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Key Findings August 2013

Boost Sales with Content Strategies that Educate and Entertain

educational contentBrands that creatively use content marketing to educate and entertain may be choosing the road less traveled, but they are reaping the rewards. And this goes for B2B brands as well.

According to Content Marketing Institute, the more companies educate or entertain through content marketing strategies, the more customers and prospects don’t mind being sold to. Campaigns targeted to meet customer needs in this way help build a trusted and emotional connection.

Take IBM’s “CityOne,” launched in 2010. This online game has challenged more than 20,000 players from more than 130 countries to solve problems in banking, retail, energy and water. Each scenario offers opportunities to understand the real-world implications of business decision-making. Key takeaway: simulation gaming may be a powerful new content strategy to engage, educate and influence. 

In another case study, 17 engineers from Indium blog valuable content and videos, and answer questions about a variety of engineering topics (e.g., how to set up and operate the Indium sulfamate plating bath). Thanks to the company’s “From One Engineer to Another” blog, Indium has seen a 600 percent jump in leads since launching the blog.

Today’s Multiple-Context Brand Interactions Challenge Marketers

Measurement.141942According to Google research, 88% of consumers research products and services extensively before making purchases, consulting about 10.4 sources before making a choice. And as we know, these purchase decisions are increasingly a product of activity across multiple screens and channels.

“Our research shows that while only 14% of marketers consider last-click analysis to be ‘very effective,’ over 50% still use last-click measurement as the biggest influencer for a purchase decision. It remains the industry standard in many places,” a recent Harvard Business Review blog explains. “But consumers now come in contact with your brand in a variety of ways, in multiple contexts, across different channels and screens before that last click. Consumer behavior has evolved, and brands need to as well.”

Since 60% of online purchases happen after multiple brand interactions, marketers need to experiment relentlessly with campaigns — developing different creative concepts and copy for consumers in different geographies; testing various graphics, messaging and timing carefully measuring which ones perform best. It is also critical for brands to stay agile and be prepared to act quickly on insights. More broadly, smart businesses should integrate data platforms, such as CRM and in-store systems, with digital marketing strategies.

Real World CCS Projects Offer Reason to Believe


Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) still seems like a distant “if-only” dream to most of us. But, two pilot projects exploring the viability of this process with a twist, could ultimately bring this important technology to reality.

According to Judi Greenwald, vice president for technology for the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, “CCS is a critical technology for reconciling our continued dependence on fossil fuels with the imperative to protect the global environment. And our best hope at the moment for CCS advancement is carbon capture, utilization and storage,” which takes captured carbon and uses it for enhanced oil recovery.

Supported by U.S. Department of Energy, an Air Products’ CCS project started in late 2012, captures carbon dioxide from a refinery and then uses it to enhance oil recovery. A similar project is also under way at Southern Co.’s  Kemper power plant in Mississippi.

Greenwald testified before a House energy panel recently pointing out that coal, oil and natural gas fuel 80% of the world’s energy use. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects fossil fuels to continue providing at least 65% of this country’s electricity consumption in 2040, with 35% coming from coal.

“Reality Mining” App Alerts Docs of Illness

reality mining appA novel new smartphone app can alert healthcare providers when the behavior of patients with diabetes or mental illness indicates a potential medical problem.

The early warning system relies on technology that is increasingly standard on smartphones — global positioning systems and accelerometers that track user location and movement. The app can look for signs that something in the user’s normal routine has changed. For a depressive, the app can tell if the user is not taking phone calls or is staying at home. If a diabetic shows signs of lethargy, a nurse can contact the patient to remind him or her to take medication.

Spun out of MIT’s Media Lab in 2011, inventors of the app hope it will save lives and help patients’ control medical costs that can occur when patients stop taking medication and must be treated by a physician or hospital.

The app is currently available for the Android and the iPhone, but must be activated by a hospital or healthcare company. It is being tested by about 14 medical centers in the U.S. So far, patients like the app because they have quicker access to caregivers. Doctors are looking to expand tests of the app to patients with heart problems, chronic back pain and gastrointestinal tract disorders.


