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Content Marketing

Adobe is currently developing a program that can sample your voice and recreate the sound with undetectable accuracy!

What is Adobe VoCo? (Project VoCo)

“When recording voiceovers, dialogue, and narration, wouldn’t you love the option to edit or insert a few words without the hassle of recreating the recording environment or bringing the voiceover artist in for another session? #VoCo allows you to change words in a voiceover simply by typing new words.”

Adobe states it pretty clearly in their statement above.

Whatch the video below to see how Adobe Project VoCo works.

Adobe VoCo

Concerns About This Platform

Some journalism, risk and ethical experts are concerned with the development of this voice reproduction and manipulation product.

  • Faking statements to draw more journalistic attention.
  • Tricking people into taking action. Think the Nigerian email scams on a much more realistic scale with spoofed phone numbers and someone on the other end that sounds exactly like your mom!
  • Financial Security. Some firms use voice print technology as a security screen.

These are just a few of the concerns they have with Adobe’s Project VoCo.

But Adobe states that they are taking measures to allow for validation within the files that would detect if something was real or not at a commercial level. *but this still leaves it open against the average Joe / Jane

Competitors to Adobe VoCo

While audio manipulation is nothing new. Making it easy / simple is. And making it “Good” is as well.

Google’s Deepmind has a product titled WaveNet that is also constructing and simulating speech constructs.
You can view more of that here: https://deepmind.com/blog/wavenet-generative-model-raw-audio/

While Google isn’t recreating the voice of a specific user, they are certainly constructing a highly intelligent speech modeler that if coupled with mimicking technology could be indistinguishable as being computer generated or human to the typical ear.

Project VoCo & Voice Mimicking Use Cases

As Adobe points out, it can easily be used for audio books, podcasts, and voice over talent.
For us this is extremely valuable as a customer service application.

Imagine an intelligent system that knows what you purchased, what your issue is, collects your personal profile information, can detect your emotion from your voice pattern and engages with you in an efficient and emotionally connected way.
And the whole time the person on the phone thinks they are speaking with an actual human being.

This takes the workflows we create today to a whole new level!
Coding in emotional triggers, PII (personally identifiable information) gets tied to your emotional profile.
I have to admit this is pretty exciting stuff.

While not available for use yet, we are working on projects like this to make how we interact across business applications more efficient and profitable.

Check out some of the comprehensive ways we are working in content marketing by Clicking Here –> http://acumenstudio.com/content-marketing-agency/

Mobile video is changing everything.
We’ve gone from passively consuming video to interacting with it in deeper, more personal ways.

Twitter is a place where people come to see what’s happening. It’s always been mobile, and always been live. That’s why we’ve seen video take off on the platform – creating a new world of opportunities for brands.

Here are a couple video stats

  • 220x increase in video views on Twitter over the past 12 months
  • 6x more video shares than photo shares on Twitter
  • Click below for all video stats and case studies

Download the Full PDF Here: http://acumenstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Acumen-Studio-Video-on-Twitter.pdf

These 7 Online Marketing Trends for B2B Companies and Business Owners Are Game Changers

In the Internet age, there is no such thing as stagnation; the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Rather than be intimidated by new marketing practices or dismiss them as trends which aren’t built to last (don’t be the guy who thought Facebook was just a fad!), prepare for the future and determine which specific approaches can help your business explode in 2017, leaving your competition in the dust.

