lists wishingusing real-time brandscustomersfree shippingGodaddy coupons new domaincustomer internallytrendsshippinghighlights:journey

Category Archives: Service Marketing

We have gone from one to one to one to many

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

Share experiences is influencing how consumers and companies connect. we are using social channels to communicate our frustrations because we can reach our network and make a dent or a difference. Word of mouth has always been around but now we can share from one to one to one to many.

We are defining what a brand is and we can now do it with a microphone. We can be an alley or a formidable foe for any company. To connect with our customers as marketer and business owners we need to think about the entire customer experience pre, during and post transaction.

The challenge that exists for most companies is getting close to customers or what I call customer centricity. Some companies in an effort to respond have put in automated systems, web forms, click and talk applets, email campaigns and self help voice systems. This has dehumanized the customer experience. If it is a valuable addition and solves the customer issue quickly then it could be a positive interaction but if not it could end the customer journey with you.

To be come customer centric requires a change in how we value customers and the role they play in the decision making cycle. It is a holistic experience. If we are going to talk about you, then you better give us something good to talk about.

The experience is everything. Before, during and afterwards and it is so critical to the word of mouth that is shared. People can see and feel your intentions and your intended outcomes. Their journey is dynamic and connected.

?So the question is, are you delivering a desired experience and if so, how are you measuring
the way experiences and more importantly, shared experiences, are impacting your business?? The Future of Business.

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.

“2103 the age of the customer” according to Forrester Research

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

Great work wins business, a great relationship keeps it. Customer centric is the backbone of MacInnis marketing. Being customer centric is centring on the needs and wants of your customer. Focusing on understanding their problems, concerns and wants, not yours! Customer centric marketing is the result of building a solid relationship built on listening not forcing, manipulating someone to buy.Humanising Marketing Process

In January 2013, Forrester published 2013 B2B CMO Imperatives – Driving Growth With Customer Insights, Marketing Automation, and Content Marketing by Sheryl Waksman-Pattek. The report states that we are in the “Age of the Customer” in which 60% of B2B buying decisions are made before buyers engage with a vendor’s sales team. Buyers are online, they are using mobile devices at all hours of the day and they want relevant content that helps them select products and services that meet their needs.

The report had a couple of key recommendations:

  1. Map the buyer’s journey and embed personas in their 2013 marketing plans. Business buyer personas that encapsulate buyer preferences and attitudes will help marketers move their strategies from a product feature/benefit focus to a customer value focus.”
  2. “… think of social and content as one and the same” and “map their content strategies to personas to effectively drive pipeline growth.”
  3. The report also states “creating a thriving content marketing program within B2B organizations is a journey that requires the right organization skills, a firm strategy, discipline, and ongoing management and optimization.”

MyMarketingDept has a great diagram that illustrates the importance of the right message and medium.

Wrong message

It makes sense that we need to focus more on our customers. Yet it seems so difficult for some reason.This customer centric mindset requires a us to change our lens to that of how our customers think. Some businesses are so far removed from this that it is difficult. Others feel that they know what their customers need and think but fail to ask them or test their assumptions. When you get this wrong, it can make a huge impact. When you get it right your prospect should say: “I feel as if I already know you and want to meet you as soon as possible”.

 

The better your alignment of your marketing and sales strategy to your ideal customers the greater chance of building a brand that your customers and employees will love.

It is not surprising that the customer journey is the focus of so many leading companies. According to Gartner:

89% were lost to after a negative experience

86% said they would pay for a better customer experience.

58% said that they would recommend companies who delivered customer experiences that were superior to others.

So the customer journey is critical.

It delivers:

  • A deeper bond between you and your customers
  • It can deliver just the right information or insight needed at the right time
  • It can provide a continual stream of amazing insights and analytics to your internal teams that  can help them learn and innovate faster than the competition

If you don’t invest in a customer centric approach:

  • The trust developed between a buyer and a seller can be broken easily with misalignment
  • Information can be disjoined creating conflict, irrelevant and out of date information
  • It can leave your organisation relying on opinions and guesses

 

Because the touch points of a customers world is always changing, the journey is too. This is not a one off process but a continual process. This approach that I call call customer centric marketing is based on a methodology of Strategic Service Design. It is designing an engagement with your ideal customers and it is a competitive advantage.

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

Are you talking all about you, AGAIN?

By | Branding, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

When I look at your website can I tell that you get me? I mean if you really understand my needs, or is it all about you? I am not interested in all about you. The problem with the majority of websites and I dare say most marketing materials, is  that they shows a distinct lack of understanding and insight about two things:
1. The ideal customers that they are trying to attract
2. A way of positioning the value that they offer to that customer group so it is effective.

Maybe this lack of insight  that is resulting in this swell in demand around research, buyer personas, geotargeting, consumer panels, crowd sourcing, social media mapping, branded communities and more.

Larger corporates are leveraging any means possible to provide insight into product development, positioning, sales touch points and refining their brand footprint. As a small business we can take a more immediate and simple approach but it is useful to stay abreast of the technologies used to discover real-time insights.
Some examples of companies in this space are:
Panelportal.com makes it easy for companies to deep dive into what customers think about their brands in real-time using a cutting-edge, socially inspired branded member community website. In real-time you can get feedback from the community on any idea.

Usamp -With 9 million panelists. Usamp combines self-service, mobile ap on demand audience, branded panel.

Gfk.com is a retail research company that has been around for ages but has adapted its research to take in more social media and mobile tools.

So what is the take away for us. Well as a small business ask your customers for their opinions. It might be as simple as having a suggestion tab on your website or doing a yearly survey using wufoo or survey monkey. The direct approach sometimes works well. Is there anything I could be doing to serve you better. Ask for recommendations in LinkedIn and read what they have to say. Do a poll on Facebook. Great a persona of your ideal customers and check it against who you are attracting.

Look at your marketing materials from your customer’s point of you. Are they written to them or more about you? It is not just about your customers but also your employees. Do you ask them for feedback about how they feel about working with you? They often have some good insights for better ways to serve your customers.

Tools

Content Mapping. This Barbara Gago Persona Mapping pdf is a great tool for mapping out your content strategy using the buying cycle and a persona profile template to profile your ideal customer.

Identify your ideal customers: who are those people you serve best and love to work with. Focus on these. This template helps you narrow your focus and allows you to be more purposeful with your marketing strategy.

Take our Marketing Health Check I'm marketing savvy!