Have you ever sat through a keynote address or read a book from a thought leader in your industry and wondered how they achieved their status? If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, we found ourselves asking this question so frequently that we decided to conduct extensive research on the topic. We wondered: What makes these experts so appealing to buyers? How did they rise to their level of fame? What types of benefits are they bringing to their firm?

To answer these questions, we interviewed 130 prominent industry thought leaders — Visible Experts, as we call them. We also surveyed over 1,000 buyers of expert services to get a perspective from the other side of the equation. Our findings proved that these industry stars are even more beneficial to their firms than we originally anticipated.

Over 60% of experts interviewed revealed two key benefits: Brand building, and growth and business development. (read more…)

“Video is exploding.”

That statement by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg during her opening remarks at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX Conference sums up the sentiment among publishers and marketers as this year’s Advertising Week begins.

Sandberg made her remarks to Katie Couric as the duo shared the stage at the IAB conference. Couric explained that her Yahoo News interviews with baseball legend Joe Torre and Secretary of State John Kerry are available in both snippets and in longer form to take advantage of the multiple ways that consumers now consume content.

“We try to give people options,” Couric explained. “I’m hoping digital content doesn’t make people want things in 30 seconds or less. As we get more involved and more acclimated to this way of consuming information, there will be a desire for longer pieces.”

That demand is being driven in large part by the ready access to mobile devices and high-speed Internet consumers now have. (read more…)

Since the announcement of its IPO in November 2013, Twitter has been highly scrutinized for its lack of user growth, but in the past few months, the platform has been shaking things up.

As a result of its newly introduced targeting capabilities, the possibility of an algorithmic timeline, a heightened focus on direct response, and what seems like a new wave of second-screen experiences, marketers have all eyes on Twitter.

1. Targeting

This August, the platform unveiled a new objective-based sales model, which allows marketers to optimize and pay for campaigns based on actions that align with their marketing objectives, making the platform more efficient than ever before. Objectives include: followers (community growth, fan acquisition), clicks and conversions, engagements, app installs and app engagements, and lead generation. This sales model comes shortly after Twitter released new CTA ad units, such as Download App and its Buy button. Although currently only available to the platform’s SMB and API partners, the new sales model is expected to roll out to clients over the next few months. (read more…)

The ITS World Congress ended two weeks ago, but the intelligent transportation technology demonstrated in Detroit’s Cobo Center over the four-day conference will continue to be discussed and implemented in the months and years to come.

The conference hosted thousands of attendees from 65 countries and featured more than 300 square feet of exhibition space with everyone from car makers and software firms to data analytics companies and application development companies touting their wares. The event also boasted more than 30 interactive demonstrations of autonomous and connected vehicles, smart infrastructure and robotics. Mobile capabilities have benefitted the automotive and transportation industries and the two will continue to introduce new products and services as the technology develops.

This industry has already seen progress in GPS and navigational systems that can alert authorities of an accident and traffic signal optimization that helps to decrease traffic. But on the horizon is vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, where cars and trucks will “talk” to each other, as well as lane control systems and cars that take over some of the driving – or parking – for you. (read more…)

A central part of any social media strategist’s job is to stay up-to-date with the latest changes in newsfeed algorithms, analytics features and paid post programs. After managing social programs for a wide variety of brands, I’ve discovered that the best strategy is not to be reactive to these changes, but rather to authentically engage with users.

That means that, instead of seeking to take advantage of the latest loophole, engage to the point where customers — or potential customers — actually want to share their data (name, email address, zip code, etc.) because they are genuinely interested and want to participate. There are three important steps to achieving success in generated social direct response:

1) Engagement
Think of engagement as the foundation upon which you build your strategy. Approach your effort across screens and marketing vehicles so that your message reaches your target audience both offline and online. Remember, the consumer is looking for an easy and consistent experience when taking the time to engage with you, so allow your marketing messages to prompt a consumer action no matter where they see your messaging. (read more…)