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Key Findings

The Content Conundrum

typewriter web largeSeveral departments across a B2B organization rely on content marketing, from social media to event marketing, public relations to product marketing. Content marketers who have a documented strategy are eight times more likely (60 percent versus 7 percent) to rate themselves as being effective content marketers versus those who have no strategy, written or otherwise. While research shows that having a documented content marketing strategy is the key to success, according to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America study, just 35 percent of content marketers had one, although 48 percent said that they had a strategy, it just wasn’t documented.

Content can be hard to come up with. In fact, according to research by Kapost, nearly four in 10 B2B marketers said it was difficult or somewhat difficult to come up with ideas for content marketing. Perhaps this could be due to the fact that even though 75 percent of executives say their primary purpose for seeking content is to find ideas, 93 percent of marketers say the intent of their content is to directly promote their products or services.

With so much pressure to generate meaningful and relevant content we found some really good tips from kissmetrics. We’ve outlined them here but encourage you to check out the article for more detail.

  1. Create original content
  2. Always focus on creating strong headlines
  3. Make your content actionable
  4. Be able to provide answers
  5. Be accurate in your reporting and sourcing of information
  6. Create engaging and thought provoking content
  7. Communicate better by adding images and video
  8. Write short and pointed content
  9. Make continual updates to your website or blog

We’d love to hear your tips for creating great content. Share them with us on our Facebook page or tweet us.

Mobile on the Move

Brand July 2015Mobile is the future of advertising, and mobile search is on the rise.  Today nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19 percent of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them. More and more search marketers are diversifying their ad spend to reach a larger audience and they are seeing that mobile users have different needs and expectations than people sitting in front of their desktop.

Mobile campaigns need to be treated as a separate experience, with their own unique goals. So why do we still give our customers desktop solutions when they are on the go?  Forms, live chat and website navigation aren’t ideal for mobile users looking for fast answers. Voice conversation is the best way to get questions answered quickly, and considering that 70 percent of people have called businesses directly from search results it is clear that customers want personal assistance. A study by NewVoiceMedia confirms that 75 percent of consumers say making a phone call is the quickest way to resolve an issue.

People now spend more time online via their mobile devices than on desktop or laptop computers, according to comScore. Industry data also shows mobile search is expected to overtake desktop search by 2015. In light of this trend, search marketers can’t afford to neglect their growing mobile audience by sticking to the old desktop formula. Mobile devices bridge the digital and offline worlds. Unlike desktops, mobile phones are with us at all times, giving us the freedom to be in the real world and online all at once. Before the mobile shift, you could assume people searching the Internet were at home or work. At the very least, you knew they were stationary. Now they could be anywhere, doing anything—and that changes how they search the Internet.

A report by Invoca entitled Paid Search for the Mobile Era describes the profile of a mobile consumer as:

  • Action-oriented
  • 73 percent of mobile searches result in additional actions such as a phone call, store visit, or purchase, according to Google.
  • More likely to check store inventories, look for directions, or make phone calls
  • Can be at home, at work, or on the go
  • More location-oriented than their desktop counterparts
  • Have complex multichannel paths to purchase
  • Convert offline more than they do online
  • 89 percent of local mobile search conversions occur offline, according to comScore.

Solar Storage Charging Ahead

July 2015 KF ENERGYSolar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth – 173,000 terawatts of solar energy strikes the Earth continuously. That’s more than 10,000 times the world’s total energy use. The tremendous growth in the U.S. solar industry is helping to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. Over the past few years, the cost of a solar energy system has dropped significantly, helping to give more American families and businesses access to affordable, clean energy. However there are still many soft costs that remain a hurdle – things like permitting, zoning, and hooking a solar system up to the power grid.

But, there is a game changer in the solar arena and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive thinks today’s rooftop solar energy systems will be out of date within five years because rooftop solar systems of the future won’t just generate electricity. They will come with sophisticated batteries that also will store it, allowing consumers to tap into the electricity their solar panels produced even when it’s dark outside. “Within five years, around that time frame, every solar system we deploy will have a storage system tied to it,” Rive said. According to Rive, adding batteries to rooftop solar energy systems has huge potential to reshape an industry that, in most places, still isn’t able to compete with the utility-generated electricity without hefty government subsidies.

Adding batteries to the solar energy system could mean that, if there is enough sunshine and the solar energy system is big enough, homeowners could be able to disconnect from the power grid entirely, or just use utility-produced electricity as a backup. The current grid connect system allows consumers to convert their energy from sunlight and use the local power grid to supply electricity needed when sunlight isn’t available, such as at night. Most states have rules that allow homeowners to sell the excess electricity generated by their rooftop solar systems back to their local utility – usually at the same price that consumers pay for the power, however many utility companies say it’s unfair to make them pay retail prices to solar energy producers when they can purchase power from the power plants at lower, wholesale prices.

Adding battery storage only makes sense to consumers if the difference between the profit they can make by selling their excess electricity to utilities during the day, when demand is higher, and the savings they can reap by storing the power in the battery system and not having to buy electricity from the utility at night, when their use is highest. If the price at which consumers can sell their surplus to utilities is high enough, it may not make sense for them to install battery storage because they can make more money by sending their excel electricity straight to the grid.

For the moment, storage is mostly a niche product – albeit a fast-growing one. The storage market grew by 40 percent last year and was valued at $128 million, according to a study earlier this year by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. But installations are expected to triple this year as prices come down, and by 2019, the storage market is expected to reach $1.5 billion, with almost four times more storage capacity being installed in 2019 than the report projects for this year.

Obesity – A BIG Problem

July 2015 KF HCAmericans are getting bigger. The weight of an average American woman these days is 166.2 pounds, almost exactly what the average American man weighed in the 1960s. Men are growing too at just about the same pace, with the average American man weighing 195.5 pounds. The average American is 33 pounds heavier than the average Frenchman, 40 pounds heavier than the Japanese citizen, and 70 pounds heavier than the average citizen of Bangladesh.

The obesity epidemic is one of America’s most serious health problems, contributing to more than 30 serious diseases. Obesity rates in adults have doubled since 1980, from 15 to 30 percent, and they have tripled in children. These conditions create a major strain on the health care system with more than one-quarter of health care costs now related to obesity.

Almost half of Americans (45 percent) worry about their weight, with women significantly more likely than men to say they worry about their weight all of the time. Yet while 45 percent of Americans say they worry about their weight, only 29 percent say they are seriously trying to do something about it. According to a Fortune poll conducted by Survey Monkey, 77 percent of Americans are actively trying to eat healthier, but only 19 percent say they are on a diet.

The idea that our obesity epidemic is caused by sedentary lifestyles has spread widely over the past few decades, but there are questions as to whether physical activity really makes much of a difference in weight loss.  A recent editorial in The British Journal of Sports Medicine states that regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers by at least 30 percent. However, physical activity does not promote weight loss. The article goes on to say that in the past 30 years, as obesity has rocketed, there has been little change in physical activity levels in the Western population, thus placing the blame of our expanding waistlines directly on the type and amount of calories consumed.

Poor diet, according to The Lancet global burden of disease reports, now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined. More importantly, it is the type of calories and where they come from. For example, sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger whereas fat calories induce fullness or satiation.

Sadly, nearly one in three people alive today is overweight or obese, including two out of three adults in the United States, and no country has lowered its obesity rate since 1980. The old adage is true, diets don’t work. Losing weight has to be a permanent lifestyle change.

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