Network for You?

I believe the two resources above are an excellent primer to continue thinking more about mobile, mobile advertising and the ad networks many vendors recommend. The latter is outdated, but I thought the “10 important questions to ask” are smart things to consider for a strategic road map and/or to ask agency partners to keep in mind when making recommendations. Also of note, if you click on any of the mobile ad networks there is an extensive profile for each.


Branding and Interactive Spending: Are We There Yet? – (Kathryn Koegel)

Mobile is the area with the greatest growth potential, as consumers are now spending 10% of their time with mobile, but marketers are only spending 1% of their ad budgets there. Print is the most likely to lose, with consumers spending 7% of their media consumption time with print, but marketers spend 25% of their ad budgets in print.

The early money went to direct response, but that was the low-hanging fruit. Branding just takes longer. It’s harder to do. There are new standards and new channels. For direct response marketers, it’s all about math, but very simple math. For brands. when they look at data, it’s all about integral calculus. But it’s still data. Measuring awareness, purchase intent, these are all shades of gray.

Coke Revamps Website to Tell Its Story – (Stuart Elliott)

Coca Cola is refreshing their website to adopt an approach and attitude that is more akin to a consumer magazine than a business portal. They’re giving the site a makeover that executives describe as the most ambitious digital project they have undertaken. The intent is to re-present their corporate website as an online magazine.

Measuring Digital “Brand Strength” – (Avinash Kaushik)

A lot of digital analytics focuses on direct response (conversions, leads, etc.). But there is an additional valuable focus of our marketing we don’t give enough analytical love: Branding! It’s elusive because brand strength is, at its core deeply qualitative and none of us measurement types can really see inside your hearts and draw charts of the evolution of what’s in your heart over time. So we use proxies, and we do the best we can. Avinash walks through how he uses insights for search to measure unaided brand recall.

Big Data

Own the Experience, Own the Future: The Big Data Arms Race – (Peter Kim)

“Owning” the user experience is easier said than done; these platforms require massive capital investment in platforms and brand building. Three early leaders exist in today’s race to own the experience ecosystem and its underlying big data assets: Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Each company has created pathways to offer hardware and software, the platforms of digital value creation. Competition is evolving around six key platforms: browsers, operating systems, peer-to-peer messaging, mobile devices, inquiry data, and personally identifiable information (PII).

Big Data is the Future of Marketing – (Jeff Dachis)

This fundamental shift in marketing can only happen with the use of big data to foster engagement at scale. The world of brand marketing has shifted from brands communicating at people through mass communications, to a world where brands are created, built and amplified to communicate with people through a mass of communicators. Ultimately, big data will enable brand marketers to genuinely understand, measure the impact of, and effectively target investments against their efforts to engage in social; and thus allocate meaningful brand marketing dollars to social engagement initiatives amplified by paid media support.

Other Business & Marketing

Time to Marry the CMO and the CIO – (Giselle Abramovich)

A new IBM survey found that 60 percent of marketers point to their lack of alignment with the company’s IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers. CMOs stated that the biggest challenges they face in digital are mobile and social. Yuchun Lee, vice president of IBM’s enterprise marketing management group, explains the implications for brands.

[Video]: 5 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People – (Dr. Weinschenk)

This great short animated teaser offers five of the most essential secrets to a great presentation, whatever your discipline or topic.

54 Quotes from Start-Up Leaders on How to Improve Conversions – (Zach Bulygo)

54 companies sharing the one thing that they did that had the strongest positive impact on conversions.

“We Need A Fundamentally Different Way To Create A Brand”: An Agency CEO Sums Up The State Of Advertising – (Andrew Keller)

The entire Internet has been re-architected around people and people-systems. Social media has pervaded our life and in the process its created a new social contract for people and brands. This new condition has changed the expectations for how consumers experience brands. The expectation of the relationship has become far more intimate.

8 Steps To Knock Out An Impossible Punch List – (Kaihan Krippendorff)

An 8 step summary to push people past complacency, steer clear of destructive urgency, and land in the constructive urgency zone.

20 Principles of Good Writing (from Ogilvy & Mather) – (Lawrence Creaghan)

From How to Write Better: the Ogilvy & Mather guide to writing effective memos, letters, reports, plans and strategies, an agency document written by Ken Roman and Joel Raphaelson in 1978. (And still very relevant today).

34 Enlightening Statistics Marketers Should Know About Multi-Screen Usage

Last week, Google published some interesting data based on research into how consumers are using different devices together, called “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior.” The article explores some of the statistical highlights of Google’s research and concludes with 3 important marketing takeaways.

50 Ways To Seduce Your Web Visitors With Persuasive Landing Pages – (Henneke Duistermaat)

With tons of great visuals, this article looks at how to make each element of your landing page more enticing. And make your conversion rates go up. It covers: commanding attention with headlines, writing compelling copy, becoming trustworthy, creating persuasive calls-to-action, leveraging good design and more.

The Rise of Visual Social Media – (Ekaterina Walter)

Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.

