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Category Archives: CRM and lead generation

Q:Are your customers smarter than you? A: more than likely.

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

Smart Customers, Stupid Companies is a must read book. It details how we now as customers have access to more information than ever before, we have a microphone to share it and we know before we enter a conversation with you ten other competitors who we can go to at a click of a button.

We are getting smarter every day too! We download an app to answer or address any number of questions we might have. Our Iphone or Ipad are our communication, shopping, curating, productivity and relationship device. How stressed would we be if we lost it?Smart Customer image

On the company side, many are slow, inflexible, have layers of red tape, inconvenient and a non existent customer centric culture. The old approach to business doesn’t work any more. We are not getting the experience we want and with the world as our shopping trolley we vote with our click! We have access to information at a click of a button but can the same be said for employees?

The book refers to some key disruptive forces:

  • Social influence: our ability to use customer relationships in our buying journey
  • Pervasive memory: the data that is created as a digital footprint of our experiences
  • Digital Senors: devices that see, hear and feel our activities
  • Physical Web – being all encompassing. Connecting everything

Bruce Kasanoff is a speaker, author and business strategist who helps companies profit from disruptive forces, rather than fall victim to them.

Bruce helps companies understand what comes next, and how they can leapfrog their competitors. His entire career has focused on helping companies leverage emerging technologies to better grow revenues and serve their customers. Bruce with co-author  Michael Hinshaw have asserted that our tolerance to mistakes by companies we engage in is reducing. We now have more information before we engage with them.Companies are still slow to recognise this and so rather than leverage the same disruptive forces like:

  • Social influence; how we use our social contacts to check information, get their opinion instantly
  • Persvasive memory: how we leave a digital footprint
  • Digital Senors: how the world is evolving to have digital recordings of our footprint
  • the Physical web: how our world is changing to be a web of inter-related connected, internet based communications.

Companies are not keeping pace with our need to have a better experience with them. Well most anyway.Bruce believes that it is hard and hard to get away with business the old way. Give us money and we will sell you something. Companies need to use these forces to reinvent but also questions are not really are not doing a good enough job and have to do something about this.

A Bain & Company research study showed that while 80% of managers thought their firm was providing a superior customer experience, only 8% of those firms’ customers agreed.Now that seems stupid.

Listen to my Podcast with Bruce Here.

Resources:

Bruce’s website Now Possible

Smart Customers website

 

 

Big data allows us to take create new insights and connections that were not possible even five years ago.

By | Business marketing, Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

All of the information that the human race has created from the start of time till 2003 is 5x a-bytes now every 2 days we are creating 5 X a-bytes. Every day the average person today processes more data in a single day than a person did in 1500’s in an entire lifetime. We now have real time data. Each of us leave a stream of digital information about us with our texts, GPS, phone calls, browser history, FB chats and now this footprint is being use to make better marketing decisions. Crowd sourcing is one example and the gamification of health another.

wazeWe are getting insight that we didn’t have before. The Human Face of Big Data is a new book by Rick Solman and documents this change in this interesting book.

Big data is changing our whole world in every field and every industry will be changed by this insight.

pebble

Internet, Mobile phone, Social Media has changed our world. Technology has embedded itself into our lives. Don’t believe it is revolutionary? What is your TTS (time to screen – mobile, iPad, laptop) minutes, seconds?

The world is changing to re-using assets that are already available. Big data has changed the relationship we have with information. What if we can embed video in books. Point your phone at a book and it plays a video? The Human Face of  Big Data does this. Download the Human Face of Big Data App.

big data

Our planet is developing a nervous system that has software at its centre. This change is disrupting markets and creating new opportunities.How is big data changing your business?

Note to self: We have to seek away for those moments of solitude, a walk in the park without our iPhone, iPod or heart monitor device. Off to play with my son! (no not minecraft!)

Big data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Wikipedia

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.

Not sure about marketing automation? Learn more

By | Content Marketing, CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Small Business Marketing | No Comments
Courtesy of Marketo

Courtesy of Marketo

Before the internet and social networks buyers had limited ways to obtain the information they needed and so the sell controlled the buying process. Today we are more informed and armed with more resources than ever but we still want to learn at our own pace. They want certain information, assurance, evidence, hand holding and explanations at different stages along their journey to invest in a product or a service with you. This trend in buyer behaviour has forced us to change how we market.

This is where marketing automation has found its niche.  Only 1/5 of leads are ready to buy on first touch point, can you nurture them?Marketing automation is a set of steps that are mapped out to strategically provide that ideal lead the next piece of communication be it content, contact or offer that will move them to a purchase.

Marketing automation technology allows you to use software to automate touch points so it can be a repeatable consistent experience. It can provide awesome measurement information, tasks and workflows so that over time you make better marketing decisions.

It use to be that large companies where the only users of Marketing Automation technology but today the vendors providing such software have made it not only more affordable for the small business but easier to use.

