‘Business cards are anachronistic’: How agencies are sharing contact details

Business cards may be becoming obsolete, but there will always be agencies wanting to make a good first impression, even if it’s not with a rectangular piece of cardboard. When it’s your job to stand out from the crowd, there are other ways of communicating your brand and your contact details. Here are some creative, useful and elaborate alternatives to regular business cards.

The beverage
“Business cards are anachronistic, 99 percent of the time you don’t expect people to notice them,” said Christian Perrins, head of strategy at creative digital agency Wasted Creative. “We thought ‘what do people really want in their hand? A beer!’”

Waste Creative, nestled in London’s craft-beer brewing scene, decided to brew its own. The Waste Pale Ale comes in two versions, the 2 and the 4, and has a couple of unique qualities like containing ingredients from the birthplaces of its three founders: honey from Kosovo, malts from England and hops from New Zealand. The brew has a 6.66 percent ABV, marking the agency’s launch on 6 June 2006, plus each employee’s contact details on the back, of course. Producing 200 bottles every couple of months, the beer is always in demand with clients.

This year the agency sent out beer along with virtual reality Google Cardboard headsets to show off its work. “It was a time intensive way to show our showreel,” admits Perrins, “but anything that shows a little ingenuity is worth the effort.”

While it’s useful putting your name on a product, Gitam BBDO in Israel has printed details on spice sachets, packages for consumables do have a downside of being disposable too.

Waste Creative’s pale ale.

The figurine
The figurine, perhaps made popular by Lego, is not exactly practical, but they make a good impression, especially if you can show off some of your 3D printing skills. Which is exactly what Dutch digital agency Resoluut did when it 3D printed superhero versions of its staff, with contact information underneath the figurine of each employee showing their superpowers.

The agency, which specializes in site design and user experience, said that because design is a product, designers are its heroes, and it dreams of having them as action figures. One Swedish entrepreneurial photographer not shy of self-promotion went a step further and created 400 action figures of himself.

Resoluut’s super heroes.

The tech demo
Paper business cards don’t scream digital aficionado, so overlaying technology can add a little finesse.

“If you have digital content that you want to show off, like a site, a video or social contact information, you can’t do that with a piece of paper, augmented reality takes it to the next level,” said Antoni Heatley director of Cutlass Communications. “It allows you to have the personal contact.”

Most augmented reality cards require you to download an app like Layar or Blippar, which is a a clunky extra step, but even though augmented reality has been around for a while, there’s a resurgence in interest. “Particularly after the Pokemon Go craze things have picked up,” said Lissa Beach, account manager at augmented reality company Magnetic.

How Cutlass Communications use AR.

The cut-out design
In advertising, beautifully designed contact cards come with the territory. London-based design agency Chomp eschewed the regular rectangle and, taking inspiration from its name (and its logo), printed its card with a bite-sized chunk taken out of the corner, emblematic of its appetite for great design.

It was designed to be simple and memorable, according to the agency’s director, Richard Knight. “The response is always a ‘wow’ moment — we always get a positive reaction and the usual ‘did someone eat your card’ comment — great ice breaker!”

Dutch agency Counter Creative, another case of nominative determinism, modeled its cards on take-a-number tickets you’d find at a counter. The performance-based agency designed its card to be each client’s ticket to creative results. While any irregular design has the bonus of being stand-out, it’s also more difficult to slip into a wallet.

Chomp, (left) Counter Creative (right).

The wacky job title
You could be a Copy Cruncher, a Word Herder, or perhaps a Web Kahuna? Maybe a Master Handshaker, or just a humble Superstar DJ? According to printing company Moo.com, these are in the top 20 most popular artistic interpretations of job titles’s printed on business cards.

While this works to strike up a conversation, creative job titles can quickly date or sound cliché. For it to work, it needs to add a little flavor to what you do, while still explaining what your job is, like creative agency Bidlack’s use of Bean Counter as its accountant’s moniker.

The post ‘Business cards are anachronistic’: How agencies are sharing contact details appeared first on Digiday.


2017 Predictions for Mobile Marketing and Loyalty Trends

Mobile marketing and customer loyalty are not new ideas or tactics, but the strategy behind them has been evolving dramatically in the past few years, and that momentum is going to continue through 2017.

According to eMarketer, the majority of U.S. marketers intend to allocate more of their budgets to customer loyalty in 2017, and about 13 percent said they anticipate significant increases in spending on such programs.

For brands and marketers, their strategy needs to go beyond just having an application or a stagnant loyalty program. There are a multitude of mobile channels, methods of communication and personalization capabilities that can be leveraged to really engage consumers through their mobile devices. Here are some predictions to help curate mobile marketing strategies heading into the new year.

