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Category Archives: Business marketing

Kick start your business 2014

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

Is your business sucking the life out of you? What are your goals for 2014 as a small business owner?

There is something about the comfort of an old t-shirt as p.js or a nice pair of warm socks that keeps you turning back for things of comfort. I guess the same can be said for setting goals for your small business. It is comforting to just go with the flow, rather than set some ambitious goals that make you get out of your comfort zone. But without the end game in mind, your small business becomes a job can have you working 80 hours a week and sucking the life out of you.

As Brian Tracey says in his goal setting sessions, “success is goals.”What do you want out of life? What do you want out of your small business? What will make you happy? Seems simple, but most us seem to do what is easy or do what we have always done even if that means our business runs us, instead of us running our business. We put our heads under the doona and hit the snooze button, rather than take the challenge of changing and do that brisk walk when the alarm button goes off in the morning.

For me, to grow my small business and even keep it afloat it is about knowing what are the important questions to ask? It is being able to make the right decisions on a day by day basis that takes me that ideal company I have in your mind. To do this I have to be able to picture that vision with real clarity. Here are some aids I have found that will help you ask those tough questions and set the stage for a great 2014 and a business you want to run. A year that you will look back at and say, “yeah, 2014 was a great year for me and I am getting closer to that vision I have for my company and my life”.

  • Have a vision for where you want to go. Is your business sucking the life out of you? What is it would you like your life to look like? John Jantsch Goal Setting Video is a must resource. John has a exercise of describing your business as it is 3, 5 years from now and what does it look like? Goal Setting I find it useful to have a personal vision and a company vision.
  • Set some realistic but stretch revenue goalsWe all need money to live. We need our small business to provide for us. What do you want your income to be now and in the next 1, 3, 5 years? I do this every revenue setting exercise  every year. I sit down and write an amount that I need and would like to make. Guess what? I come within 5% of  this figure year on year. Each year I try and stretch the figure and each year I reach it. I guess it is because once I have a target I plan my plan to support it. I do everything in a purposeful way. As a consultant,I find it useful to set, monthly, weekly and daily targets that sharpen my focus. It is a real measurement for me in terms of how I am tracking . http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/ is a great tool for this purpose. I love Freshbooks.com for time, invoice and estimate tracking. (heaps better than MYOB in my book).
  • What do you need to invest in yourself to reach your roles. “Success is something that you attract, by becoming an attractive person.” As Jim Rohn says “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Personal development is an area all about developing skills that will serve you well in growing your business and making better business decisions. An extra skill I have developed digital marketing have served me well. Podcasting and writing has enabled me to reach you. What do you need to be able to make better decisions this year. How can you be the expert in your industry? Invest in yourself.Grow purposefully
  • Build a great team around. Zig Ziggler says, “if you can help enough people get what they want then you can probably get what you want.” This give to get mentality is already used in content marketing to great affect. We can no longer interrupt, persuade or buy people’s attention. We need to earn, give and educate to receive it.  Building a great team around me is critical to business success. I spend a lot of time on communicating and sharing with my team so we are all on the same vision with clear goals to get there. I also focus on having fun.
  • Get a Coach or Mentor. The biggest growth I got in one single year was when I took on a lifeline.  A Lifeline concept was introduced to me by Keith Ferrazzi when I read his book, Who’s Got Your Back. This is a person that I could banter with, share ideas, and would be accountable to. As a small business it is easy to feel isolated. Networking groups help but there is nothing like having that person who as got your back.  I am lucky in that I found this person just when I was ready and he has shaped my approach to business. He shares the same value set as me and I respect his opinion. However he has a different approach to me and asks me the tough questions and always has my back. I do the same for him. I remember interviewing Linda Hailey another successful small business marketer and she did this with her competitor. They would have lunch and share information, ideas and learn. Who can you ask to mentor you? Most people will say yes.  It is a must for small businesses.
If you are ready to set some goals for your small business and get ready for a great 2014 book in a session with me! Here are some lessons from SmartInsights.

book first session buttonlearn more button

Other resources

Brian Tracy – Goal Setting

Vision Mission Values Template

Who’s Got Your Back by Keith Ferrazzi

Your True North Exercise

 

 

The Future of Marketing

By | Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Marketing Technology, Marketing Tools, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

I was asked the other day to explain the role of a marketing manager. It is a good question because it has changed so much over the past few years. I love this Gartner map that outlines all the areas that a marketer needs to be across today.

