Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Marketing Automation Success Factors…

Image

Anyone that reads my blog knows that I am all about automating your marketing.  As marketers, we just don’t have the time and man/woman power it takes to hand crank marketing campaigns.  That’s why I love all the strides marketing software companies have made in help crazed marketers like me automate their marketing campaigns.

Now all of this said, even in this day and age, marketing automation systems are not completely automated.  And you need to know that before jumping in and laying down a bundle of cash for a marketing automation system. 

I recently read a great blog article on the MASG website about the subject; it’s by Justin Gray , CEO of LeadMD called Marketing Automation ROI: Myths and Facts.

While I encourage you to read the full blog, here are some of the key takeaways for me that you might enjoy (by the way, I am paraphrasing and adding my own spin here):

  • Start at the beginning not the end…Make sure your database is in order before you start
  • Marketing Automation is One Big IF/THEN Statement— Make sure you have a leads process in place, the system just automates your manual process; having a detailed leads process map will be required!
  • You need lots of content—you need to think of your marketing automation as a campaign, not as a series of “once and dones”
  • You don’t just flip a switch and turn marketing automation on…it can take months to get it up and running (in a smooth manner)
  • The results of marketing automation aren’t immediate—some campaigns have a long tail
  • Measuring the success of marketing automation takes time—good things come to those who are patient (not those who wait)

Four success factors of Marketing Automation:

  • Executive Buy-in
  • Good to great content
  • Milestones and success factors
  • Know when a lead is a lead and when it is still a prospect

What to read more about this?  Click here:

Happy Marketing!

Getting the Most Out of Your Direct Marketing Campaigns

I have been in the marketing field for almost 20 years now.  And, this not only makes me old, but it also gives you the understanding that I have been there and done that with a lot of things…particularly when it comes to market research and direct marketing.

Recently, I was speaking with someone who was relatively new to the field of marketing…you know the one…the person who uses the word “advertising” as a synonym for marketing.  This person had no idea that how you approached marketing differed depending upon whether your marketing effort was aimed at pure brand building play or if it was focused on getting someone to take immediate actions (direct marketing).

Here’s briefly what I told the marketing novice:

  • Know what success is before you start—make it specific 
  • Give them an offer they can’t refuse—also known as target your message to your target market 
  • Give them the WIIFM—if they know what’s in it for them, they are more likely to respond 
  • Make responding easy—and don’t assume everyone wants to go to a landing page/website or email you…some of us old timers want a good old-fashioned business reply card 
  • Don’t be a one-shot wonder—you need to think campaign, not once and done (which I like to call once and none) 
  • Include your Superman copy—make sure your copy gives them your unique selling proposition (aka how you are faster than a silver bullet and leap tall buildings with a single bound 
  • Test and learn—don’t shoot the wad before you know your direct marketing strategy is going to work
  • Spend enough—think about your prospects and what will motivate them to respond and hopefully convert and spend accordingly—think lifetime value of customers you bring on board

These insights were helpful to the novice, I hope they are helpful to you as well.

Happy Marketing!

When Bad Journalism Impacts Your Public Relations/Marketing Efforts…

I have heard time and time again that any PR is good for you…even if it is negative.  And, while I don’t necessarily agree with this assertion, I do believe that you need to get your name out there, through PR in particular, as much as you can.

But, what happens when the wonderful interview you did with a “journalist” not only gets miss quoted but your cool new product/service gets associated with your competitor’s name?    It happened just the other day to my husband’s company by a journalist for USA Today.  Here’s the link, can you tell from this piece that Haws Corporation owns the name Hydration Station?    Click Here.    After the gnashing of teeth and tearing of clothes is over, what can you really do?  Well, in this day of social media…plenty.

 

1)      E-mail the Publication—the first step should be to email the publication about the mistake and ask for a retraction in the next printed issue or in the next electronic publication.  This will get your name out again and could be even better than the impact you would have achieved through the first article. 

  • What if they say no?  Well, there is nothing you can do with the printed version, but you can use the comment section for the article as a way to correct the author.  I would recommend that if you are going to take this action that you have a friend or business associate do the comment for you so that it does not appear self-serving.

2)      Share the article through Social Media—in this way you get your name associated with your product and with the great newsworthy article.  It makes you and your product “visible.”  Encourage your fans/friends and others to pass it on.

3)      Place a link to your article on your website—having fresh content relating to your brand/product/service on your website increases your “Google” juice and makes you more visible on the internet.

4)      E-mail the Author—you would have thought that I would have put that first wouldn’t you?  But in many instances the author is a freelancer and has very little control over (or desire to) fix their mistakes.