Business to Business

  • Americans watched 20.1 billion online video ads in June 2013, up 27% from the previous month. (comScore; 703-438-2000)
  • 85% of business decision-makers said at least one social media channel is very important or important when making technology purchase decisions, according to a new study by Forrester Research. The top response was support forums or discussion forums (63%), followed by virtual events or virtual trade shows (47%); online videos (46%); LinkedIn (40%); blogs (36%); professional social networking sites, not including LinkedIn or Twitter (35%); Twitter (19%); and Facebook (19%).  (
  • Social media users are more likely to use Pinterest than Facebook (41% vs. 37%) to share items posted on e-commerce websites. (Gigya; 650-353-7320)
  • 89% of B2B media users rate face-to-face event attendance the top platform in terms of success in creating awareness of new products or services among existing customers. Face-to-face event sponsorship (76%) was next, followed closely by sponsored white papers (75%), and then by sponsored video on B2B platforms (69%), 3rd-party webinars and email newsletter advertising (each at 64%), and print advertising (63%). (
  • According to BtoB’s “Email Marketing: An Established Channel Evolves,” 47% of marketers responding said improving their email programs hinged on increasing their ability to deliver content relevant to specific segments of their audiences. That was ahead of such other needs as improving lead nurturing (43%) and list segmentation (30%), increasing personalization (25%) and analyzing data (24%). (

Brand Strategy

  • Video is the fastest growing of any digital ad format, with marketers attracted to the branding possibilities of video and more consumers watching digital video content each year. Spending is predicted to grow robustly in coming years, and by 2017 will account for nearly 15% of all U.S. digital ad spending. (
  • Smartphone penetration stands at about 60% of the U.S. mobile market, according to new figures from comScore and Nielsen. The latest mobileLens data from comScore indicates that smartphone penetration was 59% during the 3-month period ending in June (Q2), flat from May, while Nielsen says smartphone owners accounted for 62% of mobile subscribers during Q2. (
  • According to a 2013 survey of U.S. marketing professionals by Pivot Conference, consumer engagement and brand lift were the No.1 goals of social media marketing, each cited by 67% of respondents. (
  • About 7% of home broadband users with pay -TV services say they’re likely to cancel their pay-TV service in the next six months. Even more likely are those with TVs connected to the Internet. (
  • 84.7% of consumers cite color as a primary reason they buy a particular product. (


  • Experts have divergent views on the economic and technical feasibility of commercial-scale CCS, but everyone agrees that it won’t be cheap: up to 40% of a power station’s energy could end up being used to run the CCS scrubbing and transport systems, and estimates for retro-fitting Britain’s aged power stations are as high as £1bn each. (
  • Well stimulation has been practiced in drilling oil and natural gas wells in the U.S. since 1949, without a reported incident of groundwater contamination. A 2009 study by the Groundwater Protection Council, a non-profit organization of state groundwater regulators, found the chance for contamination of drinking water sources from the well stimulation process to be one in 200 million.(
  • Light-Emitting Diodes—LEDs will last up to 25 years (based upon usage of 3hr/day) and save 75%, or more, in energy costs—but they cost more to buy than the other choices. Even though LEDs today cost around $25 per bulb, they’ll still save around $150 over their 25-year lifetime. As they become more common, their
    prices are expected to go way down. (
  • The average first named storm typically arrives around July 9th, however this has occurred as early as April and as late as middle August. The average first hurricane forms in early August, however the season’s first hurricane has formed as early as the first week in June and as late as early September. (
  • 28% of beach and ocean debris is cigarette butts. (


  • Extensive research suggest that foods containing antioxidants, like fish, broccoli and green tea, neutralize free radicals that may play a role in causing cancer and can also prevent the spread of melanoma. (
  • Today the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, nearly 6 cups a week (about 150 pounds a year) mostly in the form of processed foods and beverages whereas 200 years ago Americans only at 2 pounds of sugar a year. (
  • Fiber may help slow the progression of prostate cancer. Phytic acid, a nondigestible carbohydrate found in fiber-rich foods, slowed the growth of prostate cancer tumors in mice in a study out of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, published in Cancer Prevention Research in January 2013. Though phytic acid didn’t stop the tumors from developing in the first place, it significantly slowed their progression and prevented them from advancing to an aggressive stage. (
  • A new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals 43-plus drugs are risky when taken within 72 hours of eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice causing reactions ranging from fainting to sudden death. (
  • Obesity is a bigger health crisis globally than hunger, and the leading cause of disabilities around the world, according the British medical journal The Lancet. Nearly 500 researchers from 50 countries compared health data from 1990 through 2010 for the Global Burden of Disease report, revealing what they call a massive shift in global health trends. The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990. (

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