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Our favorite headlines this week: July 31 – August 4

Well this year is certainly flying by! August is upon us already, which means that many of us are already (or soon will be) in the throes of planning our marketing initiatives for 2018.

With that in mind, our weekly roundup is meant to address some of the larger topics in the marketing world right now. While these four articles might not help you decide which specific tactics to use, they’re focused on provoking thought and inspiring conversation.

And so, in the spirit of conversation, we want to hear from you. As you read each article (or even skim our synopses), feel free to add your thoughts to the comments below or by commenting on Facebook or Twitter.

Have a happy, thoughtful Friday!

 

Mark Ritson: Marketing debate is so polarised it’s hard to be sure of anything

The Takeaway: This is the second time we’ve included a commentary by Mark Ritson in Our Favorite Headlines, and for good reason. Ritson’s columns are thought-provoking, practical, and so darn relatable. In this column, Ritson yearns for the days when when “it depends” was an appropriate answer to the toughest marketing questions; when it was acceptable to be neutral about – or *gasp* unsure of – your stance on a particular marketing topic. 

As big proponents of “it depends”, we agree with Ritson: the vehemence with which many experts defend their stance on topics like brand safety and the question of inbound vs. outbound is frustrating. And, quite frankly, it doesn’t help anyone do their job any better. So let’s all agree here and now – it’s okay to be unsure or to only partially agree about the right answer to a marketing issue. What’s most important is finding the answer that make sense for your business and your clients.

 

How to bridge the gap between brand and direct response marketing

The Takeaway: Spoiler alert: You won’t find many definitive answers in this article. Rather, author Alison Lohse’s main message is that the key to bridging brand and direct response marketing is metrics –though the specific metrics are yet to be determined. So instead of a true how-to-article, we’re thinking of this as a call-to-action for marketers to 1) get creative when thinking about metrics and 2) open themselves (and their teams) up to the idea of working with people who specialize in data. Marketing is constantly evolving, but that doesn’t always mean adding new channels – this new (perhaps most necessary) evolution means better understanding what we’ve already been doing for years.

 

Influencer marketers could learn a thing or two from direct mail

The Takeaway: There’s no doubt that “influencer marketing” is more than just a buzzword in 2017. A combination of celebrity endorsement and word-of-mouth-on-steroids, it’s an effective way for brands to share their products/services with a broad audience. But, much like traditional advertising, influencer marketing by way of celebrities lacks the personal, targeted approach that is becoming more and more necessary in a world already oversaturated with content.

So how do brands get around that? Taryn Williams of TheRight.Fit proposes taking a more local approach to influencer marketing – much like how things are done in the direct mail world. If you plan to experiment with influencer marketing, consider starting with local influencers whose audiences consist of smaller, targeted groups in your own community. While you won’t reach as many people, your message will resonate with a larger percentage of your audience – driving your response rate, conversion rate, and overall return-on-investment.

 

How human creativity plays a role in AI

The Takeaway: It’s true: the rise of artificial intelligence in business is both exciting and scary at the same time. What we like about this blog post is how it relates the very real positive effects AI may bring to the marketing world. Perhaps unlike other fields, AI in marketing has the potential to expand the role that humans will play, rather than eliminating it. As technology is optimized to take care of menial, time-consuming tasks, marketers will have the potential (and resources) to be more and more creative with their marketing messages, and get back to the roots of communication: engaging with other humans. We think that’s pretty exciting, don’t you?

 

What articles did you find particularly interesting or relevant? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments below!

 

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