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Category Archives: Branding

Customer-Centric Marketing: Learning from customers helps increase lead quality 130%, Sales-accepted leads 40%

By | Branding, Business marketing, CRM and lead generation, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Customer-Centricity-Chart-300x300Lead gen is no longer downloading an “e-book” according to Good Technology. Today’s buyer wants to take a self-directed journey that they control. According to Brian Solis new book  The Future of Business, we don’t only want to take the journey, we want to connect and share it and discuss it like we always have, but now are using new  tools and immediate digital forms of Brian Soliscommunication to do this which makes this communication transparent and amplified.

MarketingSherpa recently published a case study about B2B mobile solutions company Good Technology.

Good Technology returned to the heart of its content marketing strategy – the customers – and learned more about buyers’ journeys through the sales funnel. During this process, the company discovered it had lost touch with its customers.

Just taking the time to listen to, and understand, your customer can pay dividends in marketing results. Good Technology already had an annual customer advisory council, but decided to take understanding its customers to the next level.

Julie Gibbs, vice president of marketing and communications at Good Technology, said “We talk about digital, we talk about social, and they are critically important, but nothing replaces sitting down and having a conversation on a regular basis … building the relationship and understanding your customer’s point of view. We, as vendors, wanted to really look at how we are approaching our communications and marketing, including after-market communications, with our customers to improve them and make them more relevant.”

Process

By utilizing a third-party for the more extensive research into its customers’ buying life-cycle, Good Technology was able to gain an unbiased look into how its customers interact with the company and its marketing campaigns. Using a third-party ensured every organization understood the customers’ point of view and created stronger alignment across departments.

Conducted Interviews

The interviews of Good Technology customers used for the primary research included more than 30 global Fortune 100 companies, as well as a number of SMB customers. According to Zhivago, “Whatever you think your customer believes to be important is likely wrong.”

  • Interviewees were asked about the trigger event — what internally caused them to want to find a new solution, or evaluate a new technology
  • Focused on discovering what experience the customer wanted to have with the vendor, and what marketing assets those customers were using in their buying process

A major problem with marketing today is that many of us resort to guessing about our customers’ likes, dislikes and needs. This is a problem. We need to take advantage of the tools at our disposal, such as social media, SEO, and blogs, to learn about the customer.

Analysis

Analysis included reviewing detailed feedback from Good Technology customers and mapping the buyer’s journey, including customer experiences and interactions.

From there, the material was put together in presentation form for what Gibbs described as an “internal road show” to tell the story.

She added that having a third-party as part of the internal presentations was valuable.

Good Technology’s customers were receptive to the interview process, and the company found that the interviews created a sense of relationship, partnership and goodwill.

“It wasn’t someone at the company telling the story and potentially creating friction, it was a third-party,” Gibbs stated. “That’s really important for internal credibility. You don’t want to be the person who says, ‘So-and-so is really unhappy with your product, or services, or support.’ You want to be able to show the data and quotes from your customers.”

The customer feedback analysis uncovered two interesting facts for a B2B marketer with very large enterprise clients.

  • First, even very high-level executives frequently used freemail (such as Gmail and Yahoo!) email accounts when conducting research and interacting with marketing activities and assets. They did this explicitly to avoid talking to Sales before they were ready.
  • Second, while these prospects were interacting with industry and vendor websites, they also heavily took advantage of Gartner, the technology research firm, throughout the buying cycle to determine what vendors to consider.

In light of this learning, Gibbs said Good Technology increased the focus on its relationship with Gartner.

Gap

With the customer interviews analyzed and presented throughout the company, Marketing next performed a gap analysis of its marketing programs and assets.

This analysis was pretty straightforward. Gibbs said the marketing team took a sheet listing the information and assets Good Technology customers were looking for at each stage of the buying cycle, and then listed all of its current marketing resources.

Comparing the two lists, the team gave each marketing resource a rating of red, yellow or green.

