Best cheap web hosting indiaBluehost hosting reviewsgreatwouldmany focusiphonewithbusinessempowered demands theirpercent

Category Archives: Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing

Spray and pray is no way to market your business

By | Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

There is no excuse for a “spray and pray” approach to marketing any more. We are becoming increasingly frustrated with a one fits all approach especially when our digital footprint provides insight on our preferences. Companies that fail to use insight and analytics to tailor information and offers accordingly will be left behind.

Amazon have been catering to our needs, purchase history and preferences for ages. Using NBO’s (next best offers) in suggesting what would be of interest to us in up/cross selling offers and in the process are creating more compelling, precise and effective marketing. Yes it is still a learning process but their experimentation means they are leaders in creating offers that are personalised and relevant to our experience online. Part of this is due to the research they conduct and tools to create personas.

Because so many companies treat customers in a generic way, those who take the time to segment their market, look at how they want to be communicated to and make relevant and timely offers have the upper hand. Not only do they have a competitive advantage but they are more profitable.(www.hbr.org). Businesses in general lack the personal touch of the past, building long term customer relationships by knowing customers well. Today we need to achieve the same level of customer intimacy but leverage technology and data to do this.

According to Gartner, the business intelligence market (including data warehouses and CRM analytics) is growing nine percent per year. While it was worth $57 billion at the end of 2010, it will surge to $81 billion by 2014 and as high as $136 billion by 2020.segment by medium

“Another area that is changing the business intelligence market is demographics. Millennials (ages 20 to 30) now comprise 20 percent of the workforce, but their ranks will swell to 40 percent by 2020.The graduating high school class of 2011 spent all of their school years with pervasive access to the Internet – they don’t know a world without information at their fingertips,” said Sallam. “You tell them to go to the library to use the card catalog, and they look at you if you told them to go use an abacus to calculate the square root of 1,058.”Enterprise Today

Collecting data on our customers does give us insight to make better marketing decisions but we need to keep a balance between what is considered helpful and useful and what is an invasion of privacy. A controversial  example of the insights that can be achieved through predictive analytics is from US retailer Target. The company successfully predicted one of its customers was pregnant before her father knew when using predictive analytics to apply a pregnancy prediction score to new parents-to-be. Video on this example.

So there is a line about how much information to collect or predict however as a small business it is worthwhile starting to collect information on a database. It is also worthwhile subscribing to articles and listening to industry experts on your customer segment. Dig deeper and see what you can find out about them.

Predictive software

For smaller businesses go here

Why do your customers choose you?

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

Why your customers by from you and not your competitors is a key strategic marketing question that is harder to answer than ever before.The  competitive landscape has changed and commoditisation of products and services has given rise to the focus on customer retention and differentiation based on the “how you provide a service or product”.The shift away from an industrial, upstream model toward a customer-centric one has been under way for some time now. Niraj Dawar argues in his new book Tilt that most companies still look for competitive advantage where it used to be: through activities related to products and new product creation. But today’s advantage comes from interactions of a different sort—those you have with your customers. Companies that recognize and move on this shift win.

Key strategic questions that I earmarked in reading Tilt  by Niraj Dawar are as follows:

1. Why do your customers choose you? Make sure it is not table stakes.

2. What business are you in? What business do your customers think you are in? How have they defined you? The answer you give to this question is predictive of how you see your business strategy

3. How is profitability measured? By customer or by volume?

4. Where do you spend most of your effort and energy? – on the service or product you sell or on understanding your customers and consistently delivering value to them by asking one fundamental question: What else do our customers need?

“Today manufactures can replicate the looks and feel of an innovative product and print it to market for a fraction of the price, in a fraction of the time it use to take. Even Nike and HP manufacture their products in Asia.” Tilt pg 178

5. How can we take what we know about our customers and provide value in different ways:coffee pods

  • How we distribute a product: Nespresso
  • How we store a product: iTunes
  • How a product or service is delivered: Audible, Spotify
  • How a product is consumed: Coles new ready made meals
  • How we dispose of a product or service: eBay

Niraj states the value equasion is VALUE= WHAT+HOW

6. How close are we to our customers and understanding them? If you sell through a channel that is made harder. Nespresso had the Nespresso club to sell direct first which gave them invaluable data on who their customers around who buys their coffee and at what price. They changed the coffee making market by understanding the pain of getting out of bed and getting dressed on a Saturday morning to stand in line and pay $4 for a espresso and risking that they are closed or run out of stock. Kodak didn’t understand their customers and so focused on a need that was surpassed.

