September 01, 2010
What Works for the Worker, Works for the CustomerYesterday, I wrote about our roundtable discussion on internal communications. I mentioned staff communications and it's effect on customer/client needs.
This was the golden nugget we uncovered during our chat - at the end of the day, proper internal comms drive more value from your customer and client relationships. And not just monetary value: loyalty, recognition, association, recommendations, on and on and on. An excited, informed staff member is better equipped to provide a greater service experience to your audience (Zappos being the most obvious of examples…)
Internal communication, then, cannot be an afterthought. Communication affects service. Communication is service; A service to your employees which improves service for your customer.
It’s not a new concept but it is one that, in our world of increasing content and decreasing time for it all, can be easily forgotten on the back burner.
We've started a few growing group discussions on LinkedIn around these ideas - would be great to hear your thoughts either here on the blog or over in the discussion groups.
Is it useful to think of Communications as a Service?
August 28, 2010
Time to Start Thinking Differently About Digital Marketing
The obsessive focus by marketers on acquisition makes less sense in the current climate.
Marketers have transitioned their activities from offline advertising to online advertising,seeking ways in which to use social media to, well, advertise – despite the fact that that’s not how the medium seems to work.For a start, markets are retracting, making the retention of customers an essential exercise. Secondly, customers are more likely to be influenced by what peers say about product or service on a social networking site than by an ad, and never more so than in B2B decision making where advertising has always hovered around a mere 15% of marketing spend.
I'd love to hear your thoughts - has your business grabbed digital marketing by the horns?
What are you doing that's engaging?
August 25, 2010
Who's In Your Audience?Earlier this year, I attended a seminar in Branding & Communications Today.
It was a morning of examining brand strategies and key demographics. The phrase of the day was definitely 'Gen Y', after a presentation focused purely on exploring the behaviours (on and offline) of the social media generation (those born '81 to '01) who were also affectionately referred to as Young Fogey's, for their tendancies to behave older than their years, despite their depictions in the media).
At the end of the morning, we broke into groups and discussed the morning's presentations. When the topic of Gen Y inevitably came up, one of the members in our group posed an interesting question:
Do you consider your audience based on age/gender/routine or do you consider your audience in terms of their lifestyle and behaviour?
An example he gave of this was a 40 year old divorcee regressing into juvenile behaviour compared against an 'Young Fogey' behaving wise beyond his (or her) year's.
While the process of considering demographics is clearly not as clean cut as A or B, it's still an interesting thought, don't you think?
August 23, 2010
Does Marketing Need to be 'Official'?
So it’s official. Relationship building websites work. At least that is the finding of a study on P&G’s customer experience website in Greece (the equivalent of www.supersavvyme.com).
This was one of the papers presented at the Academy of Marketing Conference, a convention of academics who study and research what we practitioners do for a living. The paper showed that broadening the customer-company relationship via the website increased positive word of mouth towards the website, and intentions to increase purchase of the company’s products.
So far, so good. Except they haven’t compared it to other relationship building websites. Or outside Greece. And the statistical differences are so miniscule you’d need a microscope to see them.
A second paper looked at whether loyalty cards increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Answer? Not really. The reason being that all stores have loyalty cards so it’s a must, not a differentiator.
What was interesting about both these papers is that the research process (which is incredibly robust, uses lots of very complex terminology and some graphs that make you glad you’re no longer at school) revealed what I would argue most marketers know by gut – that making an effort to broaden your customer’s interaction with your brand or company (as long as it’s relevant and useful) is going to make them more likely to want to do business with you. And that marketing’s job is to keep ahead of the game constantly. Once you have a good idea (like storecards) your competitors will catch up – meaning you have to move ahead of the pack again. That’s what makes our jobs so stimulating.
However, wile the academic community is pontificating about whether 0.03 is a meaningful statistical difference we are judged by whether it actually made any difference to the success of our client’s companies. So it’s left me wondering why we marketers are so desperate to have our ‘gut instincts’ validated by research?
Would welcome anyone’s views.
August 12, 2010
CiscoSPice: a new Old Spice for B2B?