Toss out the legacy marketing stack and take a look at single-view technology

The old days of mass campaign emails pushed out through legacy marketing stacks are behind us now. According to McKinsey & Co., 83 percent of marketers identify that the ability to make data-guided decisions is one of the most important capabilities, but only 10 percent believe they are effective at feeding insights about customer behaviors back into the organization to improve performance.

Measuring campaign success on whether or not an email was opened won’t cut it anymore. Companies need to have a single view of online and offline systems across multiple channels so that they can build single, operational profiles for each customer.

2017 will pave the path for becoming more agile and making data real-time and actionable in the mobile-first world. Behavioral and transactional data and syncing individual profiles will be the only way to reach customers, not through campaigns built for large masses. Companies need to make sure to integrate their technologies to make their once siloed marketing stack more agile, real-time and actionable.

It’s not just for the movies anymore … machine learning is for mobile marketing, too

Machine learning is rapidly infiltrating almost every industry today, and mobile marketing is no different–especially when it comes to the real-time needs for marketers. By leveraging advanced analytics tools, machine learning helps brands gather predictive data, detect patterns within massive databases and thereby power predictive responses for personalized marketing automation.

For example, brands could use machine learning capabilities to understand customer product preferences based on historical purchases. From there, when a customer enters the store the next time, it can allow the brand to send a push notification at that specific moment with a relevant offer–allowing for a hyper-personalized customer journey.

Omnichannel experiences

According to DMNews, 53 percent of consumers feel that it’s important for retailers to recognize them as the same person across all channels and devices used to shop, and 78 percent are also willing to allow retailers to use information from their in-store purchases to provide a more personalized experience.

Brands and marketers need to start giving consumers that they want—omnichannel, personal experiences.

Hearing it straight from the consumer’s mouth, 2017 will be a year for customers to be treated as individuals, with a consistent brand experience regardless of what channel they’re using. By creating a single view of the customer, brands can ensure that they are not only following the journey across all platforms and channels, but also reacting to it at the points of highest value.

A good example of this is if a store sees that a customer has left items in an online shopping cart. Rather than sending an email reminder in a few days about the forgotten items, a brand could, and should, instead send a push notification as the customer enters the store to remind them of the items.

It’s not just about likes … brands need to see the bigger picture through social media

It’s hard to remember the days when social media did not exist in our lives–it has become essential to everyday life for both consumers and brands.

Despite the pervasiveness of social media, though, DMA recently reported that 70 percent of companies are still not collecting data from social media channels. And I don’t mean counting likes, follows and favorites, but the actual data in the content of those social media posts.

Brands looking to strictly advertise to and convert customers on social media are missing a huge opportunity to unearth a plethora of data about consumer trends, purchase intent, product attributes, drivers of sentiment, competitors or category-level conversations.

By analyzing the social conversation across platforms, brands can respond in real-time with hyper-relevant content. For example, if there’s a spike in conversation about unseasonably warm weather in the area, a coffee chain could push a local campaign offering discounted iced beverages for the day.

Getting personal with your customers

Acquiring new customers is important, but retaining your best customers is critical. According to Forbes Insights/Sailthru, companies that increased their spend on retention in the past one to three years had a nearly 200 percent higher likelihood of increasing their market share in the past year compared with those spending more on acquisition.

Traditional loyalty programs rewarded existing or passive behaviors to try and reduce attrition, but the actual rewards are typically generic and generalized and not tied to specific milestones, behaviors or thresholds.

Moving forward, in order to have a successful omnichannel and mobile loyalty strategy, marketers need to align cross-team stakeholders to define business goals and identify what their high-value customer behaviors actually are.

With key milestones and behavior change thresholds defined, programs can offer specific rewards to customers to motivate long-term loyalty and deepen engagement. Brands and marketers can also use their data to quantitatively determine which customers are the best ones by looking at recency, frequency and spend metrics, and targeting accordingly. Each customer should have their own unique experience with individualized incentives.

Brands and marketers can no longer just check mobile off of their to-do list for their 2017 budgets. How are you leveraging mobile? Do you have an omnichannel approach? Is it personalized? Are you looking beyond your likes and reading actual customer conversations on social media? Mobile marketing is set to be a dominant marketing force over the next year; how’s your strategy looking?

Rachel Newton is the marketing director at loyalty marketing technology provider SessionM.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


Fun with robots.txt

Columnist Patrick Stox provides some dos and don’ts for creating your robots.txt file — along with examples of companies who have gotten creative with their files.
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