The gift retailer is making a big play with bots, voice and AI to make consumers happy, no matter what the occasion.

Over the course of four weeks, 1-800-Flowers.com, which calls itself “the world’s leading destination for floral and gourmet gifts,” made a huge push into conversational commerce, or the ability to place orders via chat- and voice-based technologies.

In announcement after announcement, 1-800-Flowers.com said the primary goal is to embrace emerging technologies to enhance the customer experience – and to perhaps even change gift-giving as we know it.

For his part, Tony Valado, vice president of multi-brand marketing at 1-800-Flowers.com, said the brand sees technology as a means to improve its customer relationships on a one-to-one basis. And it is particularly important for 1-800-Flowers.com to cultivate those bonds because, “They trust us to deliver their happiness, joy, [sorrow] and many other sentiments to the most important people in their lives,” he said. (read more…)

Michael BrennerSome of the brightest minds in marketing are coming together at the ANA/BMA 2016: Masters of B2B Marketing conference in Chicago June 1 to 3. SmartBrief will be there, too, and to kick things off, we asked Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group and co-author of The Content Formula, to preview some of what he’ll share at the event.

First, you are a marketing executive who recently launched his own company. Can you tell us what it’s been like to make that transition? Do you have any advice for marketing executives who are interested in a similar path?

I started sharing my expertise online a few years ago on my blog. That led to requests to do webinars, then speaking engagements. I was fortunate enough to join a startup called NewsCred and build a strategy business for them prior to launching my own business. I see each step as an extension of that early commitment to share my experiences and insights online and to build a supportive community that helped me so much along the way. (read more…)

Despite the entry of many other social networking sites, Facebook still remains the most popular choice for businesses and marketers. A research study says that 71% of Internet users are now on Facebook. With over 1.4 billion users, this social media giant is undoubtedly one of the biggest platforms for startups and small businesses looking to establish their brand, garner media mileage, connect with prospects and attract some sales.

It takes a lot of efforts to lure followers, engage them and keep them engaged. With 510 comments being posted, 293,000 statuses being updated, and 136,000 photos being uploaded on Facebook ever every minute, it’s a challenge for marketers to stand out. They need to be creative and stay abreast with the latest Facebook marketing trends.
In order to help you stay ahead of the curve, here we present to you 5 Facebook marketing trends in 2016 and beyond.
1. Use Facebook Videos Creatively

Facebook videos have been slowly gaining solid grounds and we’re likely to see the trend of Facebook videos grow exponentially in the coming time. (read more…)

Avinash NairThere’s a science behind what kind of content does well online. Even having all the right ingredients doesn’t guarantee that an item will go viral. So what makes content shareable? Is it the image, the catchy headline, or the fact that it was written by a respected leader or influencer? Do people share content that has been shared by their friends or peers?

To an extent, the answer is yes to all of those questions, but the last one in particular.

The popularity of a piece of content in a person’s mind is directly proportional to the popularity of the content’s premise among that person’s peers. For instance, people belonging to a group of dog lovers are more likely to share dog related content compared to people who have no such affinity. Scientists call this the “herding effect.” BuzzFeed specifically banks on this phenomenon, as they know readers like to promote their own identity. (read more…)

Alex Membrillo

Many social media experts believe that video will be one of the most important marketing trends of 2016 and that live video on Facebook is a big part of it.

To make sure that your brand is benefiting from this new outlet in the biggest way possible, keep these winning tips in mind:

Create content that your fans want to watch.
Pick a great setting, strong speakers and some terrific action to showcase. You can share video from an event at your company, interview your staff about service lines or give potential customers a virtual tour. Ensure that your lighting and sound are top quality. There is so much high-quality content now available that people are not likely to stick around when they can’t hear what’s going on or are presented with less-than-awesome image quality.

Content should be geared toward the interests of the viewers; do not include too much overt promotion. (read more…)