Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Marketing Automation Success Factors…

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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!

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QR Code or Not to QR Code…

Ok, believe it or not…that’s not the question.  At least it shouldn’t be your first question.  Your first question should be strategy related, not tactical.  So your first question should be something like:  “what do I want my marketing to do” or “what is the overall goal of my marketing efforts”.

Ok, now that you’ve got that down, you need to ask yourself “who is my audience”?  Much of the QR code success has been in the B2C space, not B2B space.  But if you don’t have a B2B focus, don’t fret…there is an “app” for that.  Check out my next Blog about Gamification.

So who is using QR Codes and where are they using it?  The best usage statistics comes from ComScore.  According to Comscore, the leading consumer research company, 14 million people in the U.S. used QR codes in June 2011–equating to 6.2% of the total mobile audience in the U.S. having scanned a QR or bar code on their mobile device in June.  A strong number considering that QR Codes have really only been actively used in the U.S. for a couple of years

Who are using QR Codes? 

  • Males: 60.5% 
  • Gen Y and Gen X:  53.4% of the 18 to 35 segment

What media do they prefer to scan?

  • 49.4% say magazines and newspapers
  • 34.4% say product packaging

Where do they prefer to scan?

  • 58% say at home
  • 39.4% say retail stores

ComScore’s report was based on a sample of 14,452 adults. The study was the first time comScore measured QR code use.

So consumers are using them, but are they using them to buy stuff?  Check out my upcoming blogs to find out…

Happy Marketing!

The “policing” of social media…they are watching you!

In our deliberate and not so deliberate personal branding efforts, we must always remember that everything we do and say is searchable and discoverable on the internet.  I saw a posting from a colleague Daniel Draz on LinkedIn that I believe everyone should see….the results from a study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as shown on the website for  Fraud Solutions.

A little about the IACP: The IACP’s Center for Social Media was launched in October 2010 for the sole purpose of building the capacity of law enforcement to use social media to prevent and solve crimes, strengthen police-community relations, and enhance services. IACP’s Center for Social Media serves as a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement personnel develop or enhance their agency’s use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations.

So what does that mean?  Big Brother is truly here and watching you!

Here are some of the highlights of the survey:

  • 81.1% of agencies surveyed use social media.
  • 66.8% of agencies surveyed have a Facebook page–yes the IACP has one as well…click here to view it
  • 35.2% of agencies surveyed have a social media policy and an additional 23.2% are in the process of crafting a policy.
    • Of the agencies not currently using social media, 61.6% are considering its adoption.

Okay so you might be asking why, as a marketer, I am showing you this.  Well, first off, it is cool information.  But more importantly, how you brand your company and yourself (what you do and say) on the internet  is discoverable, it’s all public record.  And, those of us that are higher up in our companies…we can do major damage to not only our personal brands, but our company brands as well if we get sloppy on the internet.

Happy Marketing!

Business Owners: Wake Up and Smell the Facebook!

If I had a dime for every time someone said, “you can’t make money from Social Media” I would probably be on a beach somewhere having a Cosmopolitan. 

After giving the person the lecture on the fact that social media marketing is “social” first and “marketing” second, I tell them you can make money on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you just haven’t educated yourself on how. 

Don’t believe me?  Chew on this…according to eMarketer, U.S. marketers will spend $3.08 billion to advertise on social networking sites this year, about a 55% over their 2010 spend.  And, eMarketer expects this number to reach $4 billion by 2012.   

So are all these people wasting their money?  Well some clearly are, but for many not.  It can be much, much cheaper to build brand awareness among and engage your audience through social media than through traditional advertising such as TV and Print.

So why is Facebook so important?  Well, in a few words… over 175 million people (log in every day to Facebook).

So why now for Facebook?  Get in early (or should I say less late).  If you check the online advertising costs for Facebook, you will see that some markets (based on their cost per click) are relatively untapped.  Why not get your product or service in front of your markets now before someone else does?

Like it or not, Social Media and Facebook are here to stay (at least for now).  You need to jump in before it’s too late. 

Happy Marketing!

Why you aren’t remarkable and 5 things you can do about it…

I am reading Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah creators of a company called Hubspot.com and one of the sections that really resonated with me is the notion of being worthy and more specifically being as Seth Godin describes…remarkable.