  1. Data Visualization Tools – marketers are obsessed with all things data, but if they can’t explain what the data means, then what’s the point? In order to explain with quantitative information who your business’s customers are, why they want your product and when, and what needs to be said to them to build a relationship, data visualization tools are starting to be used to interpret large amounts of numerical information. This is a huge opportunity for you as a business owner and marketer to tap into possible new customer segments as well as build upon your current foundation. Just remember, in the words of Orbitz Media’s Andy Crestodina, “You don’t have to be big to use big data to make better decisions.” (not sure if you want to link out to other pages or not, but I like the quote)
  2. Dense Content – in a world where every business has a Facebook page, constantly sharing updates and posts, it has become enormously difficult to get your message to stand out in crowded newsfeeds. Savvy marketers have realized this, and now make every word of every line in their content count, providing instant value for their customer. In other words, don’t post for the sake of posting; post something worthwhile, something that will help!
  3. More Live Video – people have been screaming for more live video for years. And with the diversity of platforms which make videos available, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram, among others, there is no doubt a specific medium exists for your business to share your message with your audience. This is where using search and social data to determine where your possible customers are is crucial for executing a video strategy which will actually provide ROI.
  4. E-mail Marketing Isn’t Dead – e-mail is about to make a massive comeback, and if used wisely, will enable tremendous growth. Now that many marketing automation platforms integrate with most others, as a marketer you can use behavioral insights from your social and content campaigns to develop customer-centric messages which will resonate with your audience and lead to a substantially higher conversion rate.
  5. The Referral Model – don’t be scared of online customer reviews! Rather, monitor reviews and actually respond to them. In fact, if you invite your customers to review your business, you’ll not only get a chance to improve your customer service but also see increased traffic to your website and/or physical location, leading to more sales!
  6. A “Post-Fact” World – marketers have known for a long time that emotions matter when making purchasing decisions, but now the rest of the world has caught up. Instead of relying on statistics and data alone to make the sale, you’ll need to frame these insights in a way which will make your customer feel a specific way.
  7. Content Becomes More Than “Content” – as noted earlier, lots of businesses haven’t tapped into the full potential of content, and simply use it as something just to say they have it. Smart business owners and marketers will now use their content to solve customer support problems, develop engagement with employees to enhance retention, organize the sales process, among a wide variety of other uses.

In short, there are a lot of different ways a business can use new tools and trends to effectively market themselves. In order to understand what the correct route to take is and which platforms are worth spending time on to spur growth for you, follow our blog for more updates as we tackle pressing issues in the digital space. Or just leave us a note! We’re always happy to lend a helping hand.

Private Equity Firms are marketing online more and more, but few are doing a decent job of it and even fewer are seeing success from it.

Our experience has shown there are several key reasons for this.

  1. They Don’t Have the Skills In-House
  2. They Don’t Have a Strategy
  3. They Don’t Take it Seriously

These reasons should make sense to everyone, but as it relates to digitally marketing private equity firms the typical strategies that most marketers speak on are more aligned to consumer marketing, or where the company needs to have a high public visibility.
For Private Equity Firms it is more important to gain the intelligence of how your targets behave online to create a personalized approach and identify how and where they seek advice.

This is a story of how one Private Equity Firm Won Big Online
A Private Equity firm who focused primarily on B2B manufacturing companies wanted to increase dealflow but felt they had exhausted the personal and professional network of the team.

So the question was, “How do we get ourselves in front of new deals?”.

They Took to the Streets

The Managing Directors of the firm started calling on anyone they had met in the past who could potentially refer them to deals. Attorneys, CPA’s, Money Managers, etc.

While some seemed promising and the likelihood of deals in the future would likely come, they would also come slowly and with no predictability.

They Attended Conferences and Trade Shows

Another easy idea was to get in front of company owners and board members at trade shows and conferences. This too is great and can build trust quickly with potential targets.

The problem with this is that it is not scalable and again can result in slow acquisition.

What About Marketing?

For some reason many Private Equity Firms don’t participate in marketing.
Maybe it’s the rules that you must deal with from FINRA and the SEC.
Maybe it’s a belief that it doesn’t work.

But this firm decided that it was worth a try.

After looking at options and talking to many different agencies, they decided that digital marketing would be their best choice.

They came to this decision based on the fact that they could start finding businesses who were actually looking for growth opportunities which are closer to converting as deals and they could target and track the people and companies they would like to do business with.

What were the results?

The firm decided to optimize their website for search and for conversion.
They started doing content marketing focused on drawing in new business opportunities directly from owners, boards and deal makers.
They used paid ads and retargeting to stay in front of their prospects.
They tracked and measured the activity to identify high value contacts.

