20 Marketing Statistics That Will Drive 2014

Web-based digital asset management company WebDAM created an infographic to look ahead to 2014 marketing trends.

According to the company’s research, social media budgets are expected to double over the next 5 years – that’s a whole lot of Twitter Promoted Trends – and 65% of people are visual learners, hence the industry-wide shift towards visual content.

Below, check out 20 marketing stats that are predicted to drive 2014.

Perhaps the biggest one? 78% of CMOs, per WebDAM, think custom content is the future of marketing. And Twitter plays a huge role in that.

 

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How Not Being Creative is Harming Your Very Survival

Creativity and survival are more closely linked than you might think.

I read recently that one of the things (and I think this is majorly important) that holds people back from enjoying life, seeing success and moving ahead, is a little thing known as reactivity.

Being reactive to a situation, a person or a perceived ‘problem’ means being on auto-pilot. Reacting is not thinking; it is letting emotions control us, before we gather thoughts to actually think something through.

Reactivity is being passive instead of active.

Reactivity is seen in the man who digs himself deeper and deeper into debt. It is seen in the young lady who won’t stop comfort eating, and the guy who seeks approval from other people before feeling satisfied enough (in the short term) that he is a ‘worthy’ human being. Reactivity is effectively the process of dying. Each act of passivity, of non-action you take is harming your own survival as a human.

Being reactive is seeing yourself as the victim. How often do you make yourself out to be the victim? How often do you blame the world around you for your ‘misfortunes’? How many times have you flipped this around and become the owner of what you are doing, seized control, taken responsibility for your life and seen the tremendous advantage that this attitude brings?

Creativity is the opposite of reactivity.

When we create, we are proactive, we are moving forward, we are owning, and we are actually living.

25 No-Nonsense Ways to Power Up Your Productivity

With tons of things to do and seemingly less and less time in the day, being productive is a core requirement to the lives of most freelancing creative professionals.

Put simply, being more productive means we get more done, and it shouldn’t require twenty cups of coffee daily to do so, even if you’re feeling low in energy. In fact there are numerous no-nonsense methods you can use right now to feel and act more productively, and have time left over to chill out. Here they are:

1. Exercise Daily

I’m no advocate of this, but in order for it to work effectively, you need to treat your body correctly.  You might think that since you spend a lot of the day sitting in front of your computer, your physical health is not all that important, but that’s just not the case.  In fact, because your job is often so sedentary, you need to exercise more than people with active jobs.

As a bare minimum, you need 30 minutes of exercise a day, but you will feel mostproductive and energized by exercising several times a day, preferably before each meal, even for 10 minutes at a time.

2. Get the Right Amount of Sleep

One of the greatest challenges of being self-employed is maintaining a healthy work and sleep schedule.  Experts say we should get between 7 and 9 hours sleep a day, but if you’re working until the last minute of the day, it’s hard to switch off and fall asleep.  The best thing you can do here is not work from your bed.

Turn the computer off at least 1 hour before bedtime and let yourself decompress fully.  Avoid the television, but instead try reading a book, taking a walk, or chatting with family or friends to help you relax.

3. Eat Well

Your diet is of utmost importance and especially if you work from home, it can mean finding yourself grazing throughout the day.  Structure your diet just like you structure your day, fitting in 3 meals and 2 snacks.  Be sure to buy lots of healthy food, and remove the temptation of junk food in the house.

4. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

The age-old stereotype of writers and other freelance professionals living off coffee may be true, but it’s not a great habit to get into.  Caffeine results in us having less energy and feeling more tired.  Not to mention all the other bad side effects of caffeine.  If you can’t give it up altogether, limit yourself to one cup of coffee each morning and then switch to water or green tea.

5. Make and Maintain a Simple To-Do List

One of the most important tools for increasing productivity is your to-do list.  Make your list the night before, so you’re ready to go and have your daily goals clear in your mind the next morning, but keep it short and simple and be realistic about what you can achieve.