Well, I put out a call to action for B2B to be inspired by the Old Spice Guy and Cisco answered.
Earlier this month, Cisco launched its own ‘spice’ campaign called #CiscoSPice (Cisco Service Provider Interactive Communications E-thingy…). Instead of bare-chested Isaiah Mustafa, they’ve pulled in Ted from Accounting (in what could be a very visual representation of consumer v. business perceptions) to create personal responses to Twitter users who engage with Cisco either via the #CiscoSPice hashtag or through one of three Twitter accounts (@CiscoSP360, @CiscoMobility, @CiscoSPVideo).
The campaign has been met with some judgement and claims that it is a rushed, ignorable and uninspired parody that either didn’t do enough differently or didn’t mock enough of the original. Whether or not any of this is true, I give credit to Cisco for being brave enough to try it. Even Cisco will admit that Ted might not stack up to Old Spice, but they still gave it a go. And, it's got people talking (it's not all bad, there's also praise for the campaign).
What do you think – can a B2B campaign make you giggle and still be effective?
August 11, 2010
140 Characters Hits the Bay AreaJeff Pulver's 140 Character's Conference is coming to San Francisco on August 19, 2010 as part of Connected Marketing Week. You can register here); also check out San Francisco's schedule.
BTW, Jeff is touring with this relatively new conference - only a couple years old, he has had and plans to have events in the following cities: LA, Boston, Detroit, London, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, New York and Washington DC. And I thought I never slept. Can we just say impressive and be done with it.
At these events they have explored the effects of Twitter and social media on a wide range of topics including: Celebrity, “The Media”, Advertising, Politics, Fashion, Real Estate, Music, Education, Public Safety and Public Diplomacy.
As Jeff brings #140conf to different cities, the underlying conference is a reflection of the people of the surrounding communities.
The San Francisco event’s programming personifies some of the counter-culture trends which the city created in the late ‘60’s and ‘70s – trends which took hold and shaped the minds and consciousness for an entire generation. If you're in town, be sure to register and attend.
July 21, 2010
How SMM is Beneficial Today
The best way to make your knowledge reach people is sharing it. Providing you a whole wide platform for to publish your creative mind, SMM has become a non detachable feature of online marketing. Names like twitter, LinkedIn, blog posting have become commonly used for this purpose. According to a survey conducted in the year 2009, around 80% of corporate marketing has been done through blogging only. The advent of technology has changed how people consume media, which has had a direct effect on how marketers reach their target audience. Digital marketing is without a doubt the future of the industry, and it is best for agencies to jump on the bandwagon early before it is too late to get with the times.
Social media is perhaps the most popular aspect of technology to emerge in the last few years, and has quickly become an institution. With websites such as Facebook and Twitter, people have never been able to integrate their online and offline lives together better than they can now. Since so many people spend a good deal of time visiting and updating their profiles on sites such as these, marketers have come to realize that there is no better way to reach people these days than through social media. Taking advantage of social media sites can make marketing easy and inexpensive.
Marketers use social media in a variety of different ways. Most social media sites sell ad space, which can be used to target either a national or local market. Marketing agencies are learning that since these sites can target someone based on their location it is not much different than advertising in print, yet it costs a whole lot less. On top of these methods, marketers are also starting to set up their own Facebook and Twitter accounts so that they can report any type of news or events. If the page is fun and interesting to read, it may even be possible to develop a following of people that you can market to on a regular basis. Using social media to this effect is perhaps the single most important thing agencies can do.
July 16, 2010
2010 AlwaysOn Global 250 AnnouncedYesterday, AlwaysOn and Tony Perkins released their annual list of the fastest growing 250 privately held companies across a variety of technology fields-- including green, consumer internet, SaaS, cloud, mobile. You can view the full Global 250 list here.
The AlwaysOn editorial team, along with partners at Manatt, Morgan Stanely, the Blackstone Group, KPMG, Silicon Valley Bank, Sonnenschein, and Bridge Bank, as well as industry experts across the globe, scoured the entrepreneurial community to identify the top 250 private companies that are taking old notions of doing things and forging solutions that will lead to industry shake-up and huge value-creation opportunities.