All of these actions resulted in 20% higher deal flow volume than their record year and a 25% reduction in time to close on those new inbound deals.

This resulted in Millions of dollars in new revenue and a greater profile / status as a solid firm in that particular sector.

You can read more on Private Equity Marketing here: http://acumenstudio.com/private-equity-marketing/

We’ve worked on many campaigns for business coaches and consultants over the years, giving them digital marketing strategies, doing audits and market research.
In every engagement we both commented on how similarly we solved problems for organizations.
Most of the time organizations look for help in times of transition or change, to fix issues that continue to come up, or they need to add new skills to their team.

How do Marketing Agencies & Business Coaches Handle Organizational Development?

Let’s touch on each of the areas listed above.

Manage transitions

Moving into a new phase of your business typically generates anxiety.
Both Marketing Agencies and Business Coaches will ask about the challenges you are up against and can help you zero in on what and how to change to go beyond them.
For the marketing agency this could be adding to the content mix for generating greater visibility and for a business or leadership coach this could be creating an 90-day action plan.

Fix recurrent issues

Sometimes the same problem keeps happening over and over, but every thing you do to try and fix it doesn’t work.
For a marketing agency you may find yourself creating standard reports if the issue was discovered to be inaccurate data transformation.
For a business coach this could mean delegating weekly meeting governance to someone other than the department head when a meeting is continually dominated by the same person and nothing gets accomplished.

Add new skills

A good example here is the need to master complex subject matter or pursue new strategies.
For a digital marketing agency this could be training an in-house team on how to execute an ongoing SEO program, or taking over the role completely.
For a business or executive coach this could mean teaching a new manager better negotiation skills to deal with stressful confrontations in the workplace.

In many cases, caveats will obviously apply.
Also beware of the agency or business coach that has overly rigid and inflexible processes.
While sometimes these sound great (because it makes things seem easier), the result many times is a sub par outcome.

If You are having a complex issue with your Digital Marketing then contact us today by filling out the form at the bottom of this page or calling us at the number on the top of the page.

For the 18 years that I (John Bracamontes) have done work online and in the digital marketing space, not once had I ever submitted work to be recognized as a job well done.
My opinion was that the work spoke for itself, because I drove leads, and leads meant new sales, and new sales meant higher revenue for my clients.

 

“Why Would I Need An Award To Show Greatness?”

 
Is how I thought.

I’ve seen over the years other agencies share in the successes of their teams and genuinely promote how great their clients are, which began to soften my perspective on the benefit of awards and recognition for the work outside of its result.

I realized that uniting with a sense of pride on what you do for others, recognizing the value and celebrating together is massively powerful.

So this year, Acumen submitted one entry in the St. Louis Business Marketing Association’s B2B Marketing Excellence Awards.

That night the team was recognized for the work we did (and do), we had fun and celebrated together, celebrated with others and set a precedent for the future of the agency.

No longer will we hide our wins and pride for the value we bring to those who choose to work with us!

And Thanks to Kopytek.com for being such an amazing group to work with!

At this point you should already realize that social media isn’t just a place where friends and family connect, share photos and like posts.

Social has become a repository of knowledge, similar to the search engines, but more affinity driven by relationships and trusted sources.

If you want to know who to use for internet law, who can help you with an ESOP or what company is building quality apps, then social is a great place to get real feedback and reviews from people who have ACTUALLY used those services or know their work.

A B2B Social Media Strategy

Understanding how your target customers are using social media is key to gaining visibility, providing education to and engaging with these targets.

  1. Customers are asking their network for recommendations
  2. They are qualifying your company on social media
  3. These targets are educating themselves on your products & services

Has Anyone Heard of this Company?

A go to question asked by many business owners, executives, directors, buyers, managers, etc.
This is very powerful.

If an executive reaches out to their network asking for personal feedback on a company and one of their peers responds with good things to say, then you are on your way to landing new business.

