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Author: Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher was the Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He runs pop culture site Methods Unsound and you can hound him on Twitter @Christophe_Rock.

Some semi-rational thoughts on Apple, U2 and nefarious marketing practices

Yesterday a new U2 album appeared magically in my iTunes folder and if you’re one of the 500m other iTunes users, it magically appeared in yours too.

Depending on your iCloud settings, it may even be fully downloaded and ready to play on your desktop and your iPhone. Thanks Apple. Thank you very much.

This article is a more level-headed and reasonable version of one I wrote yesterday for my own music website. Let’s see how a nights’ sleep alters my opinion.

6 comments

How Moosejaw's tone of voice creates hilarious multichannel experiences

Last month in my round-up of how seven ecommerce brands use highly persuasive copywriting I covered one of my all time favourite examples.

Moosejaw is a US-based retailer and ecommerce store specialising in outdoor recreation apparel and equipment.

What separates Moosejaw from its competitors is its consistently hilarious and quirky tone of voice that runs through all of its website copy, advertising and customer service channels.

I talked to Moosejaw’s CEO Eoin Comerford and customer service director Chad Caudhill about the importance of brand tone of voice, how it effects the company culture, its perception in the wider ecommerce world and the benefits of being an engaging, off-the-wall brand with bucket load of acerbic charm.

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What is customer lifetime value (CLV) and why do you need to measure it?

In this article I'll ride into the dusty, obfuscated world of marketing phrases, acronyms and buzzwords and try to make sense of it all in the clearest language possible.

Which means I should probably stop using words like ‘obfuscated’.

Following on from yesterday’s guide to single customer view, let’s take a look at customer lifetime value (CLV).

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Is it dawn of the dead for official movie websites?

The very first experience of the internet I ever had was visiting an official movie website. 

In 1997, via a dial-up connection at my girlfriend’s parents’ house and supervised by her pale older brother, I typed in a URL I found in Empire magazine: www.austinpowers.com

It looked exactly as you’d imagine. A static image of Austin Powers with whatever character Liz Hurley played in it (again this was 1997), along with a couple of Flash enabled games, a few still images and the odd 'high quality' screensaver. 

I doubt there was a trailer. If there was, it would have taken three hours to load.

Unfortunately 17 years later things haven’t really improved. Even in this age of parallax scrolling and HTML5-festooned web experiences, most official movie websites are still clunky and follow exactly the same template...

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What is the single customer view and why do you need it?

In which I try to explain a seemingly complicated marketing term in the clearest language possible. 

I ran a rudimentary Google search to see what was out there, and of course the Wikipedia entry is the first result. Now don’t balk at this, in a rare moment for this series of beginner’s guides, I’m going to copy exactly what the Wikipedia page for ‘single customer view’ says…

"A Single Customer View is an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data known by an organisation about its customers."

Uh-huh. Now that’s a little maze of jargon in of itself and being as it also contains the word ‘holistic’ it immediately places itself amongst the very worst buzzwords of the damned.

I’m sure there’s an easier explanation, so let’s make our way through the quagmire.

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Red Bull vs GoPro: taking content marketing to the extreme

It’s the big one. The bout to beat them all: ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’. ‘The Thrilla in Manila’. ‘The Brawl for it All’… These will all seem like mere ‘Fisticuffs in Magaluf’ when this contest is over. 

In the red corner, unsurprisingly… Red Bull, with its commitment to broadcasting the most extreme of escapades to a worldwide audience, including a whopping 3.7m YouTube subscribers and a high concept strategy of putting thrills and spills before energy drink sales.

In the blue corner, strapped head-to-toe in tiny cameras so viewers can witness every single punch in glorious high definition clarity… GoPro, with its intimidating dominance of social video, constant gracing of the top ten biggest brands on YouTube and an effortless ability to marry its products perfectly with its content.

Two giant brands. One arena that can barely contain them both and one glorious winner, turkey-trotting over the shattered bones of its crushed opponent. 

I am but the lowly referee, cowering to avoid the blows, but too fascinated to look away. So let’s take a glance at these titans in the content marketing and social worlds and see which will be crowned the ultimate champion.