What does Marketing Automation software do?

There are a few different modules to most Marketing automation platforms but here are the key ones:

  • Lead Generation – via forms, landing pages, integration to social media
  • Segmentation – via database (CRM integration)
  • Lead nurturing and scoring – ranking leads by criteria
  • Relationship marketing – communicating over time (email marketing social media marketing)
  • Cross sell and up sell – presenting choices along the lead/ buyers journey
  • Retention – communication and offers (campaign management)
  • Measurement and RIO – measuring via criteria (Marketing Analytics)

The key advantage of marketing automation I feel is the opportunity to integrate the touch points to the lead or customer and make their journey purposeful. Being able to measure and use analytics to make better marketing decisions is such a valuable insight and interaction opportunities.

Don’t know which automation software to choose? Stuck. We can help.

Marketing Automation Checklist.

How do you measure social media?

By | Marketing Automated Technology, Small Business Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

How do you measure your social media? This is an interesting query because in my book social media has several purposes.

  • Build a community, tribe, group – so numbers, attrition, new members is an important measurement
  • Likability – engagement, shares, comments, forwards is a measure
  • Take action – attend events, buy services or products, contact

These are my key actions, so what then should I be measuring.

With my clients I always start with a benchmark. Where are we today? This way over 12 months you can see how you have achieved each of these key purposes.

Social Media Measurement

Step1. Start with a benchmark. The simple start might be how many people subscribe, like, follow, join your social media profiles. You can have two measures here, your company profile or your personal profile. I started with company.

Step 2. You can use something like Sproutsocial,Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Nimble to assess the level of engagement with your brand (personal or company). This gives you an indication of whether they are engaged with you and to what extent their engagement is active.

Step 3. Work out the conversion. Conversion could be how many connections lead to work, potential partners, media coverage, business suppliers. Whatever your measurement list is.

Today as marketers we need to be not only people who understand our customers and the value of the products and services we offer but measure our marketing effectiveness.

 

Multi-devices have enabled us to be the curators of our lives

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Marketing Automated Technology, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing | No Comments

We are a nation of multi-screeners. Most of our time is spent in front of a screen. 77% of us view TV with a device in our other hand. Google’s latest research uncovers our cross-platform behaviour as we use multi devices often at the same time to achieve our goals. With technology advances in online devices, we can now choose how, when, what and who to engage with 24 x7. We are the curators of our lives.

Key findings of Google’s Research includes:

Two types of screening behaviour:

  • Sequential screening where we move from one device to another to complete a single goal
  • Simultaneous screening where we use multiple devices at the same time
  • Google has found that nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially and that smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity.
  • 80% of searchers happen on smart phones as a spur of the moment
  • We spend on average over 4 hours in front of screens a day to communicate, Browsing the internet – 81%
    Social networking – 72%
    Online shopping – 67%
    Research/Search – 63%
    Managing Finances – 46%
    Planning a trip – 43%
  • The time spent on screen devices per day is broken down as follows:
  1. TV – 43 minutes
  2. PC/Laptop – 39
  3. Tablet – 30
  4. Smartphone – 17
 What does this mean for marketers?
Is our attention span getting shorter? Google’s research suggests that multiple screens make us feel more efficient. So we are multi-tasking and multi-screening! I know my attention is at least fragmented between all the devices I have. If I see something on TV and want to probe deeper, I go on my iPad. Even my seven-year old plays with his Super heroes or reads his comics and then Google games, download Apps and connects with other gamers online, all at the same time.
We are on-line more than ever before and because it is easy and available part of me does feel like I have the control to choose what I want to consume, perhaps for the first time.I know I am not alone in this feeling. Most of my peers now choose when and what to watch on their iPad not TV. Conversations revolve around the latest App someone has found for recipes or to help our children read online. We are seeking out our own unique interests and communities to enrich our lives, learn and just have fun. Our behaviour has changed markedly even over the last 18 months.

We are so connected and able to be responsive and “always on” or impulsive. This has huge implications for marketers as we aim to understand the environment that our customers live in. We need to understand this new multi-screen and multi-tasking behaviour to design the best experience for our customers. With around 10% of media interactions non-screen based, if you are not online and connected you are invisible. It is easy to predict with this changing landscape that new opportunities will and have be created for all sorts of businesses. As customers decide what to pay attention to and what to ignore,  it is more important than ever to understand your customers behaviour as part of your marketing strategy. This attention and empathy to customers creates opportunities from the  from the the smallest business which now can gain visibility by reaching a new audience.
The key for truly great marketing is to know your customers and this means their likely behaviour. Understanding this ever connected landscape is step 1. Step 2 is building a strategy to navigate through it to ensure you are in the right place, at the right time with the right resources.
 Google now has a great info graphic describing our new behaviour.

 

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