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Category Archives: Business marketing

Employee culture is too important to leave to chance

By | Branding, Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer Insight, Employee Experience, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing, Value Proposition, vision | No Comments

Your culture can make or break your brand but more importantly it can attract the right people who want to work for you and can helps people deliver their best work.

  • Culture HackHave you considered whether you are creating a purposeful culture?
  • Have you got a list of values that are active and don’t just consist of lip service?
  • Do you make decisions according to your values?
  • Do you hire and fire for values?
  • Do you have a personality to your company?
  • Is it important to create a company you love?
  • What are our shared beliefs?
  • Is making money your highest priority or do you have a higher motivation?
  • What is your global vision and local vision?

Whether we like it or not a culture will be created, so why not create it?

Isn’t it important to rally the troops around one goal?

Resources:

“Your Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”

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

Jeff Bezos once famously said that your brand is what people say about you when you’re not
in the room. Today we have platforms that allow us to listen to what people of saying and these are really a gift. Social networks, blogs, You Tube, Review sites like WOMO all give us access to understanding and responding to customer questions, answers, experiences. It can help validate a decision. Crowd scoring tools can help us as well like customer monitor, sodahead ,1000heads and Buzzagent. Then there is Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and updates.

BUSINESSES SPEND BILLIONS AND OBSESS OVER FIGURING OUT WHAT THEIR CUSTOMERS THINK–BUT THEY SHOULDN’T. HERE’S WHY YOU CAN NO LONGER MAKE EXCUSES FOR A LACK OF USEFUL FEEDBACK” Fast company.

Collaborative marketing

We can see who are influencers of our brand and connect with them. We can learn about how to improve. We can create and steer future experiences with the benefit of this insight.

So what is the take away. You should be listening to what your customers and  employees and take action to improve your marketing. The information is out there if you use it. We spend annually $33 billion on customer research but today we don’t need to do that. It is at our fingertips with the digital touch points. Listening to your customers isn’t hard. We can test and make different decisions quickly. Stop programs, change your website within an hour or email campaigns. We can test and fail quickly and spend our dollars more effectively.

Mashable give us some good feedback suggestions. What happens if your brand perception isn’t what you thought it should be. What if your customers have a different understanding? What next?

Strategic Service Design is a great start

 

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.

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.

Have your buyers changed their behaviour?

By | Business marketing, Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Rain Today has a great article on and interview with Kristin Zhivago on the nature and change of buyer behaviour. What I really love about Kristin’s approach is that it focuses on the customer.

One  of the biggest tips is to interview your customers. This is a definite part of my approach. How else do you know what your customers want? How they look for your services? What was their buying path?

Kristin states that search engines, have lost their appeal. Buyers have changed their behavior and now turn to friends and social network communities to help them decide who to hire. Especially for service based businesses they ask questions on Linkedin Groups and look for recommendations. Consumers looking for products are going to Pinterest for the product recommendations.

“In the last year or so, something switched. I was interviewing customers for my clients, and instead of saying [they go to Google when starting the buying process] they started saying something else,” she says. “What they said was, ‘Well, first I go to friends. I go to people I know on LinkedIn.’ Basically they were saying look, I found people like me in social networks.”

“They may make their entire buying decision without ever talking to a salesperson or even going to a website. They may reject somebody because so many people have said, ‘No, don’t go to them because they say this, but they actually do that,'” she says.

Now buyers turn to their friends, they get a short list of providers, and then they go to the web.

“Buyers have these customer recommendation engine communities, and they use those to find out who they should be going to, who they can trust, who’s got the good stuff. And then that’s how they shop,” Zhivago says.

Marketers and sellers need to wake up to this, she says. They can’t pretend buyer behavior hasn’t changed. If they ignore it, they won’t be part of their conversations and won’t have a clue about what buyers really want.

Listen as Zhivago discusses:

  • How buyer behavior has changed
  • What marketers must do to adapt to this behavior
  • The importance of thought leadership in the new buyer environment
  • Why you need to ask current customers about their experience working with you
  • Common mistakes service firms make

Listen

If you are ready to use customer insight to improve your marketing decisions,learn more here.

 

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