Gartner_DigitalMktgMap_1500

Lets look at each section in turn.

Strategy – Understanding market opportunities, cultivating markets and customers, generating demand and awareness.

Marketing Management – Business processes and tools associated with implementing the marketing activities

User experience – the discipline associated with creating customer experiences that meet business objectives.

Analytics – the process of  discovering meaningful patterns in data.

Creative – services and tools that supports the implementation of marketing programs.

Ad Tech – managing advertising through all the channels (web, social, offline, mobile) – targeting, design and bid management, optimising and reporting and automation.

Real Time Data – can now be provided by geotargetting and other technologies to assist us reach prospects on the fly

Search – to help get found and find things on the web.

Social – applications, technologies and environments that build social communities

Mobile – communication, applications and wireless devices (smart phones, tablets, portable computers)

Emerging technologies – new technologies that consumers are adopting, 3D televisions, solar cars, google glasses. Only very early adopters. 5% of the market.

So as I see it the role is enormous. In the coming years I see more experts being created around each area of expertise. The intersection between customer centricity, strategy and technology is my sweetspot. Learn more.

To learn more go to the webinar. or download slides

Here is a good slideset on the future of Marketing

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

Does your business have an intimacy problem?

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

As the bigger your business becomes, does it become more removed from your customers? Do you talk to your customers?  I don’t mean just a one night stand. Doing the odd tweet, blog post or facebook update. I mean building a relationship, insight and collaborating. Do you see your customers more as data points, in groups? Do you see only facts about your customers, but have little meaning behind those facts? Do you keep your customers at a distance? Are you scared of them. What they might say. (Believe it or not a client said this to me the other day).

Good relationships take trust. We need to be vulnerable and open ourselves up. That is where the good stuff happens. We need to admit we aren’t always right. Sometimes we do stupid stuff.

How do you know what is important to your customers, without an intimate relationship? Have you designed emotion out of your business?

Relationships value:

  • relationships over facts
  • empathy over data
  • intimacy over volume

Do your employees make decisions on facts and analysis? Do instead we partner with customers to help make the best decisions for them. We look to solve individual real problems not the crowd’s.  Involving the people you serve is intuitive but not done because it is hard. Relationships are hard.It is a commitement.

Consumer collaboration is a better way. People who know me, will know I am all about creating customer centric marketing. The reason is simple. There are only so many ways to streamline, become more efficient and compete. Creating a customer centric mindset is the best way to create sustained growth.

This video from communispace is a great illustration of how many businesses have moved away from customer intimacy and the benefits of collaborating instead.

The Consumer Collaboration Manifesto from Communispace on Vimeo.

 Do you have an intimacy problem with your employees too?

It is not just about creating a relationship with your customers but also your employees.

How do you communicate authentically? Terry Pearce from the book Leading Out Loud believes it is a combination of appealing to the mind and heart.

  • Mind looks for evidences
  • The heart looks for passion
  • The mind weighs up facts
  • The heart acts on faith
  • The mind looks for purpose
  • The heart seeks meaning
  • The mind believes
  • The heart trusts

Both are necessary for committed action.

“Motivation”, Pearce says,” is about getting people to do things. Inspiration is about getting people to believe in things.”

 

 

How to create a competitive advantage?

By | Branding, Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Value Proposition | No Comments

What else can you do to stand out from the crowd?

