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Category Archives: Marketing Automated Technology

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.

 

Should we be investing in social CRM tools?

By | CRM and lead generation, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Social business refers to this new paradox that we are all facing as small business owners. The way we do business is changing. Our customers want to connect with us in their preferred channels, not ours. This I can see already the line blurring the way we engage with customers. I am constantly checking email, text, mobile and social media. With new aggregation CRM tools out there, should we be investing in a social business and these new interface tools? I for one am interested in anything that gives me more insight into my clients and makes finding that information easier to manage!

IBM describe the benefit of social business:

“When you inspire your workforce to innovate and collaborate more productively, you create tangible business value. When you anticipate needs and deliver exceptional experiences, you delight your customers and create advocates. When you integrate your business processes with the right social tools, you secure a competitive advantage and pioneer new ways of doing business“. The opportunity to collaborate, innovate, listen and create better experiences is now made easier with social tools and creating an initiative around a social business model.

Kathy Herrmann explains a social business as “the model centers on engaging, collaborating, and connecting with customers, partners, employees, and other interested parties. ” The reason I believe that as small businesses we should adopt a social business practice is because it focuses on the customer as the central part of your business ecosystem.”

Kathy explains that social CRM or SCRM is the platform to use to narrow the focus to the customer, making them central to the business. “SCRM is all about building genuine conversations with customers.”

I think that today whether we like it or not, business is social and so integrating social tools into your business system is becoming essential. It is step one in creating better informed and smarter employees and a delivering better customer experience.

SCRM tools allow us to:

  • Engage, collaborate, and create with customers, partners, and employees. Crowdsourcing is one example.
  • Capture and share traditional, transactional data with the unstructured data prevalent in social conversations and stored among social networks. Having one dashboard for all communications is becoming increasingly important. We don’t just email, we text, Skype, Facebook and connect in many online portals and mediums.
  • Deliver a high quality customer experience that includes at least some personalization by including contact attributes from the contact’s social profile. We have moved way beyond automated email blasts. 1:1 communication and personalising the customer experience online is now possible with technology.

Social tools  are sometimes add ons to the traditional CRM platforms. I have been investigating a few over the last couple of weeks and here are my top picks for small business.

  • Social listening solutions, allowing companies to monitor the public web and capture social conversations occurring about their brand, products or services. Examples include Radian6, Sysomos, Attensity, Inside View and Visible Technologies. My pick is sprout social or google alerts as a starting point for small businesses.
  • Community solutions, allowing companies to engage and influence interested audiences as well as empower peer-to-peer based interaction and support. Examples are Facebook, Jive Software, and Lithium Technologies. My pick for small business is a relevant small business blog and Facebook or LinkedIn (B2B). If you are retail then, Pinterest is worth using.
  • Social connectivity solutions, allowing companies to connect CRM solutions with popular social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to monitor social activity, integrate social stream data with CRM transactional data and participate in conversations with greater context. Examples are Salesforce Service Cloud, RightNow CX. Topsy, Mailchimp (Social Experience). My pick for small business is Nimble.
  • InsideView is providing sales consultants some great intelligence for building insight and connections by leveraging your network and the web.

Benefits of social CRM tools:

  • 81% received product purchase advice from friends and followers through a social site according to ClickZ
  • Sales – empowers teams to connect with the right experts to meet client needs, connect with clients and get to know your prospects better than the competition and engage with clients and prospects in new ways resulting in 49% high client retention and 25% in quota performance according to VCC case study.
  • McKinsey’s Global Survey in 2010 says that 9 out of 10 companies report measurable benefits from social business.

According to IDC  “The appetite for workspace strategies and the related requirement to review enterprise application strategies are driving the adoption in Australia of social business tools, particularly in the banking, financial services, insurance, distribution and services and government sectors.”

The tools have been adopted because of their ability to shine the light on opportunities and been used to identify target verticals where quick wins are likely and where a different go-to-market approach may be required.

The starting point for small business is to have a social business strategy. It is sound to start listening to your customers, competitors and the industry to collect as much insight and data to make better business decisions. Start by listening and then engaging where your customers are. Some of the tools above will give you a heads up for very little investment in time. I use Nimble for example to see who has tweeted about me, who is connecting with me on LinkedIn or posted to my Facebook wall. It summaries all the social interaction on one dashboard. It also enables me to add in data about people from their other online profiles and fill in some blanks which I love.

So if you want to use the information that is out there in the social business environment some of the tools above give you a great start. At the end of the day business software offers portals that allow your customers, partners and vendors to collaborate with you is no doubt the future, allowing you to get closer to your customers and partners, move quickly and seize opportunities.

 

B2B and social buyer behaviour

By | CRM and lead generation, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology, Online Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Selling Through Social Media to Close More Leads
Selling Through Social Media to Close More Leads
InsideView

This Info graphic explains some of the behavioural changes I am seeing in the B2B space. People are accessing, connecting and researching online and using social tools to do this. CRM social aggregators like Nimble and Inside View are giving a 360 view of customers. In today’s economy B2B companies are decreasing their marketing dollars and spending more online. A recent survey by B2B Magazine revealed that over 48% of those surveyed were increasing their online marketing spend.

In a recent study done by KnowledgeStorm of B2B technology decision makers the following statistics were revealed:

  • 90% Participate in Video
  • 80% Participate in Blogs
  • 80% Participate in Wikis
  • 69% Participate in Social Networks
  • 53% Participate in Podcasts

In the same study it was shared that of 69% of B2B buyers use social networks “primarily for business networking and development.”

At a minimum B2B businesses should at least be involved in communities and social network where there customers already are. Explore the opportunity to reach out to key influencers in your target market and optimize your content and social media applications for syndication.