She said, “Where does what you are currently doing stand, and where does it fall short? You will often find you have some strengths that you are not looking at the right way and that you tend to focus on the weaknesses.”Four Moments of Truth

Take Action

“Then we asked, ‘How can we change our marketing approach and assets?'” Gibbs said. “What can we do quickly? What’s going to take a little bit longer, and what do we have to build for longer term?”

She said the first step was to eliminate efforts that had no impact on Good Technology’s business. In this case, Marketing stopped producing e-books.

  • The customer interviews found the problem was not the content of the e-books; it was simply calling them “e-books.”
  • Gibbs explained that using the marketing lingo/jargon term did not resonate or have credibility with Good Technology’s B2B audience.

“The asset may have great content the customer is not going to use simply because you are calling it something that they don’t trust,” said Gibbs.

Marketing found its customers trusted white papers, so the e-books were rewritten, reformatted and reproduced as white papers.

She offered more examples of different time-frame activities:

  • Short term — Stop doing things that didn’t have impact; begin using customer-centric terminology
  • Long term — Rebuild the marketing resource infrastructure to more closely match what Good Technology customers need

Gibbs said the final stage was to measure the impact of these changes.

 Continue the process through the entire customer experience

This effort was undertaken with the intent of better understanding the customer to help refine and improve marketing efforts. Internally, customer service and support also became very engaged with the results of the initial customer interviews, and wanted to extend the insight into the post-purchase process.The result of this interest was replicating the process on the post-purchase experience of Good Technology’s customers.

The company is currently in the process of “gluing” these learnings together to create an end-to-end customer experience map, so the company can provide a consistent customer experience over the entire lifetime of the relationship.

Results

Gibbs said the results of just the short-term changes brought on by this effort are impressive:

  • Across-the-board 30% increase in the return on marketing
  • 130%, and more, improvement in lead quality response to certain marketing assets
  • 40% increase in conversion from Marketing-qualified to Sales-accepted leads

She added that pipeline velocity was another key metric, and that lead quality was more important to Marketing than lead quantity.

“If you have big customers, you need to have a face-to-face relationship” said Gibbs, explaining what she learned from this campaign.

Gibbs added, “We talk about digital, we talk about social, and they are critically important. But nothing replaces sitting down and having a conversation on a regular basis. If you don’t have those conversations — and build, really work on building the relationship and understanding your customer’s point of view — you are not going to be successful marketing and selling for the future.

When the company overhauled its collateral and took other steps, such as revamping its post-sales process, it recognized significant improvements in lead generation. Lead quality increased 130 percent and qualified leads that were accepted by sales jumped 40 percent. Overall, the company realized a 30 percent increase in return on marketing.

In today’s world where innovation can be copied, and differentiation is hard to create,  the new advantage for companies is the customer experience.

Ready to make your business customer centric? Learn how.

First steps:

Here are some of the things B2B marketers can do to make the sales and marketing process more customer-centric:

New book: The Future of Business by Brian Solis. A must read.

“But perhaps the real questions to ask are, have you articulated your brand promise and have
you defined the experience you want customers to embrace, feel and endure. And, how does
this experience trigger shared experiences to serve as a benchmark for which to measure
against? Not only can you measure the value of shared experiences but you should also
measure the integrity of the experiences you hoped to deliver.” The Future of Business

 

Learn more about creating ultimate customer experiences at Strategic Service Design.

What’s your sentence?

By | Branding, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy | No Comments

You know how sometimes the universe keeps sending you the same message? Like if you are interested in buying a new red  car all you see is red cars or if you want to be pregnant, all you see is pregnant women. Well, I must be focused on purpose and passion of a small business owner. In the past three weeks I have learnt a few important lessons I wanted to share.

what is your sentence?

1. Stand for something or you will mean nothing?

Are you doing too many things? Dan Pink states there are two questions that are important to ask.

