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Category Archives: Online Marketing

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.

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.

 

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.

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

Does your website get found in online search?

By | Marketing Technology, Online Marketing, SEO, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Here is some great information from GrowthPanel on how to determine if your website content meets your potential customer needs

Search marketing is about gaining visibility on search engines when users search for terms that relate to your product/service/organization. For most companies, ranking highly in search results isn’t luck – it’s a result of solid effort in one or both categories of search marketing.

  • Organic Search:  When you enter a keyword or phrase into a search engine like Google or Yahoo!, the organic results are displayed in the main body of the page.When prospects search for information about your products and services, it’s important to rank high in search engine results. By “optimizing” your site, you can improve your ranking for important search terms and phrases (“keywords”). You can also improve your ranking by getting other important sites to link to yours.
  • Paid Search:  Paid search enables you to buy listings in the “sponsored” area of a search engine. There are a variety of paid search programs, but the most common is called pay-per-click (PPC), meaning you pay for a listing only when a user clicks your ad.

Search marketing in B2C is straightforward — searchers look for products/services to purchase or research prior to making a purchase decision.

For B2B, it’s a little trickier. Just like consumers, business buyers use search engines to find products and services. Studies show that most business people research problems, potential purchases, and prospective vendors online, and they use a search engine to facilitate the process. And the higher the price of the product or service, the earlier in the process they begin their search.  A search marketing firm, Enquiro Search Solutions, conducted a study among nearly 1,500 businesspeople and found that:

  • 93% research business purchases online and 89% of that group uses a search engine
  • 64% start the research process with a search engine
  • 83% of business users prefer Google

The higher the price of the product/service, the earlier the buyer uses a search engine for research. Business buyers also tended to use search early in the buying process:

 

  • In which of these buying phases were you when you used a search engine?
  • Percent
  • Very early in research, little knowledge of product or service
  • 46.2
  • Later in research phase, some idea but wanted comparisons
  • 30.2
  • Knew exactly, wanted reviews/articles
  • 11.3
  • Knew exactly, wanted to find best place to buy
  • 12.3

If you’re B2B, what does this mean for you? Below are some suggestions. When you understand users’ needs as they search for solutions, you can improve your site to meet their needs.

 

Visitor Stage % Ideas for Improving Your Website
Very early in research; has little knowledge of product or service 46.2 Focus on creating trust and educating your prospects. Prospects at this stage aren’t ready to buy, so make them comfortable that you’re a resource. If you try to close the prospect now, you’ll fail.Make sure your website offers valuable, unbiased and general information. Prospects aren’t ready for detail at this phase; they need basic information about the solution and how it’s relevant to them.

Create content that shows how your solution generally differs from other broad options.

Create a white paper that prospects can download by providing some basic information so you can follow up when the time is right.

Encourage visitors to call (or allow you to call) to provide information.

Later in research phase; has some idea but wants comparisons 30.2 Encourage visitors to call and speak with a rep.Provide comparisons to enable them to easily see how your solution compares with your competition.

Offer a quote or more detailed information if they provide very basic information so you can follow up.

Late in process; knows what s/he wants; needs reviews/articles to choose a specific solution 11.3 Offer case studies and articles that are easily accessed from the homepage – these prospects are closer to buying and know what they want.Encourage visitors to contact you for a detailed quote or to purchase.

Provide comparisons to enable them to easily see how your solution compares with that of your competition.

Use testimonials and endorsements to provide social proof.

Knows exactly what s/he wants and is ready to buy; wants to find best place to buy 12.3 Make it very easy to buy the exact product/service they need – they should be able to easily find it from the homepage.Make sure you deliver the product info they want in the fewest number of clicks possible. The more they have to hunt for information, the more likely they are to leave.

Make sure the checkout process is simple with all information (like shipping) disclosed early.

Make sure your return policies, warranty information, and other details are simple and logical to find.

Evaluate Search Marketing Options

There are two basic categories of search marketing: organic search (referred to as “SEO” for search engine optimization) and paid search (referred to as “SEM” for search engine marketing).