Ding ding…

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Three key trends from our B2B Real-Time Marketing Report

Marketing has had to become less planned and much more reactive.

As the consumer lifestyle becomes increasingly ‘always-on’ thanks to our multiple devices and improvements in connectivity, the more we demand rapid and personalised responses from companies we engage with.

Those same consumers are also business people; the always-on lifestyle means that for many of us, we're also 'always-at-work'. Business purchasers can be connected at any time, and make decisions at any time. This means that 'real time' is becoming a practical requirement, no matter what’s being sold or in what environment.

Our brand new B2B Real-Time Marketing Report, in association with Monetate, aims to discover what real time means in B2B markets. The findings hopefully provide a some insight for assessing plans for this year and beyond.

In the full report you will learn: what real time means to B2B customers, how real time is benefitting B2B audiences, the variables of real-time marketing and its associated technology and data. Also the budgets, resources and skills necessary for success in real-time marketing

The report follows on from our previous survey, 2014’s Real Time Marketing Survey Report, where Econsultancy and Monetate surveyed nearly 900 B2C marketers. This time the focus has been narrowed to B2B marketers.

Here's a summary of three key trends identified in the report:

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15 solid gold internet timewasters

Fill your mind with treasures both inconsequential and only slightly inconsequential with our weekly round-up of internet oddities.

How do we manage to uncover so many wonders, when we work so hard during the rest of the week publishing nothing but insightful, well-researched serious content?

Trade secret: we employee ex More magazine writers to ghostwrite our articles. Occasionally the odd ‘sex tips to drive him crazy’ post slips through the net, but so far nobody has seemed to notice.

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Dollar Shave Club’s content marketing strategy since ‘that’ video

You know the one I’m talking about…

The one with the hypnotically charismatic handsome guy with a terrible throw.

The one with the blunt machete, bear suit and single best use of a swear word in any advert ever.

The one you’ve seen highlighted at every single marketing conference you’ve attended since 2012.

No? Really? Fine this one then...

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18 sensational online sound and music experiences

What's that noise?

When so much attention is paid to the visual art of web design and the wonderful possibilities that HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery affords, often sound design is forgotten or overlooked. 

Then again, there are few more annoying things in the online world than obtrusive sound effects or autoplaying music blaring out when you least expect it, especially when you’re likely to be listening to your own choice of music anyway.

Much like in filmmaking, the mark of good sound or scoring in web design is that you don’t necessarily notice it. The sound should complement or enhance the visual, but never upstage it.

What of those sites that make the sound as integral a part of the experience as the visual? What about the sites that say loudly and proudly “put on your headphones and turn it up loud”? Well they demand your listening pleasure.

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Five brands excelling at storytelling

In which I'll be loftily discussing the art of storytelling in a not-so-subtle attempt to justify a squandered film studies degree.

Love or hate the phrase, storytelling as a method of mass communication for brands is here to stay. Stories, anecdotes and metaphors that take an audience on a narrative journey to subtly reveal a branded message along the way are far more memorable and shareable than any brazen sales focused advertisement.

A recent survey by Aesop last month last month asked more than 2,000 people in the UK to rate brands against criteria including brand personality, memorability, credibility and purpose, in order to find out the most popular ‘storytelling’ brand.

The top-level results aren’t particularly surprising. You’ve got Apple in there, as well as McDonalds and Coca-Cola. However there ‘s a small list of brands that have snuck in under the radar to become the fastest rising companies over the last year in terms of storytelling.

Let’s take a look at those brands and see what accounts for their success.

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What is experiential marketing and why do you need it?

Just when you think you’ve gotten to grips with every new phrase or buzzword in the world of digital marketing, another comes along to make you go “uhhhhhh...?”

During my first year at Econsultancy I’ve been making a point of writing beginner’s guides to any new terms or phrases I find particularly baffling, or that I might suspect other people may find baffling too. 

Today I’ll be looking at experiential marketing. A phrase I have repeatedly spell-checked more than any other. But first, some clarification is needed…

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