  1. Collaborate. Whether we like it or not customers are in the box seat. They choose to visit your website, view your ad or open your email and they can click delete, navigate to another page or change the channel in a nano second! As a small business, you are uniquely placed to collaborate with your customers. You can do this using social media tools like Facebook, and forums, blogs and Tweets. Innovations are best when they come from the customers because they are telling you (in many cases) a better way to do something! Invite customers to be a part of your planning. Creating a collaborative culture in your small business with your employees contributing freely can really help too!
  2. Offer Understanding and Insight
    Communicating with your customers could be as simple as a phone call or online survey. If done with sensitivity to their needs and not in an annoying five-page survey it can be something that provides great insight for your small business to change something that was losing you business or create something that will give you a competitive edge.
  3. Share your story
    Stand for something and make it count! So many companies still just don’t get it. People buy from those they know, like and trust. How can they get to know you if all you have on your website is the same old company spiel? Your potential customers are making decisions about whether to contact you every day. Give them the whole story so they can make a decision based on what and who you really are. Freshbooks is a good example of this. Remember, you don’t have to try to make your story inspiring, it just has to be real! Read Tell to Win by Peter Guber which tells the importance of storytelling in business.
  4. Make Work Fun and Easy
    How likable are you anyway? The journey, the process and the prospect of working together has to be enjoyable for you and the client. Marketing is not a one-off activity, but an integral part of the business model. Inject some whiteboards, smarties and have a sense of humour! All services have an opportunity to create a customer experience that is enjoyable.
  5. Be Customer Centric
    Step into your customer’s shoes every day. One of the most fundamental changes you can make is to step through the customer touch points in your business and consciously think about them. This awareness of how they feel at each stage in your process makes you change how you do things. Small businesses are best placed to be customer centric but it does take a mind shift. Look at your website, storefront, business card, flyers, staff and services from your customer’s view point. Now should you change something? The answer is always yes.
  6. Fail quickly but create an idea-based culture
    No one will ever get fired for trying something new. If you can create a culture where you and your team are prepared to try ideas and experiment you are likely to hit a few jackpots!
  7. Love your Employees. Would you want to work for you? Employees are the soul of your small business; this is because your customers can feel instantly if they have walked into a positive or negative environment. If your employees are happy you are half way to creating a great brand. Something as simple as bean bags in the coffee-room, a punching bag (good one Pete), and some nice flowers planted in the garden outside your office, can make a world of difference. You have to take responsibility for setting the tone and then allow your employees to add their own flavour to it.

These seven principles are simple yet very effective and can set you apart from other businesses. How can you take these strategies and improve your competitive advantage today? Love to know.

 

Are your touchpoints as smart as your customers?

By | Business marketing, Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

We can create, review, produce, consume, entertain, work and play all with a touch of a button. The digital age is has created The Age of the Customer. We are now in the boxseat as we have the resources to make us smarter than ever before. We now have access to tools that were only available to large enterprises a few years ago and what’s more they are very affordable. We are now empowered to make decisions and choose who we want to do business with. More and more these choices are based on the sorts of experiences that businesses provide.

“Smart customers are right here, right now. We’re not talking about sometime a decade out. Right now, smart customers can “see” traffic james two miles ahead – and avoid them. They can “sniff out” delicious food being prepared 5.4 miles away – and reserve a table at that top ranked restaurant in an instant. They can “hear falsehoods in the voice of a pushy, unethical sales person and recognise the precise factual errors he has stated – and locate elsewhere exactly the price, features and delivery they require.” Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will thrive and How to be One.

So the tables turned, the customer has more negotiating power and choice than ever before.  What does this mean for your business? I believe it means there is no where to hide and you now need to be  truly customer centric. You need to create experiences that are as smart as your customers.

Effective touch-points of all types—human, static and interactive—move customers closer to your business. Ineffective touchpoints push customers away. As a result, touchpoint performance is critical to customer experience. To improve it, you need to understand what touchpoints exist and how well they work.

Customer Journey Mapping is a way of drawing a map of your customer journey and is used to analyse, the processes and perceptions so that it can be improved. The visualisation of every touch-point or experience helps you determine how to optimise the overall experience.

We  help you  to see customer journeys, through your customers eyes. Customer eXperience (CX) mapping starts with understanding the Touch-Points across the current end2end customer journey and standing in customers shoes.

Example : Banking

 

Importance factors

banking customer benefits

This process includes

  • Map the end2end journeys through customers eyes
  • Identify pain points and moments of truth
  • Improve the things that customers value most
  • How to measure the real customer experience
  • Capture the true costs of failing to meet customer expectations
  • Get your internal Touch-point owners fully engaged
  • Pinpoint where to focus to improve customer loyalty
  • Identify new ways to engage customers
  • Re-innovate to define your signature brand experience

 

We can support you in this process by starting with mapping an existing customer journey and then progress to define the ideal signature brand experience. To learn more about how to get started with customer journey mapping for your key customer segments  Click Here to find out more

Online Mapping tools

Great news….Customer Journey Mapping  just got even better!

TouchPoint Dashboard is the first online software of its kind and goes beyond traditional mapping techniques. Maps are sharable with remote colleagues or anyone with access to the internet. This makes co-creation much easier and dramatically speeds up the total process of mapping a customer journey for different customer segments, propositions, channels and variations in your operating model.

  • %Organise all Touch-points
  • %Capture Touch-point information in one place
  • %Share online maps
  • %Collaborate with remote colleagues
  • %Change views with one click
  • %Map end2end journeys
  • %Create a library for proposition design

Book a consultation today to discuss how we can help you use customer mapping.

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