  • What is my sentence? (use this to navigate your life)
  • Was I better today than I was yesterday? (use this to motivate you)

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

 

2. Show it don’t say it. This was highlighted by a friend Pete the other week and I guess it applies to much of designing your purpose as an organisation. Lip service really is just that. People can feel your purpose if you live it every day. I will give you an example. Previous boyfriends would always drop the line about 12 months in mark ” I love you”. I guess to me it lost a bit of meaning because the words only mean something if they showed, lived it. My husband on the other hand was slower to reveal this sentence but he showed me very early on in our relationship that he loved me. Throwing small pebbles up at my window, tap dancing outside, being patient beyond belief and caring and investing in my and now our dreams. How do you show your purpose for your business? If it is about fun, how do you demonstrate it day-to-day.

The Good Life Project is an example of people getting sure about their purpose. I have added their Creed here as I thought it was inspiring.GLP
Like this? Learn to build a better life at Good Life Project.
GoodLifeProjectCreed

3. Live your dream through your customers eyes.

This is the part I have to play. My purpose. To ensure that your purpose, your point of difference is felt, lived and shown to your customers every day. Today your customers are part of the conversation. They often are well researched and have narrowed down solutions to solve their problems. How do you ensure you are on that list? I believe it is about the three steps above.

1. Stand for Something and invest in this purpose everyday with out dilution.

2. Show it, live it so you earn the space and your value is clear.

 

Resources: 

Mindset Audit 

Vision Mission and Values Template. This helps you identify what your vision is for your business and how you are going to achieve it with your value set.

Values sheet  what values are important to your company. People choose you for the how as much as the what.

Our Marketing Library

Wholefoods interview with John Mackey on Capitalism’s Model Code

 

Ready to get going? Book a consultation.

 

Synchronise your touch points or loose buyers on their journey.

By | Branding, Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

It is not sufficient to try one tactic and expect a campaign to work well. It usually takes a number of touch points for a customer to be nurtured, trust you and try what you have to offer. It is not like we want to get married on the first date, is it? Well, rarely anyway, and buying something whether it is health insurance, or a new chair, is no difference. Today,the conversation with our customers and prospects, never ends.

Source:desantisbreindel.com

A truly great marketing strategy leverages the appropriate marketing tactics in combination that is right for the intended buyer are well synchronised. Most businesses take a fragmented approach to marketing channels. This is becoming every more noticeable with new platforms entering the mix including mobile, apps, SEO, PPC, Social media like Pinterest and more.

In CRM, the focus is the technology organising and automating relationships with customers and prospective customers.It often has a focus upon efficiency rather than upon the customer experience.

Integrated marketing combines three elements that are closely related to service design; an understanding of consumer behaviour, focus upon brand and the link to customer experience. Integrated marketing takes a holistic view of services, in which coordination of touch-points is one major part of linking what is termed contact experiences to the brand:

As a savvy marketer, you need to be able to understand the behaviour of your audience to pick the right mix of tactics and use them at the right time. It takes excellent strategic skills and the ability to translate your marketing into the right messaging to each your target audience. All the data can be found out there but you need to understand it, analyse it and use it! More than this, it takes an empathy for customer buying behaviour that is often missing to ensure that the mix of touch points are appropriate. You need an inside out approach or customer centricity.

To own the buyers journey, we need to have a manageable set of critical touch points that allows us to focus and have a better impact on our customers perceptions. These touch points need to be distinctive, well conceived and synchronised. We need to break down the customer experience into distinct moments from the customers point of view according to AmicusBA whitepaper

  1. Customers’ most urgent needs, insecurities, expectations upon a an approach point?
  2. What transactions and interactions take place?
  3. How should touch-points draw people in?
  4. What products and services, enhancements speak to a customer segments aspirations, motivations and captures your customers attention?
  5. What information is captured?
  6. What knowledge is used and what is shared across other touch points?

Hilton Hotels touch-points they want to own:

1. owning the welcome

2. the guest room first impression

3. The complimentary breakfast offering

4. 100% guarantee of service

http://mcgladrey.com Talks of different types of touch points in a recent article: Touchpoints Defining various forms of contacts with members.

Company created touch points can be seen as those planned marketing messages. e.g website

Intrinsic touch points are those that are experienced while purchasing or using whatever is being sold.the “how of the experience”

Unexpected touch points are the unexpected references or information about the  prospect receives that cannot be directly controlled by the company. Personal communication, word of mouse communication.

Customer-initiated touch points are those that occur when a customer  contacts the club. ie social media.

 

How to keep your touch points synchronised – According to http://www.desantisbreindel.com

1. Keep the dialogue going and growing

“A dialogue about a company’s product or service on Facebook, for instance, can spill over to Twitter and overnight, lead to a far-ranging conversation with thousands of voices and lots of feedback. By understanding the dynamic and keeping the dialogue going, smart B2B companies can lead the prospect through the conversation to the sales sweet spot: consideration for his or her short-list.”

2. Connect multiple platforms

All touch-points feed one another and become connected in a web of conversation.”A print or on-line ad with a url can lead to a microsite where a corporate buyer can download a white paper or watch a You Tube video offering valued information and insight. Or an outdoor ad can invite corporate prospects to scan a QR code with their mobile device and take them to a microsite with more information.

3. Don’t forget employees!

Employees are a critical part of the customer touch-points for a company

“They are not only the face of the company in every interaction with clients and prospects, they are active in social media, business networking and society in general. Today businesses who empower employees with a compelling brand messaging platform, and help them to understand their importance in their companies’ and their own prosperity, can activate a consistently strong brand identity at thousands of touch points. These companies understand that it is important to link brand strategy with brand behavior so that you not only talk the talk but walk the walk.”

 

MacInnis Marketing does a customer centricity workshop and maps out the customer touch points based on the following concepts.

1. Mapping the existing situation

2. Identifying the current pain points

3. Which is the best sort of touch point in each case

4. How do all of these touch points create the best customer experience

5. What touch points need to be added or removed

6. Who or what owns each touch point

7. How do we synchronise all the touch points

8. How do we set up feedback systems

Is your content a commodity? Why you need to think like a producer.

By | Branding, Content Marketing, CRM and lead generation, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

“Marketing is broken. Social media won’t save it. Online ads won’t reinvent themselves. Google’s acquiring. Public relations is changing. The music industry is reinventing itself. The movie business is struggling. Newspapers are dying. Your email inbox is full. Your mobile device is always on. Your DVR is recording. Your iPad apps are updating. I don’t need to tell you that the media business is in flux.If you’re going to survive in a world where everything’s changing, you’re going to have to think differently.” Hard to argue, right?

As Andrew Davis book Brandscaping is a very interesting take on how we should approach marketing. Rather than the current fad of creating loads of content much of which is seen as a commodity he states we should all be acting more like producers and try to find the right content for our audience. “Brandscaping is bringing like-minded brands and their audiences together to create content that increases demand or drives new revenue for the products and services you sell.” I really like this approach because it is based on supporting those who actually create the content that your audience will love and support them.

There are four  great reasons why I love this approach. 

1. Most of us aren’t brilliant writers. Let’s face it we don’t run a copywriting business. So it makes sense to focus on what we do really well which is our product or service offering.

2. I don’t think outsourcing this to a marketing team or copywriter is the answer either because often they are good writers but don’t understand our business or don’t have the passion or creativity for sustained engaging content.

3. By aligning your business with a someone or an organisation that is already providing content for the audience that you serve. Support them. A perfect example of this is Ducttape Marketing support Hubspot because they create a lot of How too documents. The opportunity to build a brandscape is to position your business with a undiscovered talent that can create content to drive demand for the products or services you sell. Think like a producers not a marketer.

4. Just because you are creating content don’t assume your audience is consuming it! In fact if you create poor quality content it could have the opposite effect to consumption. The amount of information created is created at an unbelievable pace. The key is to find the most effective channels for reaching your own particular audience and to get them to consumer on a regular basis. You want a relationship, so focus on reach and quality and relevance.

I ask myself this question: If I stopped by blog today would anyone notice?

It would be fair to draw the comparison between films like the latest Bond Movie Skyfall and their obvious product placement to sell more of a brand but the distinction Davies makes is that the alignment needs to be authentic and have the same set of values for the audience to buy into the partnership and for the association to work as a marketing tool.

So if you want to leverage content as an asset rather than an expense. Creating content relationships and sharing audiences, tapping into multiple niches, pooling your resources with other brands that value the same audience makes sense.

Davis describes three elements to a successful brandscaper:

1. Confidence to back the content of others with a belief in them and their audience no matter how small, is valuable.

2. Show humility by understanding that your customers care more about just your products and services.

3.Willingness to pool resources and share your audiences will allow your marketing budget to go further.

I will add one more

4. Choose your partners carefully. Think “what would your customers also like.” Align around values.

Some potential partnerships:

Nespresso store in Chadstone and Apple. They both have the same audience and could work together around topics like convenience, design and quality.

Dan Murphy could have a wine TV show like Gary Vaynerchuk’s.

Business Bank with Marketing Critique of small businesses plan as a TV channel (just putting it out there!)

Lorna Jane fitness clothing  and chef Justine Schofield

How to make a start

1. Join a LinkedIn group that your audience is participating in and contribute frequently.

2. Seek out the best tools or resources share them with your audience. (name the source and get permission always)

3. Brainstorm a good hook. It could be critiquing something, creating interviews with industry experts, 10 top tips.

4. Identify and explore content holes in your market.

5. Look for a great idea to serve your market. Someone might have built and app your audience would love. Share it, promote it. Underwrite it. A start-up looking for a partnership?

6. Who already owns our audience?

7. Where does our audience live online?

8. What sort of talent can we work with to make our brand more relevant, more often?

9. What content does our audience already have a relationship with and how can we embrace it?

10. What products/ services do our customers buy before they have a need for us?

 

Packaging is a key differentiator that creates success!

By | Branding, Packaging, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Small businesses can undersell themselves by not presenting a cohesive well thought through look and feel to their business and  just not packaging their offering very well. I am not just talking about the immediate branding, but also the way you present an idea so your client or customer can understand it, and feel that it is tailored solution just for them.

This packaging assists the sales process and leads to increased conversion rates, that means they buy more readily!

Packaging is something I have been investigating and am very passionate about. I love great packaging, because so few companies do it really well. Moo.com sent me some mini cards a few weeks go and I still sprout about their packaging. From the Yay! sticker on the outside to the beautiful presentation inside. It is so different and unexpected. A delightful experience.

Why don’t more service businesses package their offering to attract prospects and give a delightful experience?

Why don’t  more accountants package, hairdressers, in fact any service provider or professional service? And I don’t mean just list what is in the package but present it with personality. It takes such little effort, but can make a huge different to the uptake of your offering, especially if you create an introductory or free offering. I started using Wufoo as a free forms tool and upgraded because it provided value I couldn’t live without. Not only did they provide value but they did it in a fun way. How can you package your offering to make it more attractive and easier for your potential customers to buy?

 

Branding Basics

By | Branding, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Do you know what makes up a brand identity?

This summary has been taken from Liquidagency a thoughtleader agency in branding.

Branding is ultimately about whether someone will pay more (or less) for a product or service from one company (brand) over another.  The most valuable brands in the world can and do charge a premium price and customers go out of their way to find and buy that particular brand.  (It’s not just about the logo!)

Branding is what people think (believe) about the reputation of a company, product or person (it may not be accurate)

A brand identity is the sum of many parts:  the logo and tagline, the brand personality, messaging and the visual elements (font, colors, graphics) for how the brand will be presented.  Learn what’s involved to create and update a brand identity. Each of these items (and more) help create differentiation from the competitive alternatives, while projecting the personality of the brand. And, when done right they can help create preference for the brand.

Brand Strategy

Without a sound brand strategy, you can’t deliver effective branding programs. That’s why we help companies articulate the fundamental essence of their brand, by clearly defining the brand purpose, value to its customers and personality.

Positioning

Positioning is about finding the key differentiators and making sure they are relevant, sustainable and defendable. We conduct workshops, execute research, evaluate the competitive landscape – and ultimately we help companies uncover what gives their brand an edge over their competitors.

Architecture

As brands grow, things can get complicated. Sometimes due to acquisitions, other times to a proliferation of products…or relationships with other brands, sub-brands and brand extensions. We work with our clients to define brand architectures that make order from what can be a chaotic landscape.

Messaging

Messages must resonate with different audiences. We develop detailed brand messaging documents that help brands be fluid enough to connect with various types of audiences in different marketplaces, and cultures.

Naming

The right name can make the difference between a memorable brand, and one that goes unnoticed. We help determine whether a name should be descriptive, suggestive, arbitrary, or fanciful, and we develop corporate names, product names and entire naming architectures.

Logo

A brand is not a logo. That said, a well designed logo is a fundamental component of a successful brand identity. Our award-winning design teams know how to design memorable and meaningful icons that make an impact worldwide.

Visual Language

Successful brands develop a unique visual language that reflects the qualities of the brand. We’ve helped many companies find their voice and sense of style, and build image libraries that enables them to create marketing materials that are always on brand.

Style Guide

A brand is an asset, and it should be managed carefully. We know how to build a wide variety of tools, from logo usage guidelines to comprehensive brand guidelines.

Packaging

Packaging can take many forms, from boxes to clamshells. We’ve worked on many diverse packaging projects, and we understand how to leverage packaging to showcase the brand, stand out on the shelf – and ultimately have people take the item to the cash register.

Materials

Brochures. Annual Reports. Catalogs. Newsletters. Posters. You name it…we’ve done it. These days lots often literature takes the form of a PDF. We still design our fair share of printed pieces, and love doing it, but we have also mastered the art of designing literature that is distributed digitally.

Advertising

Today, advertising has become one of the components of an integrated approach to brand building. We are just as comfortable developing a print campaign as well as online banners…or billboards, for that matter. And think it’s best if it all works together.

Workplace

Corporate environments are an important extension of a brand. They are opportunities to influence the way that employees and customers perceive and interact with the brand in a very tangible and experiential manner.

Retail

POP solutions, and merchandising programs. And, whenever possible, we like to integrate interactive elements into the retail experience.

Web

Websites have become one of the most important elements of any branding program. From idea to design; from user experience to SEO practices; from content development to programming we ensure that the digital brand experience is the best it can be.

Digital Online

The digital world has transformed the way that brands communicate with their audiences. Interactivity and engagement are more important than ever. That is why we develop demos, email marketing, e-newsletters, microsites, and online advertising programs that extend the brand experience online.

Technology has changed radically the way that brands are built. It is no longer sufficient to launch a website to enter the digital realm. Today it is necessary to consider the impact of social networks, mobile media, viral marketing, search engine optimization, widgets, blogs, etc. A comprehensive digital strategy, may include:

  • Websites
  • Intranets
  • Mobile
  • Widgets
  • Viral
  • Social Media
  • Video
Video
Video used to be prohibitively expensive, but new technologies have made it possible for brands to use it much more extensively. We’ve helped brands develop high level brand videos and online shows, from educational to inspirational. It’s a great way to communicate!
To learn more about our branding workshop visit here.
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