Category How It Works How You Do It
Organic Search (SEO) When you enter a keyword or phrase into a search engine like Google or Yahoo!, the “organic” search results are displayed in the main body of the page. If you don’t find what you want on the first page, you may click several pages deep, then try another term if you’re unsuccessful.Search engines “spiders” or “bots” visit websites, grab information and calculate the site’s subject matter.

The engines return sites that the database believes are most relevant to your search.

If a user is searching specifically for your company/product/service, you may show up on the first or second pages without doing anything special to your website.However, if you want your site to show up when a prospect is looking for broader information, you should “optimize” your site to show up for different search terms.

“Search engine optimization,” or “SEO,” can be a complex topic. Yet there are simple things you can do to greatly improve your rankings and generate free traffic to your site.

For some businesses, generating only a handful of additional serious prospects can make a substantial difference in revenue. Using SEO may easily produce these additional prospects.

Paid Search (SEM) Marketers bid for placement for selected keywords or phrases. There are different types of programs including the most popular “pay per click” (or PPC) option – a marketer only pays for the listing if the user actually clicks the listing.PPC is a true pay-for-performance program, can generate very targeted traffic and it is instantly measurable.

Paid listings are displayed differently than organic listings. They may be displayed at the top, side and/or bottom of the page (varies by search engine).

Google and other content networks also allow you to pay to place text, display and video ads on other sites, triggered by content that is relevant to your selected keywords. This is covered in 21 – Online Advertising, since these ads don’t display on search engines.

 

To generate traffic through paid search, you create an account with one or more paid search networks. You then choose your program, your keywords and phrases, and enter bids for placement.When your program goes live, the network bills your account for the traffic you receive. For example, if you’re running a PPC campaign, you’ll be billed for each click on your listing.

You’ll need to designate a “landing page” for these campaigns, and you’ll want to make sure your landing page is designed to convert your visitors so that they continue to click deeper into your site. For example, if you used your existing home page, it might not be specific enough for your visitor, and you may loose them.

A good paid search program involves continuous keyword research, careful monitoring of your bids, and strong focus on converting your click-throughs into active prospects for your company.

Here you can evaluate your marketing goals to determine if SEO, SEM or both are right for you.

Marketing Goal SEO SEM
Need to generate traffic very quickly X
Need to generate more traffic and have time to research, rewrite and potentially redesign your site to capture more qualified traffic X X
Need to generate as much traffic as possible to your site X X
Want to generate traffic to very specific subject areas on the site X X
Want to invest in a long-term search marketing program X
Want to generate traffic for a wide variety of keywords X
Want to launch time-sensitive campaigns that focus on very specific topics or offers X
Want to build more brand awareness through publicity X  X
Need to establish a stronger brand presence on the web X  X
Have a very small marketing budget and are looking for measurable, repeatable programs to generate leads X X

In SEO, your ultimate goal is to get your site listed in the top 10 Google results (the first page) for a few targeted search terms that your prospects are using. Most keywords have a great deal of competition so the task is challenging, but you should still try to rank for very targeted terms. At the very least, your prospects need to find you in the top 10 when they enter your company’s name in the search bar. To optimize your site, you’ll need to make sure its content, design and underlying coding are attractive to search engine spiders, the programs that crawl the web, decide what each page is about and rank pages against other.

What to do next?

If you would like some help setting up your SEO visit our Digital Marketing Services Page.

Are you lost about how to market your business online?

By | Business marketing, Facebook Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing, SEO, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Is marketing online in the too hard basket? Well these days if you aren’t online your business may as well be invisible.

At MacInnis Marketing we have become Digital marketing gurus. We didn’t start that way but over the past 5 years we have honed our skills because of the dramatic change in customer interactions online. With this revolution has come a whole new way to market and thus Digital marketing services are now a big part of a small business marketing kit-bag.

There is only one problem. Most small businesses still don’t have the time to understand it and so can be paying for a service without really understanding its value. It is understandable as the terminology let alone the technology is confusing.

We help educate you to be able to make informed decisions and ensure that you receive a report and measurement of everything we do online. We match your marketing goals with the technology and ensure your budget serves you best.

 

Ready to learn more Click here.

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