While not every business will get a personal recommendation, if you have been marketing yourself well, then someone will at least know of you and respond with something like “I’ve seen this company and they look like they know what they are doing.”.
This is the next best thing, because you have built a small amount of social capital and trust with this target.

This stage of discovery is very important and completes the infinite loop of growth through marketing, which you can see clearly in our content marketing funnel (which is more of an hourglass), where past customers become salesmen for your business.

Who Are You Really?

Once a customer has been made aware of your business, whether it was from a referral on social media or they got nothing on social and asked the wise search engine Google, they will absolutely look your company up on social media.
Again this is a critical B2B Social Media step.

While the majority of B2B product & services companies are served well on LinkedIn, it is important to understand that these same customer targets have social profiles on many platforms and will look to find you where they are at in the moment (this could be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest in addition to LinkedIn).
Plus, you will have a more diverse result in the search engines with a cross-platform social media presence. More results, Knowledgegraph inclusions, image results, Twitter feed, etc.

These customers will look to see if you are a legitimate business and size you up to see if you are a good fit.
Questions like “Are they too big?”, “Are they too small?”, “Do they think like I think?”, and many more. This is where being clear on your own brand and business is important, because it will qualify buyers for you in a very efficient way, driving better leads into your sales funnel.

At this point two main things will happen.
A customer will contact you via phone, form submission or email (they will find this info on your social profiles, if you have built them out completely).
Or the customer will educate themselves more on a specific product or service.

How Will Your Product or Service Help Me?

This is what most businesses think of as soon as they hear B2B Social Media or Social Media Strategy.
And rightfully so, because it is so critical.

Customers need to understand:

  • What problem you solve
  • What you sell / solution you provide
  • How it works
  • Why it fits their needs
  • Why you are better or different
  • Your process

Social Media is a great place to get this clarifying, compelling and enlightening content in front of prospective buyers.
These customers are comparing you to your competitors and the more you can educate them, the better chance you have of winning that business.

While you will want this content to primarily live on your website, social is the channel you will distribute this educational material to ensure it gets seen and gets the buyer back to your site where you can convert them or reach back out and communicate in other ways.

Types of B2B Content for Social Media

  • Blog Posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks
  • One Sheeters
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Research Papers
  • Webinars
  • Case Studies
  • Podcasts

Depending on your product or service the mix of B2B content types will differ and the tactical strategy for each channel can be tailored as well.

B2B Social Media Research & Tactics

As with any marketing you should conduct research to identify key information to that will guide the marketing efforts. B2B Social Media is no different.

Our recommendation is to take the research beyond social as well by using Google search query data (the keywords) and pair it with social media research on your target customers social platforms, including the less thought about forums and groups such as Quora and LinkedIn groups.

Creating an inventory of who your target prospects is very important and taking this even further by identifying the stakeholders in those companies and engaging with their personal accounts on social will drive massive results.

This leads us to a few specific tactics that we recommend for a superior B2B Social Media Strategy.

Following and engaging with the business accounts of your prospective customers, the individual accounts of the decision makers of those businesses and the same for your current customers will create much-needed visibility, awareness, affinity and trust with the organizations that you want to do business with.

  • Like, Comment & Share Posts
  • Favorite, Reply & Retweet
  • Like & Comment using Video

This exposes you to the businesses you want to work with and gets your customers talking about you more, while at the same time you are indirectly getting in front of other potential customers who also engage with the same companies you are targeting.

This works like a charm and very few businesses are doing this!

You can learn more about our approach to social media here: http://acumenstudio.com/social-media-marketing-agency/

How Do I Know If It’s Working?

To be 100% Honest, this isn’t easy for most businesses.
Tracking, monitoring, analyzing, measuring and reporting to identify an ROI on your B2B marketing and social media efforts takes using platforms that can help you measure impact, attribution, and sales.
Most businesses are not equipped to do this (as are most marketers!).

You will either need to educate yourself on using platform specific social media analytics, social media tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, SproutSocial, etc. or hire an agency to help you with this.

What we can tell you is that social media for B2B companies Pays Off BIG!