5)      Acceptance—you need to accept that many publications are using freelancers and that you are not going to be entirely control of your message.  Be prepared (and prepare your boss!).

Mistakes in PR are going to be more and more problematic as the switch from full-time journalists to freelance “experts” and writers becomes more mainstream.  You need to be prepared to deal with the mistakes  quickly and decisively. 

Happy Marketing!

I’m an expert, how about you?

When you have a small business, minutes matter.  You have to stay focused, which is very hard to do in this chaotic business world in which many of us operate.  In the past, many companies operated and sold either locally or, at most, regionally.  Now, we are global.  So how can you differentiate your brand, in addition to your products and services?  Become the Expert!

I was reading Ivana Taylor’s article regarding influence (You 14 Step Roadmap to becoming an Influencer ) on openforum.com and it got me thinking…what can small businesses do to make themselves brand experts? 

Here are some ideas that I gleaned from Ivana with my additions (of course).

  • Put in the time—You truly do need to be an expert to claim that status (don’t be a poser!)…Ivana recommends 10,000 hours…that means that you have to be working full time in an industry for at least five years to claim expert status…totally doable!  Remember though, focus is key… I am not just a market research and marketing expert…I am an expert in B2B insurance market research and B2B insurance marketing (as well as other things…wink). 
  • Strategically Embrace Social media—there are a lot of things you can do through social media that will boost your expert status, but you can’t afford to waste time.  Here are my quick hit favorites:
    • LinkedIn—join 50 groups…it’s fast and easy; and, actively post articles and ask questions in the groups from which you think you will get the most “expert status” bump. 
    • Blog—Don’t do what I do…keep your blogs short and sweet…and do what I do…keep them on topic.  When you blog, use key words you want to own/be associated with your name/brand…like marketing, commercial insurance, Net Promoter Score.  If you have more time…I suggest you also place comments on other people’s blogs—it helps with Google juice!  Another idea would be to guest blog, but few of us have enough time to write our own blogs let alone blog for other people.  I would try to get them to repost one of the blogs you have already written.
    • Create a YouTube video—if you have a video camera and an internet connection, you are pretty much set.  Make the video really short (1 to 3 minutes, tops) and very informative and instructional.  Oh, and make it fun.    Post these videos on your website…more Google juice!
    • Publish…Your Data—if you collect and analyze data and can publish it…do so!   Nothing better than providing the world with useful information.  And, after you have published your data…write a press release about it.  It doesn’t cost that much to get your press releases run through the newswires. 
    • In-person Networking—yes, you need to get out there and meet people face to face, not just online.  To do this, I recommend joining associations and attending their conferences (to the extent it makes sense).  Service clubs like Rotary are great as well, but don’t just focus on local things and events.  
    • Speak/Join Panels/Webinars—most of us would rather jump off a bridge than speak publically; but, there are few better ways to build up your expert status than having documented proof that people are willing to pay for your advice.

There are a heck of a lot more ways to get your brand elevated to expert status, but these were my favorites.  And, as you have probably noticed, most of them are absolutely free (except for your time). 

What are you doing to elevate your brand status to expert?

Happy Marketing!

Social Media and Living the Thank You Economy Dream…

I just finished the book The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk and it got me wondering, what if we all lived in the Thank You Economy world instead of the I Win You, Lose world? And, of course the second part of the issue is…does Gary practice what he preaches…the answer, by the way, is YES!

If you know me, you know that I am a wine enthusiast. And, as such, I am always looking to try new (good) wines. So when I found out about the winelibrary.com from Gary’s book, I decided to give them a try. The site is very easy to navigate and I found plenty of quality wines to buy…I limited myself to 4 just to try them out. Though there are a few more (a lot more expensive ones) that I have my eye on. So who cares? Well I do, but it’s what happened next that was the important thing.

Great Thing: The very next day after my purchase, I got a call at work from the Wine Library thanking me for my recent purchase. Can you imagine that? A personal call…in addition to the automatic email I received. I was floored. How impressive!

Not so Good Thing: The girl (ok woman, but she sounded really, really young…perhaps not even old enough to drink the wine I just purchased) had not been trained well enough to be on the phone with customers…particularly brand new customers. It seemed to me that she had just been given a list with customers’ phone numbers and then told call these people and thank them for their order. On the surface this seems fine right? But, the call was extremely awkward. The gal said “hi it’s so and so from the winelibrary.com and I am calling to thank you for your order.”  Dead space. Me: “ok.” Dead space. “Um, do you have any questions?” Me: “I saw on your website that you are having a shipping delay due to the weather, when do you think my order will ship.”  Gal: “You will get an email when it ships.”  Me: “So you have no idea when it will ship?”   Gal: “No.”  The call ends soon after that. So, the moral of the story is that she needed a script or at the very least an outline. Gary doesn’t think so…but I humbly disagree. 