Be sure to refer back to the list throughout the day and at the end of the day.  Anything that’s not completed should move on to the following day’s list.  Write the list by hand, ideally, and if you have a whiteboard, write your list there.

6. Prioritize Your Tasks

When making your to-do list, place the tasks in order of importance. This will ensure that if you don’t have time for any of the tasks, it will be the less important tasks that get passed on to the next day.

7. Time Each Task

Procrastination is your worst enemy.  Picture this: You make a list of 10 tasks that you think you can complete in one day.  At the end of the day, you’ve only completed 5 of them.  What happened?  You were distracted, most likely without even realizing it.

Try setting a time objective for each task on the list.  Then, as you begin each task, start a stopwatch and be sure to complete it within the allotted time.  You will find this added “pressure” helps increase your productivity dramatically.

8. Set Long-Term Goals

Your goals should be set for a variety of timelines (weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually) and they should all be linked together.  Everything that you do should be leading up to, and contributing towards the annual goal.  When you make your action plan, step away from the computer and other distractions.

Perhaps go down to the beach or wherever helps you think clearly.  Once you have made your action plan, refer back to it regularly.  Stick it on the wall.  Update it as you achieve things and as you think of more goals.

9. “Am I Being Productive?”

Return regularly to the questions “Am I being productive?” and “How is this task going to make me develop as a professional?” These two questions will help you to be productive and stay on track with your goals and not get carried away with useless tasks that contribute little to your long-term plans.

10.  Remove Distractions

People’s homes have always been filled with distractions and it takes a certain type of person to be able to work from home productively.  With the advent of the internet, these distractions have multiplied.  Phones, instant messenger, email, web surfing and Facebook, can all be distracting if misused and can crush your productivity levels.

Where possible, turn these distractions off or work in an environment where these machines are absent.

11.  Certain Times for Certain Tasks

As a way of reducing distractions, establish certain times each day for certain tasks.  Email, for example, is one of the most time-consuming and distracting tasks of all.  Try checking and dealing with mail 3 times a day for a maximum of 1 hour each time.  This will stop you from checking email constantly and will allow you to be more productivewith your other tasks.

12.  Step Away for Breaks

Many of us think that 15 minutes surfing our favorite social networking site or playing backgammon online with our friend in China is a break from work.  It’s not.  To revive yourself after a stint working on the computer, you need to step away, get some fresh air, exercise or otherwise clear your mind.  It’s the change of scenery that will help you come back feeling refreshed and more productive.

13.  Define a Schedule

For most of us, this means getting started early.  Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, be sure to set a schedule. If you want to work for 8 hours a day, split those hours in to 2 or 3 blocks of time.  Work solidly during those times and stick to your schedule.

14.  Get Clear

At the end of each day, tidy your desk.  Deal with all paperwork as soon as you receive it.  Once a week, include “Clean Inbox” on your to-do list and remove all unwanted emails and update/remove all completed tasks.

15.  Meditate

Don’t underestimate the power of meditating to quiet the mind, deepening relaxation and boosting productivity in the process. Just spending 6 minutes a few times a day to relax, focus on your breath and your surroundings will have a powerful effect on your energy levels and focus, making you more productive.

16.  Do Things You Love

Everyone knows that the tasks you hate are the ones that get done last.  As a freelance professional, try not to accept jobs you don’t like, you’ll find it helps you be more productive.  If you’re not passionate about them, you’ll be less inclined to get them done quickly.

17.  Be Positive

So you have a lot of work on your plate at the moment, but don’t let that get you down.  There are many struggling freelancers out there desperate for work.  Perhaps something else is getting you down and affecting your productivity, so you have to be positive.  Focusing on positive things, including things to be grateful about will help greatly with your productivity.

18.  Reduce Information Intake

If you work online, no doubt you subscribe to many RSS feeds and newsletters from websites relevant to your field.  While this is great, stop to think about how much time you spend reading every day.  Add on the time spent reading email and news and you’ll realize how much information you’re trying to digest.

