, Advice
03 August 2012

One Big Reason Your Campaigns Keep Underperforming

There's no need to be modestyour team is backed by conversion masterminds.   You gamify social media to promote your webinars; you track and close unqualified leads from LinkedIn groups in baker's dozens; you're a distinguished .ppt-editor-in-chief, presiding over a small law library's worth of whitepapers. No question - your team's blogging and shaking with the best of them.  And recently, the results are consistently, diligently, overwhelmingly average.  Wait, what?
 
Welcome to today's digital content arms race, where ecosystems like Twitter are pushing information latency to all-time lows at the same time that theyre enabling outbound communication volumes to swell into the zetabytes.  When every manager in your corporate function reads and responds to the same instructional content from HootSuite, HubSpot and SEOMoz, it takes real daring to be different.  
 
Thats why I dare you to embrace a small but meaningful metric for digital content appeal that might just break you out of your retweet rut.  Here's how it works: the next time you're committing time or budget toward a customer-facing content piece or event, look at your objectives and your finished product and ask yourself one question: "how enjoyable is this?" If your answer is "it's not" or "I have no idea," rethink your investment.  
 
Simple punchline? Sure, but enjoyability can be a philosophical game-changer for businesses looking to stand out and define their brand in the >$40 billion digital advertisement space.  I continue to be surprised during conversations with major consumer brands by how many don't have any metrics or appreciation for "user enjoyment in outbound marketing, PR and sales.  In most cases, fun is either outsourced to agencies or de-prioritized amidst aggressive campaign deployments, multi-channel initiatives and rigid brand guidelines.  This is typically a mistake, particularly for smaller, less established brands.
 
 
For one, barriers-to-entry are effectively non-existent for creators and distributors of entertaining, digital branded-content.  For example, YouTube-quality video can be replicated below $500/minute by brands, while higher production value content can be efficiently procured starting at $1,000/minute and up. Our Blades Are F***ing Great, a 94-second video made by Dollar Shave Club with less than $5,000 has subsequently generated over five million YouTube views, 43,000 Facebook likes and 15,000 customers for the fledgling discount razor retailer.
 
Higher on the spending spectrum, two recent iterations of Proctor and Gambles recurring, character-driven smash Old Spice Guy racked up over 45 million online views. Put something really enjoyable in high-traffic areas and not only do people find it, they remember the brands associated with it.
 
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Top Three Web Verticals for Ad Impressions (Its Not a Coincidence Theyre All Fun Internet Destinations)
 
  1. Arts and Entertainment
  2. Social Media and Online Communities
  3. Games
Source: Google.
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Great original content doesnt just engage audiences. It recruits them in support of your bottom line. Take Kickstarter, where a diverse collection of recent artists, creatives and startups used video storytelling to raise over $119 million in crowdfunding. Similarly, theres a reason why Pinterest now drives more referral traffic to content publishers than Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter despite its smaller user base. Most of us are visual consumers, and looking at pretty images of coveted consumer goods happens to be pretty damn enjoyable. In fact, recent data from YouTube and Blip.TV show that popular, original media consistently achieve over 300% higher click-through rates than industry baselines. Lesson: give audiences good visuals, interesting characters and inspiring subject matter, and theyll spend a lot of time closely connected with your content.
 
Average Impact on Brand Favorability by Media Type Based on One View
 
 
Source: Google, Dynamic Market Norms.
 
 
 
Its also important to remember that funs applicability in business goes well beyond ads and promotional videos. How enjoyable is your websites landing page or your apps user experience? How fun is your sales presentation? How entertaining is your new hire onboarding session? The economys not great, were all over-worked and our customers are fragmented and distracted so we might as well have some fun with it, particularly when the payoff for getting it right hits the equivalent of an attention-getting home run.
 
ZoomTilt  is solving the starving artist problem in indie film and TV by crowd-sourcing and curating high-quality digital TV.  ZoomTilt helps filmmakers, screenwriters and actors build fan-bases online and access a $60Bn market for branded storytelling. Find them on Twitter, check out their MassChallenge Startup Profile, visit ZoomTilt.com for updates on their exclusive crime-thriller web series "Trigger," debuting later in August, and be sure to check back to the MassChallenge blog for more advice and insights every M/W/F!
 

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