Kinda Awesome Thing: Since I am following Gary on twitter, I thought I would see if we could converse about this experience I had. The whole purpose was to let him, the owner know, that he is losing the effectiveness of his thank you calls because at least one of the people making the calls (the gal I talked with) was not trained enough—just trying to help. Interestingly, I know that Gary detests having scripted calls. Being a marketer and a market researcher, I am dedicated to such things. So I expected a lively discussion. I tweeted Gary that he needed to improve his thank you calls. Within an hour of me posting the tweet, he sent me two tweets asking me what was up and letting me know that he didn’t believe in scripted calls. I explained what happened and why I thought it was necessary.

Did he say he was going to look into it? No. Did he say he would do anything? No. Did he thank me for even letting him know he has an issue? No. So the experience was just kinda awesome. He responded to the tweet, but he didn’t say anything more than the questions he posed. I don’t have closure. Oh well, I accomplished my goal…I let him know he had a problem.  As, a potentially long-term customer for winelibrary.com, hopefully I will have eventually helped the process. 

The key to the story for me is that Gary is living in the Thank You Economy and I think all businesses could benefit from living in this type of economy. But please remember…don’t let your process show while living in this Thank You Economy.

Happy Marketing!

Social media = brand engagement

In my last blog, I’ve talked about the fact that we are now in the age of the consumer.  Today I want to further this discussion by talking about some stats put out recently by emarketer. Specifically, I want to talk about some research conducted by ROI Research and how the majority of consumers are using social media to provide feedback (and connect) with brands.

In this research, ROI Research found that people using social media to discuss products and services on social sites were:

• Price shopping (59%)

Talking about offers (56%) <–as a marketer…this really excites me! 

• Providing feedback (53%)

• Giving advice (50%)

• Telling others where to purchase items online (49%)

Expressing disappointment about a product or service (47%) <–I have done this many times!

• Tell folks where to purchase items offline (47%)

• Talking to customer service (36%)—WOW!

Another great bit of information about how consumers engage with brands comes from a study from a MarketTools survey. In this survey, they found that although US travelers may be embracing social networks to express feedback more frequently than in the past, social media as a feedback or customer service channel is still in its infancy.

This study is near and dear to my heart considering I blasted Southwest Airlines for bad customer service through all forms of social media for them to completely ignore me. Oh well, they do offer cheap flights as long as you aren’t traveling across the country.

What are you doing to engage your customers through social media? 

Happy Marketing!

In the Age of the Consumer, Engagement is King!

While it’s usually used to describe the housing market, the phrase “it’s a buyer’s market” now describes most consumer markets.  Why? The amount and depth of information that is available at the consumers’ fingers of course.

I was just reading the blog by Josh Bernoff entitled Welcome to the Age of the Customer. Invest accordingly and it really had me thinking…as a researcher and a marketer, what does this shift to the “age of the consumer” mean to me?   I am guessing lots.   If this topic interests you, I highly recommend you (buy and) read the full report from Forrester on the topic.   Click here to go to the report site.

Here’s a great chart that Forrester has put together explaining how the influence of the consumer has changed over the years.  Basically it shows the balance of power shifting from the manufacturer to the consumer and the impetuous being access to information.

So at the end of the day what does the age of the consumer mean?  It means that we marketers need to think engagement rather than revenue.  We need to focus our resources on building the appropriate sharing and engagement tools—and this has to go beyond social media.  This means we need to keep in contact with our customers and prospects.  At the company I work for, we use a marketing automation system to nurture our prospects and keep our customers engaged.

Now—back to my market research side…as a market researcher, the age of the consumer has serious ramifications.  These ramifications range from more and more people trying out DIY market research (probably much to their detriment), the touch points that need to be measured in our customer satisfaction and loyalty, transaction and AAU (attitudes, awareness and usage) studies are going to increase significantly. And, the way in which we complete surveys is also going to change.  And, we need to be prepared for the change.  It’s not just conducting studies via telephone and online, we also have to consider mobile surveys and virtual focus groups.  So many choices, so little time!

While we are truly facing a brave new world, it can be lucrative for those who build their operating and marketing strategy around customer engagement first, and revenue generation second.

How are you engaging your customers and prospects in this age of the consumer?

Happy Marketing!

%d bloggers like this: