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Category Archives: Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing

Co-creation as a business strategy

By | Customer experience, Customer Insight, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Back in 2009 I wrote an article about the intersection of CRM and social media. Basically,to summarise, I wrote about the customer driving their engagement with us as small businesses and the need to engage with them in the appropriate mediums that they choose to use. I also wanted to see some more aggregation of the listening touch-points we have via CRM/Social  (SCRM), so we can get closer to our customers and use this information to be involved in their conversations.

Jump forward to 2012/13 and as Paul Greenberg states “that we are now at a point that the customers’ expectations are so great and their demands so empowered that our SCRM business strategy needs to be built around collaboration and customer engagement, not traditional operational customer management.” It is less about transaction and more about interaction.

The disconnect I still see, is while customers have become in control of how they interact with us, we still are yet to make leap to map our goals to that of the customer needs and concerns with the solutions our products or services provide. We don’t make their agenda important. The end result is we are still in the large part transactional or commodity based businesses not partners or loved brands.

Examples of how we make the customer an intrinsic part of our business ecosystem  Paul Greenberg lists as follows:

 

“It can mean anything from customers and the company collaborating on product development, to customer suggestions on how to improve a company process, to customers helping other customers solve customer service issues, to even doing what gamers do and modifying game play using tools for scenario creation which adds value to the game. Co-creation is the ability of the company and customer to create additional value for each other – what form it takes is not always THE BIG THING.”

Co-creation is one example where we as small businesses can help the engagement with our customers.

 

Examples of co-creation is Amazon with reviews of books,  Nike in the design of shoes. Solosso is a leader in co-creation for men’s wear, making it possible for their customers to create high-quality custom dress shirts

that are perfect just for them, and do it for a reasonable price. Threadless is the same concept. At Threadless.com customers can send in their own t-shirt designs, which are subsequently voted on by the other custo

mers and visitors to the site. The winning design is then printed and sold as a newly created item/product. Again, consumers have a direct participation in and influence on the final outcome of the product development process. By the way, the winning design is rewarded with a cash prize as well as other benefits. Now this concept has moved into different product offerings including iphone case design. Keepcup does the same design concept online.

“The four types of co-creation

  • Club of experts: A very specific challenge is needing expertise and breakthrough ideas. Contributors are found through a selection process. Quality of input is what counts (e.g. Nokia)
  • Crowd of people: Also known as Crowdsourcing. For any given challenge, there might be a person out there having a genial idea that should be given a podium. It’s the Rule of the big numbers (e.g.Threadless)
  • Coalition of parties: In complex situations parties team up to share ideas and investments. Technical breakthroughs and standards often happen when multiple parties collaborate (e.g. IBM)
  • Community of kindred spirits: When developing something for the greater good, a group of people with similar interests and goals can come together and create (e.g. Linux)”

My favorite by far at the moment is Ikea for Business. What a long awaited idea. I want to design my space, pick it and get it delivered! Hooray Ikea you are listening. Great case study examples too!

Chris Lawer for the P2P foundation puts why we should consider co-creation carefully as a small business,

“Co-Creation is therefore just a natural way for organisations to help their customers meet their goals in the lifetime of use of their products. But they can only do so if they embrace a different view of value and start building back from the customer’s view of value, not the firm’s.”

How can you co-create with your customers? It can be a small step first. Even asking for feedback will spark some ideas. Ask your employees and brainstorm how you can co-create with your customers today.

Businesses are from Mars and customers are from Venus

By | Branding, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

A major issue all businesses face is that of changing their internal measures and focus from that of what they need to be successful to that of thinking like their customers so they can solve their problems better and deliver a superior experience. These mindsets are in conflict and the internal pressures of running a business often give way to only thinking about costs and sales which creates less visibility to trying to innovate, look at customer aspirations and developing a truly differentiated experience.

It is really a catch22. The more internal a company becomes, the more internal measures then I propose the more likely they are to deliver a vanilla or commoditised customer experience and as such likely to resort to cost cutting. On the other hand the more innovative, customer centric and in-touch with their customers a company is the more differentiated and likely they are to create memorable experiences for customers and thus the more they can charge. This video featuring Lior Arussy, Strativity Group President explains it well.

How do we reconcile the external forces of running our businesses and being customer centric?

Sample: Principles of Customer Experience from Strativity Group on Vimeo.

Understanding and mapping out the customer buying path or touch points with your team is a good starting point.

Christmas in Australia is poised for an online shopping explosion.

By | Online Marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Last year saw record shopping online in Australia and no doubt it will be a similar trend this year. IBS report states,”Revenue generated by Australian online retailers is expected to increase 8.3% per annum over the five years through 2012-13 and total $11.3 billion.”

FastDesign has some good highlights from an article: Trends in online Shopping

  • Online shopping in Australia is expected to expand its share of the retail market from 2 to 3 percent to 7 to 8 percent – closer to the threshold it already occupies in the U.S. and the U.K
  • Huge growth in the online House and Garden sector (where consumers browse online and buy in store  – we love to research!)
  • Growth in the electronics sector – with car audio, games, LCD TVs, DVDs, XBox 360s and CDs all commonly searched
  • Continued growth in traffic to shopping and classifieds websites

How are you going as a business get remain visible over the festive season?

Watch this webinar by Experian knowledge Centre

 Key Highlights:

1. Start your Christmas promotion before November because consumers buy in November for Christmas.

2. Sunday is the biggest shopping day online.

3. Boxing Day is still a hit for retailers and are looking online for the sales before this date.

4. We are involved in research online before we buy

5. Email should not be underestimated when compared with search and social

6. Growth, better SEO, key terms and consumers online activity.

7. Engage often and early.

8. Guarantee delivery dates.

9. People are activity on social forums around Christmas.

10. Use Sale, Christmas and New Year terms in SEO

11. Mobile use in store up by 10%. Do you have a mobile site.

12. Free shipping works

13. Offers – 2nd offer or complimentary offers online

14. Shopping cart – 67% abandonment. Use follow up email to re-capture

15. Wishing lists work as a follow up email idea.

Ideas for B2B

1. Make a connection with clients. Sometimes the physical card / postcard is still nice as long as you personalise it. Otherwise don’t bother. E-cards , smilebox and Jibjab can be a funny way to inject some personality into your brand. Sometimes highlighting or supporting a cause might be the way to go.

2. Use it as a way to promote your IP, 12 top blog articles, Free webinar, e-book etc

3.Celebrate with clients in a Christmas function. There is nothing like pressing the flesh with people to reconnect and ignite a new interest in the next years planning.

4. Package some NY planning services and make them order able online. A gift of a service is also a good idea. $200 worth of small business planning. Gift cards work equally well for B2B.

5. A gift as long as it is useful for both. A calendar with your logo, a mouse mat, coffee mug. Something visible.

Summary

In a white paper called Retail in Australia: It’s Time to Embrace the Digital Future.’ there is a nice summary of where we are.
“Whether Australian retailers are ready or not, the local retail landscape has irrevocably changed. From ‘bricks and mortar’ to ‘bricks and clicks’ to purely ‘e-tail’, consumers are demanding more from traditional retailers and there are significant risks for those who do not to keep up with the pace of change.“Consumers are looking for more than a web presence, they want convenience and value online, through features like free shipping and free returns, making it challenging for those retailers who have yet to embrace e-commerce to catch up. Bricks and mortar retailers need to take action now if they want to become competitive in the online space, offering a way for consumers to connect both online and offline,”  said Matt Glasner, General Manager of Experian Marketing Services.

Some Xmas campaigns

I thought were funny and worth sharing. Merry Christmas

Target – crazy lady, thought it was funny
E-bay  – another take on a Christmas carol
Aussiebum
– just cos
Interactive marketing – Promotions that are high-tech

Business is social, your customers are asking for it

By | Marketing Technology, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

This video from Salesforce gives a good overview of how technology is changing our businesses. How do you collaborate with your customers? Have you embraced technology? Have you embraced social media? Learn why you should. Collaboration, marketing, selling and business is in a huge transformation. I see it every day. It is time to make the commitment to shift your thoughts around how you do business or be left behind.Digital Marketing E-News – Marketing Technology changing business – http://eepurl.com/qvJFf

New Media Channels a real opportunity for Small Businesses

By | Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Fragmentation.

As consumers seem to start abandoning traditional media channels opting instead to customize their viewing via ipod, Internet tv, etc is there a real opportunity for small business to capitalise? I think so.

tv stats

Eric Tsai in his blog

3 Ways to Capitalize on the Destruction of Traditional Media and Embrace Social Media is on the money when he explores that people are consuming media in new ways.  Eric says “It is now possible for individuals to choose from a wide variety of communication arsenals outside of the mainstream commercial system to reach the mass audience.” I would add to this that people can customise their communication experience and we as marketers and small businesses can leverage the social media explosion by having a presence in our niche.

Social media allows small business to build an audience very quickly and as long as the content is engaging, educational and relevant build a loyal fans and hopefully eventually customers. Tools like twitter, blogging, podcasting, utube, flickr, etc allow you to express your brands personality like never before. They are all very low cost and easy to use and most importantly the audience for this medium is growing!

utube100,000,000 u-tube videos viewed every day!

How a small business can capitalise.

So as a small business you might be daunted by the prospect of entering into the social media world. Don’t be. Just pick one medium and start by listening and following. Go onto twitter search tool and look up your industry and start by viewing some tweets. It is a great education.

Visit Alltop and create an account to view and participate in some of the top blogs relevant to you. Social media has made word of mouth all the more powerful. Set up a blog to discuss ideas with your customers. You can use WordPress or Blogger they are free! According to  Paul Marsden and his Slideshare, “Social media now accounts for over 50% of internet traffic. What others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.” Another interesting statement from the slideshare  is the Lake Wobegan effect in which ” 80% of CEO believe they offer superior service but only 8% of their customers agree”.

The blog environment is a chance for you to talk to your customers and get some immediate feedback  and perhpas to realign expectations with reality. The idea I really like from Paul’s slide share is that “social media allows us to market with consumers instead than at them”. This change can quickly create brand loyalty and fan following as our customers come on the journey, buy in and promote us via viral word of mouth freely. The challenge for us  is to listen to their feedback, solve their problems and pre-em pt their queries and engage in their conversations.

According to Neilson 3/4 of the  global Internet population participate  in social networks and it is now more popular than personal email! As Rupert Murdock recently said,  “Now it is the people who are now in control”. Everyone now has an opportunity to be heard and select who they hear.

Business Week says,” For companies, resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people are creating content for the social Web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time. If your business isn’t putting itself out there, it ought to be.”

3,000,000 tweets on twitter.com per day

twitter open page

Companies doing it well.

Virgin with the entrepreneur pitchtv and ask Richard directly section on their web. This interaction with their customers is just another point of differentiation for the Virgin brand.

virginStarbucks is doing it right also. They want to hear your ideas.  You can vote on ideas submitted and make suggestions. In this way they are letting you guide their business and that makes a whole lot of sense. The whole community has an opportunity to influence the products,  atmosphere, locations, merchandise, social responsibility policies, just about everything to do with the Starbucks brand.

Nike has built a great web space that converts the traditional web into a hub of ideas and education segmented on each customer group.  They are trying to give the visitors tools that they can use in their fitness campaign and thereby build a community and customer engagement.

Do you have any other examples of companies doing social media well? Please share.

See previous blog – How to leverage social media – SMB. for more ideas.

mystarbucks

nike

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