Posts Tagged 'Marketing'

The Content Paradigm Shift

ParadignShift

I’m cutting to the chase. and feel free to disagree with me at any point when you think I’m wrong. Content curation tools are great. No really, they are, except all they do is pull the content in and that really is just half the battle. The content game played by every brand, everywhere, in some way, shape or form, is finding that content, every day, manually interpreting it and then tailoring it to their audience and then pushing it out. Every day.

Brands can and will measure its effectiveness, they fish where the fish are, and every day they push out more content. In the hopes that the consumer will bite; and in most cases they will. This is what digital marketing has become. It’s a game. The game has become more sophisticated about how it is played and approached, but guess what? The consumer has evolved as well. The consumer knows what content they like, what content they want, how they want to consume it and where they would like to consume it and on what device.

The bottom line is you cannot automate the customer experience. Creating a truly fluid customer experience might be automated across devices and platforms, but to understand what your customer wants and needs has to be interpreted manually.

The world of the content marketer resets every day to square one. The really good marketers know what works and what doesn’t. Not merely from the data but probably from actually listening to the customer. I think that a fluid customer experience has to start with content that connects, it then flows through engagement and ends with trust. That’s it. Let’s trust you know your customer and what they want. Why? Because it resets every day, what you do and what they want.

How do you Measure Success?

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I save way more than I need to. I’ll admit I do have a bit of a hoarder in me, not to the extremes that you see on TV, but only in the sense that the things that I save have a) some sort of lifetime business value or b) a sentimental family value. So, needless to say, there is a bit of an accumulation.

That means not only do I occasionally print things out, but I also bookmark a lot of sites and I also write stuff down on anything and everything. Translation-stacks of paper, folders, random scraps of paper, bar napkins and the backs of envelopes are not an uncommon sight on my desk. For me, when the thought or idea hits I reach for whatever is around to get it down on paper before it flies away!

The takeaway is that I realize that I save stuff, so I’m always trying to weed through and see what I can save and what I can throw away, which leads me to what I found written on a the back of an unopened envelope this past weekend. It simply said:

How do you measure success?

It’s weird but when I wrote it down it didn’t have the same impact as it did at that moment. Maybe it’s the timing of words. The moment has to be right for them to have the greatest effect. Regardless, they were powerful words, if not a powerful question.

I immediately sat down and just started to noodle on it. Maybe it should be your success? How are you measuring your success? My success? Some might tell you that success is relative. And it is. As singer songwriter Paul Simon once sang, “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” We all can measure success either incrementally or micro-incrementally. The point being that we can measure it no matter how large or how small.

We can call them baby steps. We can call it growth, maturity, experience, whatever. The bottom line is that we can associate success with the smallest of things or the largest. All you have to do is “define” it. Define your success and define it in terms that make sense. I think sometimes we believe that we have failed because we have not succeeded. Perhaps it’s because we failed at looking at success in the right way?

BarbellSet

Noted scholar and teacher, W. Edwards Deming, is incorrectly attributed to a quote that gets used each and every day. It’s as follows: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Most people have the quote wrong and yet it continues to be an extremely popular saying. In its present form, it fits for the sake of this discussion. However, what Dr. Deming really said was that one of the seven deadly diseases of western management is “Running a company on visible figures alone.” This makes complete sense and yet runs counter to the quote, but is a perfect segue’ into how we all measure success in digital and social marketing.

I read Dr. Deming’s “real” quote to say that you need to trust your gut and trust your instincts. In other words, know that though the numbers may say that you have a “successful” company, if everyone is miserable and everyone hates you? Is that success? Is that a visible figure?

For a lot of large companies and even the small ones, it’s all about measuring the impact of their efforts, right? Whether it is sales, leads, deals closed, online orders or prospects identified etc., companies can’t really keep the lights on without this type of quantifiable data. Some will call this ROI and still others will simply break down these efforts as, “Here’s the money coming in, here’s the money going out and here are the expenses.”

However, the bottom line is that in business or in life, what we all do, whether we realize it or not, is we measure the outcomes. Maybe not so much in an analytical way but we do measure our daily outcomes. Was it fun? Did we lose? Was it worth it? Did you have a bad experience? Did they like you? Was it your fault? Did you win? Did you buy it? Did you get the promotion? Lose your job? Did you diet? How was your workout? Are these successes? Sure they are!

Yes, like it or not, it would seem that we do measure all of our engagements and experiences. Things that we manage it would seem, Dr. Deming notwithstanding, can be measured. We are indeed, measuring our success.
But maybe we’re missing the big picture? Maybe, just maybe, we’re getting the definition of success wrong? Or maybe we’re just not defining it properly? Perhaps if we realign our definition of success, we can achieve more?

Two questions that I always ask of every friend or client who either wants to get themselves or their company in to the digital game, whether it’s social media, mobile marketing, web design, search engine optimization or otherwise:

What do you want to do and why do you want to do it?

Be clear on those 2 objectives and then be clear on how you’re going to measure your success. Little wins are just as important as the big ones!

