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Category Archives: Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing

“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.

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

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