Social media enables you to :

  • Share your expertise and knowledge
  • Tap into the wisdom of your consumers
  • Enables customers helping customers
  • Engages prospects through customer evangelism

Here is a video about this B2B changing space.

A good marketing system will be working to generate leads, even when you’re not.

By | Business marketing, CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Marketing Strategy, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Unfortunately, most small  businesses  don’t time, dedication, and skills needed to build a marketing and sales system that consistently produces results.

Marketing is a task of communicating and motivating customers and prospects to engage with you..  People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  And a successful marketing system is designed to get people with a need for your product or service to know you, to get them to like you, and to develop a level of trust with you—turning more leads into more customers.

Ask us how you develop a marketing and sales engine today.

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67% of marketers don’t have the marketing tech stack they need

By | Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

In this ever chmarketing_technology_jan2015anging marketing landscape it is not surprising that most of us don’t have the marketing tools we need. If we look at the marketing technology landscape put together by chiefmartec.com, how could we?  Scott Brinker has a great free download book called A New Brand of Marketing that explains some of this landscape and decisions we need to make as marketers. A report by Ascend2.com is very interesting as it shows  that very few of us have all the tools we need and fully utilise them. So what activities are we doing? This is in part of the problem. The channels we use now to market are expanding and so the tools we need to create marketing and measure their effectiveness have also grown. This in turn has increased the applications that need to integrate to give one picture of lead generation and the customer. A big data problem? Yes but also a marketer skills gap. You don’t just walk out of a uni marketing degree knowing how all of these marketing channels work let alone the technology options to execute them. I guess the key from my perspective is to start by understanding your audience and what marketing is going to best work to engage them. Then slowly develop the tools that you need to execute. If you are on every social platform it is going to be hard to manage. Maybe pick two and do those really well. For b2b probably LinkedIn and Slideshare, for Retail, Facebook and Twitter. Integrating a CRM and email software is a must have and if they don’t integrate try a tool called zapier.com to connect them. The place where I spend the most time is in metrics so make sure you have an easy to read dashboard where you keep all the feedback from your website data, email and social so you can continually improve your marketing. Tools like Hootsuite to schedule social and following best practices in marketingprofs and social media examiner also allow you to fast track your learning. If you don’t know something or you want a recommendation try LinkedIn groups and associations.marketing channelsmarketing tools

 

Outsource your marketing has become a smarter choice for SMB

By | CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Marketing Maturity, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Marketing Tools | No Comments

marketing landscapeAt one stage as a small business it was possible to do your marketing in-house, much like you might do your book-keeping and manage staff. Now SMBs are outsourcing their marketing as the landscape has changed.

Here are some of the reasons:
1. Marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years and has become more specialised. It has become more technical with more areas of specialisation. Think of the landscape for today; google SEO, Adwords, customer databases, social media, event management branding, mobile marketing, marketing automation,PR, research,telemarketing and strategic planning. Each of these areas of marketing requires a certain skill set and so while managers can get there it is very time consuming and not a good use of the time.

2.The breadth of marketing touch points now reflect the buyers journey. Because our customers are using different tools and resources to find us than they once did (i.e. word of mouth and advertising before and now social media, websites, reviews on line, etc) our marketing needs to be where our customers are and this has created more marketing avenues to be ontop of. It is time consuming and almost impossible for a SMB manager to do this and run the operations of a business.

3.Customers do more of their journey without interacting with sales. THe role of sales has reduced and the role of marketing has increased because of customer behaviour. We do our research before we engage with a company we want to buy from be it buying a new car or health insurance. It is marketing job to provide those resources, tools and advice where the customers are looking and so content creation has become a big part of the marketing mix. Content is time consuming and these days also requires SEO and customer mindset to be effective.IBM-outsource-traditional-sub-process

4. Marketing has become more scientific as we have access to more data. From google, social media, email campaigns, forms, third party research we are now able to know more about what marketing is working and what isn’t and improve it month on month. We are also able to see what our customers want and adjust on the fly. The issue is most SMB don’t have the time.

5. Having a cohesive marketing approach is more important than ever before. We have all been to that website that has a post that was done over 12 months ago, seen a logo on a business card that doesn’t match the letterhead or gone to search a person on LinkedIn not to find their profile. Having an integrated marketing approach is critical to gaining trust and a consistent profile and marketing approach is now more visible.

6.If marketing is not your core business outsourcing frees you up to focus on what you are good at. Outsourcing can be a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time marketer and many times they might not have the core skill set that you need in all the areas of marketing. This variable cost of outsourcing means you can plug and play as you need but still have that expertise. Outsourcing also allows you to step away from the tactical and use your business knowledge on the insights that your marketing expert provides to assist you to make better marketing decisions.

7.While it might be tempting to off-shore your marketing make sure you have done the cost V benefit analysis. Some of my clients have gone down the path of odesk, glance, freelancer and alike to outsource their marketing. The regular response I hear is that the time it takes to manage this resource is making the low fee seem irrelevant. So while we are not limited by geographical boundaries any more and we can access any resource, finding someone that you can communicate easily with, understands the local business environment and has the experience will save you time and money. Keep in mind some functions of marketing are make more sense to outsource and others don’t. Marketers outsource Even as a marketer I outsource writing, design and SEO as these are highly specialised skills.

8. The key reason for outsourcing to a marketing professional is growth. If you want to continue to grow your business you need a marketing plan and continually be implementing in good times and bad. Marketing has shifted in importance as a lead generation tool and with sales being less influential in the customer journey, marketing has shifted into top gear for many companies.

So it might be time to think about your business model and what you spend time on day to day. If it is doing marketing in when you can and you don’t have the expertise then it might be time to change. If it is not at all and you have ignored marketing, maybe be it is time to rethink that strategy. If you hate marketing but you recognise it is important in generating new business talk to us.

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