Limit yourself to an hour of reading a day and you’ll find there’s more brainpower left for actual work.

19.  Focus on less

Stop trying to work on everything at once. Quite often we find ourselves trying to multi-task in order to deal with heavy workloads. This will make you less effective because you are making things complicated. Just focus on one task at a time, and your productivity for each task will increase.

20.  Save the Best for Last

We tend to procrastinate most with the jobs we hate, so each day, put the least enjoyable tasks at the top of your to-do list and be sure to actually do them.  Not only does this get the jobs you hate out of the way, but having jobs you enjoy left at the end of the day will help you to stay motivated and work for longer.

21.  Keep a Notepad With You

Some of the best ideas come to us late at night, about to fall asleep, or while sitting in traffic and when you’re back at your computer, you just can’t think of the idea.  Keep a notepad or voice recorder with you all the time, so you never forget an idea again.

22.  Get Dressed

This may sound stupid, but there are plenty of people working from home who don’t feel the need to shower and get dressed every morning.  Indeed, “working in your pajamas” might be one of the biggest attractions of working from home.  It can also be one of the biggest pitfalls.  Shower and get dressed every morning and you will feel a difference in your motivation, energy and productivity levels.

23.  Throw Yourself Into Your Work

‘Writer’s Block’ is something we all complain about from time to time, and it’s the biggest myth of all.  Just get started on a project, no matter how little preparation you feel you’ve had.

24.  Plan Your Finances

If you’re self-employed, it’s important to know how much money you have coming in and going out, especially when your income will change each month.

Establish how much you need to bring in, and focus on making at least that amount.  There will be months when you don’t hit your goals, so set aside money on the good months so you have an emergency fund.  This will help reduce stress on the lower-income months. Consider getting an accountant so you can really focus on being productive on actual work assignments.

25.  Reward Yourself

Whenever you complete one of your larger tasks, or reach one of the goals in your action plan, reward yourself by doing something fun – it will help renew your motivation for your other projects.

5 things brands must know about Facebook Timeline

1. New layouts and sizes for images, apps, and content

If you have visual indicators like images of arrows pointing to the “like” button of your Facebook page, then you’ll most likely need to update or delete these as soon as possible. With Timeline, your arrows encouraging users to like your page are probably pointing to the wrong place or no longer make any sense.

Existing apps will also need to be updated in the near feature to take advantage of new sizing options. Here’s a handy list of new Timeline-related pixel sizes:

Cover photos: 851 x 315

Profile pictures: 180 x 180

Apps: 851

Apps thumbnail images: 111 x 74

Highlighted and milestone images: 843 x 403

 

2. Strategically using Facebook cover photos

Agencies like mine at Definition 6 are strategically using Facebook’s new cover photo feature to highlight top content for our clients. For example, on Lawyers.com (a LexisNexis website) we’re using the Facebook cover photo to promote whatever the featured blog post of the day is:http://www.facebook.com/lawyerscom

What we found was that Facebook users unfamiliar with Facebook’s new Timeline layout were clicking on the cover photo thinking it was interactive content. Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s just an image. However, when a user clicks on an image, the image pops up in Facebook’s “theater mode” to display likes and comments for that image. After noticing this behavior trend, we were able to quickly capitalize on it. We’ve made sure that all images being used as cover photo images contained a detailed description and included a link to the featured article. As a result, we’re using the cover photo not just to reinforce branding and messaging but to also help drive traffic.

3. App shock

Unfortunately, brands that heavily relied on apps will be in for somewhat of a shock. Before Timeline, all your apps (previously called tabs) were listed along the left side of your Facebook page. But with Timeline, brand pages can showcase only four apps under the cover photo—and Facebook requires one of them to be photos. This means you have only three app slots initially visible to your audience and need to use this real estate wisely. Users can still toggle a dropdown to see all your brand page’s apps (Facebook allows a maximum of 12), but as a business, you’ll need to carefully consider the value of creating more Facebook apps, which three are displayed, and when they are displayed.

