Microsoft’s LinkedIn love-in to Fathers’ Day faux pas – content marketing trends

We try to keep the subject matter broad here at WMS. But, tech company takeovers are like buses at the mo. After months of relative silence, three huge mergers have gone through within the last Microsoft_linkedincouple of weeks.

The Content Marketing Institute was purchased a couple of weeks back by international events organisers UBM. German publisher Axel Springer have dipped their toe into our sphere with the acquisition of eMarketer.

These are small fry in comparison to the news that this week Microsoft had successfully completed the takeover of hyped up CV hosting site LinkedIn for a cool $26.2 billion – cash! Both boards approved the manoeuvre unanimously. Since the announcement, LinkedIn’s share price has skyrocketed by 60 points; everyone’s happy. So, why was Microsoft willing to part with an almost incomprehensible sum of money in order to land this recruitment leviathan?

Forgetting the job board side of things, LinkedIn is a content marketing monster. It has 106 million members and is represented in 24 different languages worldwide. These are some of the stats that Microsoft put out to keep the investors sweet:

  • 19% growth year over year (YOY) to more than 433 million members worldwide
  • 9% growth YOY to more than 105 million unique visiting members per month
  • 49% growth YOY to 60% mobile usage
  • 34% growth YOY to more than 45 billion quarterly member page views

*Statistics courtesy of ama.org

The move enables Microsoft to make their first realistic foray into social media, and has been touted as a means of reviving LinkedIn’s relatively stagnant stock price.

Alongside other suggestions, Microsoft have put forward the idea of an ‘intelligent’, customised newsfeed as a potential means to encourage greater investment among users. This touches on one real area of potential for content on LinkedIn – influencer marketing. You can already log in on any given day and find out what the tech savvy CEO of some company really thinks about a specific field. With a more intuitive platform, this could become a much more regularly used site.

With over 1 billion users across all platforms – Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, and Bing – the propagation potential for content on this platform has grown to almost limitless proportions. So, stay on trend and prepare yourself to take advantage of this newly expanded channel before your competitors do.

Less work, more clicks: why aren’t people getting on-board with agile marketing?

Just before Kwanzaa (and whatever other religious festivals take place at the end of December), we introduced you to concept of agile marketing, and how it can generate massive results by being on-point with current affairs.

Like a bunch of middle-aged footy fans down the local boozer, everyone’s been sat around pontificating about how it agile marketing can be improved, but just 11% have had the wherewithal to get out on the pitch and play. Why the reluctance? After all, a well-executed agile marketing strategy can help content marketers accomplish so much more with fewer hours spent hammering away at the keyboard.

A recent study carried out by project management software company Wrike (entitled ‘The State of Agile Marketing in 2016’) set out to find out what was causing content marketers to hold back. These are the barriers that were outlined:

  • We lack training or knowledge about agile approaches: 23.5%
  • Our current approaches are working well enough for us: 17.6%
  • Management doesn’t see the value of agile marketing: 11.6%
  • There’s not enough time or bandwidth to start a new approach: 10.7%
  • There’s generally not a willingness to try a new approach: 10.3%
  • We don’t have the right tools to implement an agile approach: 9.1%
  • We don’t have a champion to lead this for our team: 8.1%

Turn the clock back five years or so, and almost identical statements were being made about content marketing. This tells us that – although there will be some spectacular (and hopefully hilarious) failures along the way – agile marketing is only teething, and will be back with real bite soon enough.

What can we learn from Jawbone’s Fathers’ Day faux pas?

Tech company Jawbone have been in hot water this week following a major content marketing faux pas.

The fitness tracker manufacturer – responsible for the power-walk route maps that clog up your Facebook feed alongside stolen ‘motivational’ quotes like “You can feel sore tomorrow. Or, you can feel sorry” – sent out a mass email to all their subscribers with a subject line that was, at best, inconsiderate.

In case you haven’t heard already, the three little words that could potentially spell the end for this company on the wane were “RE: Your Dad”. Now, there’s nothing inherently offensive about this wording. But, a person’s inbox is an intimate space, and a statement that broad can mean many different things to many different people.

This struck a particularly sensitive nerve with subscribers whose fathers had passed away. Diana Sargsyan, a marketing student who lost her father five years ago, commented: “I immediately thought: What about him? Who in the world would send me an email about my dad? I got a little scared even… It was so personal, and at first it was even hard to tell what that email was about, unless you looked further beyond the subject line or looked at the sender.”

Responses ranged from disbelief to outright anger (one recipient even claimed to have had a panic attack), all played out in an exceptionally public forum. Here’s what the Twittersphere had to say:

twitter_jawbone

*Courtesy of Twitter

The email was intending to sell products on Father’s day – this has made the stench even stronger!

This debacle provides a few choice lessons for content marketers everywhere. The first thing it proves is that despite the spam, people still expect privacy within their inbox. Next, it tells copywriters to keep the subject line focused on the company. Benefit-led statements that don’t involve touchy topics like family would also be good. Finally, there’s the faint glow of a silver lining; the incident shows that people pay more attention to subject lines than senders. This means that there’s still plenty of scope for intelligent email marketing campaigns to make a real impact.