[Video]: The Neurochemistry of Empathy, Storytelling, and the Dramatic Arc, Animated – (Charles Melcher)

Even the simplest narrative can elicit powerful empathic response by triggering the release of neurochemicals like cortisol and oxytocin, provided it is highly engaging and follows the classic dramatic arc outlined by the German playwright Gustav Freytag 150 years ago. The amount of oxytocin released after watching/listening to a story predicts how much money someone will donate to a person or a charity. (Whether you’re shooting video or developing a cause marketing campaign, the future of storytelling is something to keep in mind.)

The Reality of the Impatient Customer – (Jason Falls)

Velaro recently commissioned a single-question survey of over 2,500 Americans 12 and older to ask, “For customer service, how long are you willing to be put on hold?” And six in 10 said one minute or less. One third of American social media users who have tried to contact a company on social media for service or support say they expect a response from a company within 30 minutes. The simple fact is that as real-time marketing and responsiveness proliferate, our audiences are going to be more and more conditioned to want it here and now and right.

The Pressures of Content Creation – (Scott Monty)

Spreading existing assets across the web is the antithesis of targeted marketing and provides his observations on what impacts the process of creating content in today’s always-on world. His emphasis on content coordination and transmedia stood out to me.

Is Your Brand Magnificent at Digital Marketing? A Diagnostic Framework – (Avinash Kaushik)

This article explores six questions you should ask yourself to ensure that you have a magnificent digital marketing strategy. It explores the importance of  “renting” and “owning,” adding value vs. shouting, proactively capturing possibilities, reactively creating demand and the importance of mobile, including executing utility marketing via mobile platforms.

Building an Effective Digital Mission Control Center: 5 Key Considerations – (Tickr Team)

  • Let purpose be your guide
  • Move beyond buzzwords like “monitoring”
  • Plan for scale
  • Plan new collaboration and approval processes
  • Consider your monitoring, collaboration, analysis and management software carefully

The 10 Best Marketing Infographics of 2012 – (Aaron Fletcher)

This is pretty self-explanatory. Excellent resource, especially for visual learners.

5 Things Likely to Shape Social in 2013 – (Ciaran Norris)

As we approach the end of another year, it’s a good time to think about what we, as marketers, hope to achieve in the next 12 months. But to do so, we also need to think about the things that are likely to have an impact on our businesses, and the products and sites that they increasingly rely on. So, let’s think about what the key factors are likely to be that will impact how social platforms and technologies are used for marketing in 2013.

Reports & EBooks

2012 Social Marketing Intelligence Report

This Marketing Intelligence Report will supply you with everything you need to know about social media management software and provide you with key questions and considerations to keep top of mind as you evaluate the right SMMS for your team’s social media needs:

This report includes the following plus more:

  • Key characteristics of Social Media Management Software
  • Questions you should ask yourself and your potential vendors
  • Profiles of leading Social Media Management Software providers, like Adobe Social
  • Industry trends including the rise of mobile, the growth of social media networks, and the impact of marketplace consolidation

[E-Book]: 4 Ways to Thump Your Competition with Better Facebook Analysis – (Jay Baer)

Full disclosure: I have not read this ebook yet; however, Jay definitely knows his stuff and with an increased focus on metrics and conveying the value of marketing contributions, I thought this would be useful to explore. From Jay, “Managing a Facebook page is a major part of many companies’ marketing and communication programs, but the data we use to measure the effectiveness of those efforts is sorely lacking. Facebook consistently changes what’s measured and how, adding complexity and incongruence to an already squirrely data scenario. For example, People Talking About This is the mathematical coin of the realm these days, but is a steaming gumbo of aggregated data that rolls together 13 different behaviors into one, catch-all metric.”

“Digitally Mature” Companies Make More Money – (Tonya Ries)

The report measures companies along two dimensions:  1. digital intensity – investing in technology-enabled initiatives that  change how the company operates, and 2. transformation management intensity – creating the leadership capabilities needed to drive organizational transformation. Companies that do well in one of these two dimensions out-perform their competitors. The “Digirati” are companies that are mature in both dimensions — and they have the highest financial performance by far, on multiple financial measures.

What seems to be key is developing excellence in both customer-facing processes (social media, mobile, the customer experience) as well as the operational processes needed to support those (analytics, data integration, process digitization, internal collaboration).


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  • Yui Kazuto

    It is my great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your great post here. I like it very much. I know that you put much attention for these articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful.

    Dirk Kettlewell


  • Thanks for the Social Fresh inclusions!

    (ps. the first ebook link looks to be broken)


    ryanstephens Reply:

    You guys do a good job curating a lot of useful stuff into one post. Those prove to be pretty useful for me so I was hoping my readers would get as much benefit out of them as I did. And thanks for the heads up on the broken link! Hope that 2013 is a huge year for you, especially the Tampa conference!


    Jason Keath Reply:

    To you as well sir. Thanks again!


  • Naomi Mikael Perez-Cruz

    I read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any assistance is very much appreciated.

    Dirk Kettlewell