 

Download a Social Media Case Study Below to Learn More

Or, You can give us a call now at 866-357-7422 to talk.

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Not really, a Creative Director will still be needed, just not in the same way it is today.

A recent article on AdAge.com spoke on how most ad & creative agencies are 5 – 10 years behind the current state of marketing’s capabilities. And the Creative Director works as it did back then where they create a few ideas, hand off the ideas and comps, then call it a day.

Guess what? That’s Dead!

Here’s the deal.
Whether creative agencies want to admit it or not, their decisions on what to create are driven by data. They ask the client questions and create something they feel meets the client’s expectations.
We get it, they want to please their client.

Here’s what’s missing, The Customer!

Best case scenario is that the client knows their customer so well that the data they give you is solid. Much of the time it needs to be supplemented with current customer behavioral & search data.
It is important to look at what customers are searching for online and find out where & how they qualify products or services they are looking to buy.
This will inform you on how to engage and what content to create for maximum exposure and conversion.

Back to the Creative Director role

Not only will the Creative Director need 3rd party customer data to inform creative decisions, but they also need to consider more technical aspects of design such as UX and UI as it relates to a customer’s motivations, needs, use of the medium and conversion optimization.

Even more, this Director will need to be aware of how to integrate all 3rd party data into their design process.
For example, variables in ads that are dynamic and will modify based on weather conditions in any given geography. Imagine a Starbucks ad that changes once it starts raining in St. Louis to show someone having fun in the rain with a cool umbrella and holding their favorite venti-sized drink as they smile & splash a small puddle. But it is totally different when it is dry and overly windy.
I’m weeping as a write this at how beautiful this level of personalization is 😉

We are advocates of moving towards a more informed creative process (see our Digital Marketing Audit), do this ourselves and want everyone to follow suit.

Follow the leader (we like it at the front of the pack)!

*Ad Age Article Here: http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/creative-director-role-exist-10-years/305623/

In July 2016, Smartphone apps accounted for 50% of all U.S. digital media time!
This means that future months are going to be higher than 50% and solidifies the strength mobile has in the United States.

Another report showed the top 15 apps (by visits) in July 2016, which is another thing that really got us excited as Digital Marketers.
Check out the list below and we’ll explain why.

Top 15 Apps by Visits in July 2016

  • Facebook: 149,657,000
  • Facebook Messenger: 131,609,000
  • YouTube: 115,351,000
  • Google Maps: 100,347,000
  • Google Search: 90,260,000
  • Google Play: 88,625,000
  • Gmail: 80,461,000
  • Pandora Radio: 76,781,000
  • Instagram: 73,546,000
  • Amazon Mobile: 71,427,000
  • Apple Music: 68,002,000
  • Apple Maps: 60,956,000
  • Pokemon Go: 54,535,000
  • Snapchat: 54,113,000
  • Pinterest: 51,291,000

Why this is so great for Digital Marketers

You’ll notice that Facebook, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Search, Gmail, Instagram, Snpachat and Pinterest are all listed.
Obviously, the high use of social media platforms is huge for marketers. Social is strong and continuing to grow.
But the app use of Google Search is massive for search & content marketing and Google Maps is huge for local search & optimization

YouTube remaining high on the list is a strong signal that video continues to be a huge preference for users across the U.S.

Pokemon Go is a little bit of an anomaly since it just launched and got so much PR hype, but still great news for mobile, marketers, apps and gaming.

Even more interesting is that these apps are platform gateways.
Few on the list are transactional or solely functional, they connect you to networks of people and information.

Our Perspective

Very happy to see these numbers and as Digital Marketers we are very excited about the future of what we get to create and optimize!
Platform integration will be mandatory, user behavior will be easier to measure, interactions can be even more personalized and those same interactions can be created more intimately.

Sources
http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Smartphone-Apps-Are-Now-50-of-All-US-Digital-Media-Time-Spent
http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Pokemon-GO-Captures-55-Million-Mobile-Users-in-July-Ranking-13th-Among-All-Apps