The AlwaysOn Global 250 winners were selected from among thousands of domestic and international technology companies nominated by investors, bankers, journalists, and industry insiders. Criteria for selection included market opportunity, nature of innovation, media buzz and awareness, commercialization and ability to create stakeholder value.
July 14, 2010
Echo's New "Recent Comments Widget"Echo, a service that allows you to share your content and watch the live reaction in real-time, just announced a real-time Recent Comments Widget this week.
Publishers can quickly embed Echo on any site and turn their static pages into a real-time stream of diggs, tweets, facebook updates, comments and more. With this new release, publishers have an even more powerful tool at their fingertips to help increase traffic, engagement and time spent on a site.
Static home pages fail to show the vibrant, community activity occurring on a site. Echo's new real-time recent comments reveals the velocity of social activity across the site -- driving readers to where the activity is now. The stream includes Comments, Tweets and other social reactions from across the web. Each reaction is displayed with the visitor's avatar, linkable title to the article, the first few lines of the comment, and the source of the content (E.g. Echo, Twitter, etc.).
The widget is designed to be displayed on site sidebars and on home pages, turning static web pages into vibrant real-time experiences, driving Facebook style engagement on publishers' sites.
Publishers can customize the widget to display reactions across the site or on a section by section basis. Any combination of Comments, Tweets, Diggs, etc. can also be added or removed from the stream. You can install the widget by signing up for an Echo Pro Trial account and installing both the Comments and Recent Comments widget on your site.
July 13, 2010
Marketing Remains Both Art & ScienceThe C's on marketing: CEOs, CFOs, CSOs. Robert Rosenthal has a piece today on marketing and what non-marketing execs can do to help ignite the fire. He suggests that smart marketers are making more decisions than ever based on facts – rather than on speculation, opinions, and biases.
Pointers below from his post:
DON’T COMMAND – COLLABORATE. In some cases, the biggest barriers to marketing success are internal rather than external. Organizational and cultural hurdles are one reason many businesses never see breakthrough marketing outcomes. Choose collaboration over command and control. Discourage unhealthy competition between functional teams. Keep everyone focused on doing what's right.
MAKE IT SAFE TO EXPERIMENT. The best marketers are the best testers. Testing is to marketing what R&D is to manufacturing. The value of successful tests tends to far exceed the cost of failures. Joe Sugarman, who sold millions of BluBlocker sunglasses said, “I have failed more times than anybody I have ever known.” Encourage your team to dare to be great.
TAKE MEDIOCRITY OFF THE TABLE. Some executives outside marketing pressure the marketing group to run what’s comfortable. Familiar. And perfectly ordinary. A few are even quite adept at locking out innovation. There’s never a good excuse to run undifferentiated advertising in any media. Marketing is, more than anything, a business of ideas. Big, bold ideas. Don’t stand in the way of innovation. Support it.
THINK ENGAGEMENT. Three words sum up the 20th century marketing model: Sell, sell, sell. (With a veiled sales pitch disguised as education in some cases.) Now, thanks to social media, marketers have an exciting new way to make new friends. Try putting the pitch aside from time to time, and bring together people with a shared interest or passion. Start fascinating conversations. Bring the power of television into the mix with Web video. Do something extraordinary.
PUT ROI AHEAD OF COST MINIMIZATION. Marketing isn’t simply about keeping costs as low as possible. It’s about maximizing lifetime customer value. Building major revenue streams. Optimizing profits. Many marketing skeptics never budget for innovation, and find themselves perpetually disappointed in the results. Avoid self-fulfilling prophecies. Budget to do the job right the first time.
DON’T DO IT ALL YOURSELF. Marketing is more complicated than ever. Those who do everything internally generally do few things very well. Monopolies stifle innovation. Outside teams bring diverse experiences to the table that often prove invaluable. Since they serve multiple clients, it’s often easier for external teams to introduce unconventional ideas and raise everyone's level of play. Get the help you need to do great stuff. Let in outside experts, and give them what they need to succeed -- and make you as successful as possible.