The State of Retail Mobility [Infographic]

How have other top retailers responded to the mobile challenge? Big huge thanks to global IT and business solution provider Cognizant for this infographic. :)

 

The Top 5 Challenges for Digital Brands in 2012

Last week in a very thought provoking Tweetchat hosted by Lisa Petrilli, the discussion, though swirling around how an introvert uses social media, somehow segued into driving website traffic. So my first thought was a poll was in order. But then I started to think about 2012 and the challenges that most brands will face and thus the basis for this post was born: The challenges for a digital marketer or a digital brand in 2012. What are they specifically as it pertains to the web?

1) Driving traffic–  The challenge in 2011 is the same in 2012. In order for people to know that you are open for business you have to get them to your website, your blog, your Twitter account or your Facebook page, right? Whether you’re a click and mortar or a web based only company, either or requires  more than just a cursory amount of effort revolved around driving traffic. So you have to think about things like:

  • Site design that incorporates SEO
  • SEM to artificially drive traffic
  • Some type of lead generation
  • Social site design geared towards your target audience
  • Content creation

All with the premise of driving traffic. Eyeballs.

2) Engaging that traffic-You’ve got them to your site(s) now what are doing with them? In 2011, it was all about doing “something” with someone once they had visited your site, your blog or your Facebook page. Well that hasn’t changed. In 2012, it’s imperative that we determine what engagement looks like. What does it feel like, what does it smell like? Is it conversational? Interactive? Is it wrapped around gaming? You have to test, you have to experiment and you have to understand that you have about 20 seconds to get it right.

3) Keeping the traffic-The segue from the last sentence in #2 says it all. You have 20 seconds. For some of my friends, when they are telling me a long story and I start to lose interest, I tell them to quit circling the airport, land the plane and get to the point. Marketers and brands will need to land the plane in 2012. Remember when websites were stuffed with content because marketers and webmasters thought that’s what we wanted? Guess what? The challenge now is to do more with less and strike the balance of keeping your users happy, engaged and delivering exactly what it is that they are looking for. Keep your users focused in 2012. Be iconic, keep it simple.

4) Converting the traffic-This is the holy grail of web marketing and sales. Doing something with the people that have come to your site(s). From the dawn of the internet, the goal has always been to convert the people that come to your site into either a lead or a prospect or a sale-Either for your company or your partners. This has not changed. The challenge in 2012 will be to further understand how to utilize the social tools, sites and platforms that now exist in order to convert the passive visitor into something other than a mistaken click, a browser or a passerby. In 2012 social will continue to help deliver customers to websites, but it still falls back on you to deliver on the promise of a good  customer experience. The biggest issue? Brands and marketers doing everything to get to the prom but not getting the kiss at the end of the night. Why? It will always be about the customer experience. Don’t discount the importance of search in this equation.

5) Getting the traffic to return-Repeat business, Word of mouth and increased sales, this is what it’s all about. It’s why people go into business, it’s why companies sell stuff. What’s better? The one off or the repeat customer? Why will people keep coming back to a website? Because  of the initial experience. How many people give a crappy website a second chance? None. They come back to good sites that are  easy to navigate, easy to understand, simple to use, that are safe, secure and trusted and they can find and get exactly what they want without much more than 2 or 3 clicks.  Put yourself in the place of your customer. Search for your own product or company the way they do. Do you/they find what they are looking for? Can you be found through search and social? What is your perception of the branded web experience? What are your competitors doing? What are your favorite sites? What brands do you follow on Twitter and Facebook? There’s a reason you follow them. You need to take that mentality into 2012 when it comes to marketing and branding your web presence.

Meet your own expectations as a consumer and flip them into those of your customers.

Content May Be King, BUT…Customers Rule!

Guest Post from Chris Doster from Digital Response Marketing Group

As a “newbie” to the digital marketing space, I may only have a “surface level” comprehension of this ever evolving profession, but I know my customers…

Since the days of dial-up AOL and old school cell phones with plans that required a bank loan, I’ve been marketing products and services to the medical device industry about as far back as when Gates and Jobs (R.I.P) were just getting started..

I might be a dinosaur when compared to “digital strategists” of the modern day new media, but some things will never change.  One constant, in my humble opinion, is the fact that with all the high-tech “reaching out” methodologies and social channels that exist to make companies more engaging, and accessible, is that the CUSTOMER, still rules…

Now as a guest columnist, I don’t mean to ruffle any virtual feathers here, but since the dawn of the “world wide web”, those of you with the secret skills of “I.T” haven’t always been the most popular staff members in the office.  Much like the respected yet confusing golf pro, it often seems that the “geeks” that create  software, apps and sites and make them tick, make many customers go “blink, blink” with blank stares like a “South Park” Character.

You might proclaim to the customer that you have the “golden ticket” to traffic, conversions, and  “conversations”, but you still get “the look”

So do I have all the answers for the fledgling social media marketer, of course not.  But this much I do know; I am your target audience.  I know enough to be dangerous in regards to “search and social”, but you all play a game I am not familiar with…

From my experience, the majority of business owners are way too busy making payroll and making a marketable product.  To assume they understand your business would be assuming you know theirs….do you?

