Strategy vs. Tactics | Online Marketing Newsletter | February 2014

Executing tactics with no cohesive strategy leads to lackluster customer engagement. Empathy must be part of the digital marketers’ pathway to creating dynamic relevant content that resonates with consumers. This month, we highlight a much discussed post by Lee on strategy vs. tactics, which was also the #1 reader favorite for January.

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This Month’s Top Online Marketing News

Goodbye Facebook Sponsored Stories
vergeEffective April 9, 2014, Facebook will drop Sponsored ad units. Sponsored Stories were one of Facebook’s more controversial ad units — essentially, they would repackage some of your actions on Facebook and let advertisers sell them to your friends without your permissions. In light of a class-action lawsuit in 2011, which they settled for $20 million, I’m sure they are glad to see them go.

Instagram Fastest-Growing App Among Top 10 In 2013
mediapostFacebook was the No. 1 app overall in 2013, but its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram was the fastest-growing app among the top 10. The growth in social media — especially among teens — is shifting to single-purpose or messaging apps, including Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Whisper and others. How Instagram’s growth translates into ad sales should start to become clear this year, with advertising in the app just launched at the end of 2013.

Study: Only 4.7% of a Brand’s Fan Base Generate 100% of its Social Referrals
technoratiYet, amazingly, most brands are ignoring the best asset they have for influencing others – the 4.7 percent of their fan base that make up their brand army. The study shows that this influential group can enjoy 176 times the reach of an active engaged fan that is interacting with your posts and campaigns. When you are a large brand, this group can number in the millions. Those companies who identify advocates amongst their fan base have increased their influencer armies from 4.7 percent to over 40 percent.

Google Killed 350 Million ‘Bad Ads’ in 2013
search engine watchIn 2013, Google removed 350 million bad AdWords ads as part of its efforts to prevent abuse of AdWords by both advertisers and AdSense publishers. Although they don’t detail much about why those particular ads were removed, the most common reasons ads tend to get removed are for things like products that violates AdWords terms, ad copy issues (such as using all caps or multiple punctuation marks), or having a display URL that doesn’t match the destination URL (such as the case of affiliate ads).

Twitter Adds Targeting By Email Address, User IDs
tech crunchOne of the additional ways to create audiences rolled out yesterday, allowing marketers to use their own lists of customer email addresses to retarget them on Twitter or use CRM database records previously stored with an ad partner. Similar to how Custom Audiences work on Facebook, email addresses would be sent to Twitter as hashes — unreadable alphanumeric strings — for matching against its database to find the appropriate users.

Top Posts from the TopRank® Online Marketing Blog

Strategy vs. Tactics. Does Your Digital Marketer Really Know the Difference?
It’s clear that companies are executing tactics with no cohesive strategy to tie their marketing activities together. Even companies that are doing a good job of curating useful content across their social channels and blog often do little to engage those audiences. In this hard-hitting post, Lee Odden asks, Why does this happen? Is it a lack of resources? Is it a lack of marketing funds? “No. It’s a lack of vision. It’s the absence of a strategy. It is marketing without empathy for the customer experience,” he writes.

5 Ways to Write Great Content Without Writing a Lot
We all consume content in different ways. Though text may be great for many, there are other ways people look to consume too. While we might not always be up for writing out every post, there are still a ton of options for great sharable posts that will resonate with your readers. Check out these text alternatives and let us know what you think.

What You Need to Know About Mobile Content Marketing: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices
Successful mobile marketing is all about context. But what kind of content makes sense on a mobile device vs. the content marketing being published online? What effect does mobile content have on creating compelling customer experiences and how does mobile fit with other online marketing efforts like SEO, social and ads? Find out when you read this post.

Content Plus Social: Interview With Amy Higgins of Concur
Concur is an automated expense tracking solution that is growing by leaps and bounds. This interview focuses on Amy, an ex-Googler, who is now Concur’s Content and Social Media Manager. Learn from her unique and valuable insights as an accomplished content and social media marketer.

How to Get Thousands of Facebook Fans in 6 Months
There are a number of steps your business can take to attract thousands of active people into your Facebook community. Social media consultant Andrea Vahl presented such a plan at NMX, focusing on the harmonious relationship between content strategy and efficient Facebook page design. Here are 5 easy steps to skyrocket your Facebook brand page engagement.

Fun Fact


TopRank® in the News

Lee Odden Keynote at NMX Most Popular
Hashtracking, a powerful tracking tool for hashtags, ranked Lee Odden as the most popular mention of the New Media Expo conference held in Las Vegas last month.

Marketing in the Express Lane
Lee joins 14 experts to share marketing insights for 2014 in this slide deck featured on industry on the blog published by Oracle | Eloqua.

NMX Live Blogging Featured on PR Website
A recent blog post from TopRank was republished on and outlines five ways to create content without writing much, summarizing Marcie Hill’s session at the New Media Expo conference.

Comments From Our Community Blog

Below is a small sampling of the numerous comments from On Strategy vs. Tactics. Does Your Digital Marketer Really Know the Difference? Lee really struck a chord with this one! Feel free to join the conversation.

“Good to see you sharing this information Lee. It certainly hits the nail on the head. There is a huge ability for companies to take advantage of digital marketing if they have the vision and clarity on what it is they want to accomplish. Great article and I look forward to sharing.” – Lynn Brown

“I am glad you touched on ‘self-promotion’ which is perhaps my biggest concern for businesses that only toot their own horns rather than participate in a larger community. All satisfying relationships are reciprocal in some way — offer something beyond “we are great and here is why,” allow for exchanges; acknowledge those who take the time to comment. “Too many people see social networks merely as another soapbox — big mistake!” – Lahle Wolfe

“Great article, Lee. It’s so important to clarify what strategy is and the need for it. When you say that the marketing people that don’t take the time to develop a strategy do so because lack of vision etc., I would like to offer a slightly different perspective. I’ve worked on strategy with a number of organizations and found that one of the biggest reasons why they lack a strategy is fear. Because a key aspect of a strategy is that it forces you to make decisions, to define your brand, to identify target groups (and not target everyone), to select tactics, channels, KPI’s etc etc. You have to commit yourself, and as long as you don’t do that you can get pinned down or criticized if things don’t work out the way you planned it. This scares a lot of people. And one of the most important things we can do as advisers is to help our clients look past this fear – to understand, for example, that a brand that tries to speak to everyone really doesn’t reach anyone at all. Thanks.” – Pontus Staunstrup

More comments on the blog:

“Great article as always, Nicolette. An effective mobile content strategy demands an understanding of your audience’s mobile usage. Marketers like to imagine they know their customers. But the reality of mobile usage may differ from your perception.” – Barbara Mckinney, from What You Need to Know About Mobile Content Marketing: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

“I absolutely love this, Lee! Great work. One other thing I would add is to NOT be afraid of giving away knowledge. While some absorb the learning and go do it themselves, it also bolsters your credibility by proving you REALLY DO know what you are doing. That credibility and the resulting influence it builds will completely negate what you feel is risk.” – Carrie Morgan, from 10 Marketing Lessons from 10 Years of Blogging @LeeOdden Keynote at #NMX 2014

“Great post; thanks for the tips. I think that even in 2014 people use Web 2.0 tools to blast messages out in 20th century style. For me engagement is the word of the day; engage, build community, find brand advocates, and you will have online brand reach.” Bill, from 5 Tips on Crowdsourcing Your Brand’s Influence #NMX 

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