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Category Archives: Marketing Automated Technology

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

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.

 

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.

 

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