Risks Table

7. Do you focus on scale or scope? Niraj makes the comment that it is not how many widgets you sell but how you deliver on the needs your customers have and scope your deliverables around that. What are the costs and risks they face in doing business with you? How can you eliminate these? How do you make it easy for your customers to choose you?

“Businesses rarely pay enough attention to customer costs and risks because these aspects of a transaction tend to be invisible to a sell too.”Tilt g806

This is where strategic service design can uncover those opportunities and create a competitive advantage that is hard to replicate.

Listen to my podcast with Niraj here:

Video on Tilt strategy

Employee culture is too important to leave to chance

By | Branding, Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer Insight, Employee Experience, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition, vision | No Comments

Your culture can make or break your brand but more importantly it can attract the right people who want to work for you and can helps people deliver their best work.

  • Culture HackHave you considered whether you are creating a purposeful culture?
  • Have you got a list of values that are active and don’t just consist of lip service?
  • Do you make decisions according to your values?
  • Do you hire and fire for values?
  • Do you have a personality to your company?
  • Is it important to create a company you love?
  • What are our shared beliefs?
  • Is making money your highest priority or do you have a higher motivation?
  • What is your global vision and local vision?

Whether we like it or not a culture will be created, so why not create it?

Isn’t it important to rally the troops around one goal?

Resources:

“2103 the age of the customer” according to Forrester Research

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Great work wins business, a great relationship keeps it. Customer centric is the backbone of MacInnis marketing. Being customer centric is centring on the needs and wants of your customer. Focusing on understanding their problems, concerns and wants, not yours! Customer centric marketing is the result of building a solid relationship built on listening not forcing, manipulating someone to buy.Humanising Marketing Process

In January 2013, Forrester published 2013 B2B CMO Imperatives – Driving Growth With Customer Insights, Marketing Automation, and Content Marketing by Sheryl Waksman-Pattek. The report states that we are in the “Age of the Customer” in which 60% of B2B buying decisions are made before buyers engage with a vendor’s sales team. Buyers are online, they are using mobile devices at all hours of the day and they want relevant content that helps them select products and services that meet their needs.

The report had a couple of key recommendations:

  1. Map the buyer’s journey and embed personas in their 2013 marketing plans. Business buyer personas that encapsulate buyer preferences and attitudes will help marketers move their strategies from a product feature/benefit focus to a customer value focus.”
  2. “… think of social and content as one and the same” and “map their content strategies to personas to effectively drive pipeline growth.”
  3. The report also states “creating a thriving content marketing program within B2B organizations is a journey that requires the right organization skills, a firm strategy, discipline, and ongoing management and optimization.”

MyMarketingDept has a great diagram that illustrates the importance of the right message and medium.

Wrong message

It makes sense that we need to focus more on our customers. Yet it seems so difficult for some reason.This customer centric mindset requires a us to change our lens to that of how our customers think. Some businesses are so far removed from this that it is difficult. Others feel that they know what their customers need and think but fail to ask them or test their assumptions. When you get this wrong, it can make a huge impact. When you get it right your prospect should say: “I feel as if I already know you and want to meet you as soon as possible”.

 

The better your alignment of your marketing and sales strategy to your ideal customers the greater chance of building a brand that your customers and employees will love.

It is not surprising that the customer journey is the focus of so many leading companies. According to Gartner:

89% were lost to after a negative experience

86% said they would pay for a better customer experience.

58% said that they would recommend companies who delivered customer experiences that were superior to others.

So the customer journey is critical.

It delivers:

  • A deeper bond between you and your customers
  • It can deliver just the right information or insight needed at the right time
  • It can provide a continual stream of amazing insights and analytics to your internal teams that  can help them learn and innovate faster than the competition

If you don’t invest in a customer centric approach:

  • The trust developed between a buyer and a seller can be broken easily with misalignment
  • Information can be disjoined creating conflict, irrelevant and out of date information
  • It can leave your organisation relying on opinions and guesses

 

Because the touch points of a customers world is always changing, the journey is too. This is not a one off process but a continual process. This approach that I call call customer centric marketing is based on a methodology of Strategic Service Design. It is designing an engagement with your ideal customers and it is a competitive advantage.

Content trends and what’s working

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

The Content Marketing Institute is a favorite resource for me and they have some great research into what B2B companies are using as great content format.


This is a really good article by the Content Institute. B2B businesses are really ramping up on content. My hope is that they are really using the content in context and not adding to the junk we have to shift through. Here is the full research from the Content Marketing Institute.

 

 

Tips from CMI
Content Marketing Institute Research

Content Marketing Institute Research

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.

Take our Marketing Health Check I'm marketing savvy!