4. Increased focus on content

One way brands will have to adapt to Timeline is by focusing more on content and relying less on apps. Facebook’s new Timeline layout puts much more focus on the content in your Timeline than your apps. Small businesses can use this change as an opportunity. While they might not have been able to compete with big businesses with big app budgets, Timeline’s increased focus on content helps level the playing field and gives small business more opportunities to communicate with both fans and customers.

One of my favorite things about Timeline is the ability to easily showcase your brand’s history. Even if your company hasn’t been around for hundreds of years, you can still use this feature to communicate the changes and evolution of your business or industry. It doesn’t just have to be boring dates like when your company was founded. Be strategic and creative. For example, to help meet your recruitment and retention goals, think about adding dated content to your company Timeline like employees’ funny photos from your holiday parties, employee promotion announcements. and photos of office pets (if your small business is pet friendly).

For example, Definition 6 clients Coca-Cola and Raymond Weil have both filled out their Facebook Timelines. If you still feel that you don’t have enough to fill out a compelling Timeline history, then maybe you should consider using your Timeline to show thought leadership in your industry. For example, check out Spotify’s Facebook Timeline. It shows the history of music going back over 1,000 years. It’s a very clever execution for a new company without a lot of personal history to fill up a full Timeline.

Timeline also gives page admins multiple ways to showcase content. In addition to the cover photo, admins can also “pin” a story to the top of your Timeline for up to seven days, or “star” a story to make it expand to the full width of your Timeline. Between the cover photo and starred and pinned content in your timeline, business now have three major ways to feature content on their Facebook brand pages.

5. Enhanced admin panel

Part of the switch to Timeline includes an enhanced moderation and admin dashboard. Instead of having to pull up a separate page or tool, the new admin interface is at the top of your Facebook brand page and gives you access to notifications (comments and likes to your content), new likes (new people who have liked your brand page), insights (line graph showing how Facebook users engaged with your content), and messages (private direct messages). Many brands will find the new message tool valuable. Fans no longer have to disclose information by posting on your brand page’s wall. They can now initiate a private conversation with the page admins by sending them direct messages.

With these new enhanced features, reps for brands will need to rethink some of their planned tactics for Facebook marketing that they may have had in place for this year. By putting a larger focus on content, you will see less “like-gating” campaigns and more content-driven marketing campaigns that brands will leverage to connect with their consumers.

Jon Accarrino is director of social media for Definition 6.

David Ogilvy Quotes for bloggers

1. “The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife.”

How appropriate—both for internet marketers (who are often known for tactics that treat those they target as morons) and bloggers (who can at times talk down to readers).

The idea of treating your reader as someone who you value, as someone incredibly special to you, will take bloggers a long way.

Another Ogilvy quote that relates: “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.

2. “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

I’ve been pondering this one a lot over the last 24 hours and it’s true—some of my best blog posts and projects have emerged out of light-hearted tweets or comments in conversations to friends.

31 Days to Build a Better Blog came about as I laughed with a friend about how bloggers needed a daily devotion (similar to what I grew up with as a good Christian boy reading Every day with Jesus) to keep their blogs on track.

7 Digital Camera Predators and How to Keep them at Bay started as a friend and I joked about things that conspired to kill our cameras.

It’s often the crazy little ideas that we have that first make us laugh that do best. If they get some kind of reaction in us (even one that makes us giggle at how silly they are), they’re likely to also get a reaction from others.

3. “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.”

Think big! While there’s also something to be said for having realistic expectations about what you can achieve with a blog, there’s nothing wrong with having big dreams and aiming to make them a reality.

It can be a bit of a balancing act, but if you aim a little higher you might just find yourself achieving things with your blog that you might not have thought possible.

4. “I have a theory that the best ads come from personal experience. Some of the good ones I have done have really come out of the real experience of my life, and somehow this has come over as true and valid and persuasive.”