My simple suggestion would be to consider what I was taught back in the dark ages of that lost art of face-to-face sales calls.  Combine the “high tech” with a bit of “high touch” and remember that people buy from people.

All the “CMS” tools  and knowledge you may drop on a client, all the technical jargon and “buzz words” may make you appear as the “King” (or Queen) of the Digital marketing world.  But if you forget that “nothing happens until there’s a sale”, and that making a connection with your prospect is your most important tool, you just might forget that “Customers” still rule…

 

We all need another set of eyes

As a business owner, at the end of the day, you’re in business to sell a product or service which means that you may know that product backwards and forwards, but does that mean you know how to market it? Maybe. Does it mean that you know digital marketing/ social media marketing? Does that mean you know e-commerce? Maybe not.

Some SMB’s prefer to do it all. Some can, some can’t. Some try, some fail. Enter the third party.

I’m having a conversation with a friend right at this moment in which he’s saying that the only thing constant in life is change. I agree, especially in social media. His point?  People who run companies cannot do it all. But they try, they struggle, they dabble, and thus think they have it under control. Perhaps everyone needs that extra set of eyes on some aspects of what they do. Business owners need to understand that having  another set of eyes is not necessarily a bad thing. The key is knowing when you need them and swallowing your pride to admit that you need them.

At the end of the day, you need to do what you do best. If you’re a doctor, asking you to market your product was not part of what you learned in medical school.

Social changes every day, so being an expert is a tall task. Being an expert in what you do takes time, takes effort and takes commitment. Can you be an expert in everything that you do in your business? For digital marketers, being connected to your network at least allows you stay abreast of what changes daily in the space. You take what you learn daily everywhere you go. Translation-How can you run your business and being effective with digital marketing? Especially if you’re a click and mortar business.

Beyond  digital and social media and taking a broad lens approach to life, and knowing that we are all in some sort of bubble begs the question. Doesn’t having another set of eyes help you? Well there ya go…

Competing with Free

Every day we’re faced with free and I hate it… Marketers throw free around like it’s confetti. Consumers snap up free stuff because it’s free. But does free work? Does giving stuff away for free make you eventually buy stuff? No, generally not. I’ve often said that the majority of people that follow brands on Facebook do it not because they are supposed brand champions  but purely because they are hoping to get something out of the engagement. Something free.

Why would you follow Nike , Gatorade or American Eagle  on Facebook? Because of the cool videos? Because of the witty banter? Or maybe you’re all about new product launches? Engagement? No? Be honest. You just want to connect with your niche of people that wear Nike and American Eagle and drink Gatorade…

Ok, so pretend you’re the SMB or the competition. How do other companies compete when Nike, Gatorade and AE give stuff away for free? Do they just go ahead and break down and give  away free stuff too? Predictable right? I think part of the reason why case studies on organizations that do it differently are written is because the majority of marketers and companies do it the same way over and over with predictably average results. We embrace and applaud being different and yet conversely, we choose nine times out of ten, to do it just like our competition. Why is that?

I remember asking a small business owner once why they kept advertising in magazines and newspapers when the results were so poor. Their answer was that they had no other options. They didn’t know what else to do, so they just kept doing what didn’t work. Thus, fighting free with free may seem like a good idea, in the end it is not a business model.

The value of free

The problem is we’re asking local SMB’s to compete with big brands who give stuff away for free all the time, by forcing them to give stuff away for free too. This ultimately leads to 2 things: 1)  It’s costing them more than they can really afford or b) It’s not really having the same impact on the consumer as it would if it was coming from the big brand.

The over-reaching formula for big brands is to create awareness of new stuff by giving away free stuff and then use social networks to promote the promise of free while driving the notion of new. Does giving something away for free inflate the value of that new product or service? Uh no. It may create awareness of the brand, product or company but there is no value in free.

Unfortunately we’re chasing the long tail of free, we always have. The internet and the emergence of social networks have created an atmosphere of chasing free wherever it may be. Interesting thing though is that you get what you pay for, even when it’s free.

So how do you compete?

I had a friend of mine who recently asked me how is he supposed to make money blogging or creating good content- and this was after one of his friends mentioned that a monkey could write content… I asked him, why would someone pay for your content? What is the value proposition of your content? Is it so bad that you feel the only way to push it out is as free content? We have to eliminate the notion that our IP is not valuable and promote the aspect of content, products and services that are so valuable that people would indeed pay for them.

The internet and social have gone a long way to creating free platforms to access free content when in actuality most people would pay for it if the value of the content they wanted were implicit. The point- we have created free markets for free which is a flawed model right out of the blocks.  Don’t give something away to sell something-you can’t compete with those that use that as a business model. So what’s the work around?

Try this:

a) Value your content

b) Create valuable content

c) Focus on where that content can be valued

d) Create a market for your content that creates awareness of you, your brand and your company

Lastly, Pay attention to this interview  by Andrew Keen of WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell. Very telling.


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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