If there’s one quote in this selection that most rings true for me it is this one. The posts that I’ve written that have emerged out of real experience, pain, excitement, heartache, and life are the ones that time and time again hit the mark with readers.

Tell stories, share your successes and failures, be yourself, and let your own personal voice come out. You’ll find readers respond in a personal way, too.

5. “I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”

This might get up the noses of those of you who are a little more particular about grammar (and I do thank you for your continued daily emails pointing out my mistakes), but I think there’s something powerful about this.

Write your blog posts in the way that you’d actually speak to them if they were in the chair opposite you. Use language that communicates most clearly with them—even when it might not be the Queen’s English.

Of course there comes a point where grammar and spelling errors can and do get in the way of communicating clearly with readers. Don’t be lazy—the point is to know your readers and communicate in a way that’s relevant to them.

6. “Good copy can’t be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You’ve got to believe in the product.”

I’m not sure I agree 100% with this as I do know bloggers who make good livings from writing about things that they have no real interest in or passion for. However, most successful blogs (and by that I mean more than profit, and am looking at blogs that connect with readers and help build a blogger’s reputation) are written by people who have something genuine to say about a topic they believe in.

While it’s possible to create a profitable blog on something you have no interest or belief in (by gaming the search engines for example), those kinds of blogs are never going to create a connection with readers or do much to raise your profile in an industry.

Conversely, bloggers who create blogs that come from genuine interest and passion for topics create connections with readers that have flow-on effects that lead to all kinds of wonderful opportunities.

7. “If you ever have the good fortune to create a great advertising campaign, you will soon see another agency steal it. This is irritating, but don’t let it worry you; nobody has ever built a brand by imitating somebody else’s advertising.”

There’s nothing more heartbreaking for a new blogger when you see your content being scraped onto another blog or your intellectual property being used by others without credit.

I still get upset by this from time to time, however there’s one thing that I’ve noticed despite hundreds of sites each day republishing my work without permission and/or credit. Nobody actually seems to read those blogs.

The key to successful blogging is unique and useful information. People who simply regurgitate what you write, or even repost it word for word, either eventually give up (because nobody reads it) or get caught out (and stop in disgrace).

While there are times when I’ve chased down others who blatantly steal my stuff without credit (there is a line) I find it much more beneficial to spend my time creating more great content than policing how people use what I’ve already produced.

Focus the bulk of your time upon producing and being the best you can be. This will have more positive impact upon your business than the negative tasks of stopping spammers and thieves stealing your old ideas.

8. “First, make yourself a reputation for being a creative genius. Second, surround yourself with partners who are better than you are. Third, leave them to go get on with it.”

This one might be a little more appropriate for advanced bloggers who’ve established themselves and are looking to take things to the next level.

There does come a time in most businesses where a solo entrepreneur needs to think about how to expand and grow beyond their own capacity to give their business personal attention.

There are only so many hours in the day. Expanding your team and/or partnering with others is one option to consider. If you do it, look for people whose skills complement and exceed yours, then get out of their way.

9. “Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

David was big on testing, and his effectiveness as a communicator improved dramatically as a result.

It’s amazing what you learn when you test different elements on a blog: simple tweaks of headlines, changes in calls to action, different placements of ads, tracking how design changes improve conversion of your objectives … the list could go on.

Great bloggers don’t just write content—they watch to see how people interact with it (and their blog) and use what they learn to improve their future efforts.

10. “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. “

The headline or title of your blog post is the most effective way to get people to read the rest of your post. If you don’t understand—and more importantly, implement—this principle, you’re going to miss out on a lot of readers.

Headlines draw people in, whether they see them in search results, on Twitter, in RSS feeds, or on your blog itself.

Ogilvy is famous for his advice on this: the purpose of your headline is to get people to read your first line. The purpose of your opening line is to get people to read the next one. So invest time and energy into your titles (and opening lines).

Here’s a related quote: “The headline is the ‘ticket on the meat.’ Use it to flag down readers who are prospects for the kind of product you are advertising.”