Whether it is from a personal branding or a branding for a business perspective, very few of us really spend the time needed to determine how we are or could be remarkable.  And when I say remarkable, I mean much more that just unique.  It is something that makes you or your business different in a way that matters to your target market.  So, not just a competitive advantage, but a meaningful competitive advantage.

How can you make your company remarkable?  Here are 5 easy steps:

  1. Know thyself—do some soul searching for you personally and for your business.
  2. Determine what really makes you remarkable—spend time figuring out why people should be talking about you/your product and buying from you.
  3. Communicate why you are remarkable—social media is a great way to get people and prospects to understand quickly why you are remarkable…but remember, don’t “meform” in social media…inform.  And, the best thing about using social media to communicate why you and your company are remarkable is that it only really costs your time (and brain power).
  4. Use a smaller net—focus your business on remarkable things, don’t try to be all things to all people…if your target market finds you remarkable, they will pay more for you.
  5. Be consistently remarkable—while it is true that things in motion tend to stay in motion, staying remarkable takes work, a lot of it.  Some companies like Apple are really good at staying remarkable, but they have “people” for that.  So for us little people, we have to take a few minutes out of each day to focus on what makes us remarkable today and what could make us remarkable tomorrow.

Ok, so why do you need to be remarkable?  It’s simply really; companies that are remarkable don’t get caught up in the commodization of their product or service offering.  People will pay more for remarkable products and services and more importantly, remarkable brands.

How are you remarkable?

The next generation of new product development…

As a marketer and a market researcher, I get really jazzed when I find something that makes my job easier…a lot easier.  And I just found something that I believe will revolutionize the new product development component of marketing.  Here’s how:

When you are developing a new product, one of the major headaches you will experience revolves around getting comps (marketing or engineering) of your product to show potential investors, partners and/or distributors.  Not only can this development phase be costly in terms of prototyping, but it can take a lot of time and people resources.   

Well folks, I am very happy to say that times they are a changing as it relates to prototyping.   

Enter the talented folks at PixelMachine!   

To better explain how Pixel Machine makes CGI visualization work for their clients, let’s look at it in a “problem/opportunity/result” way. 

Analysis Paralysis: Stop doodling and start rendering!

(Click here to see the before and after)

Problem: Building physical prototypes of products in development is fantastically expensive. Using illustrations and cobbled together mock-ups not only degrade the effect of the prototype, they can be at odds with your high quality (high price) brand strategy.  Thus, your comps detract from your brand and leave you with zero interest with respect to investors and distribution partners.

Opportunity: CGI can create a realistic and accurate image and video of your product BEFORE it is actually built.  Thus, it allows you to test your product in focus groups and elsewhere, gain valuable consumer and end-user insights and develop initial marketing materials before you have invested the huge amount of money in prototyping. Edits are quick and require only a re-rendering.  Imagine that!

Result: Final renders (that model your product from supplied schematics or illustrations) are developed with accurate materials such as metals, plastics, glass, paper, etc. resulting in physically accurate images suitable for making mission critical development decisions and changes.

 Departmental Inertia: CGI allows Engineering and Marketing to work together, imagine that!

Problem: You’ve spent money on in-house or contract CAD design of your product, but you need photorealistic images or video to promote the product in print, on the web or on mobile devices. Further, CAD rendering quality usually leaves much to be desired.

Opportunity: Leverage your sizable costs of CAD development by using existing CAD files for photorealistic images and video animations.

Result: Using your provided CAD designs, the company creates imagery (still and animated) that is indistinguishable from photography or captured video. They can animate product functionality, show exploded views, 360˚ rotations, etc.  In the end, you receive hi-resolution images and videos of your products at a cost that is far less than ‘from scratch’ model creation… it allows you to get more mileage out of your CAD investment!

While you won’t ever really get around having to do physical prototyping, what CGI visualization allows you to do is do a better job at concepting and evaluating new product ideas before you spend the money, time and people resources to develop a physical product. 

So what does this mean to me?  As a marketer (and a market researcher for that matter), I can have a much more defined and evaluated product before I enter a market or look for “angel” funding.

 Happy Marketing!

Personal branding faux pas…it can cost you business!

Using the internet to promote yourself and your brand has become the new paradigm in marketing and personal branding these days.  And, with the advent of social media, controlling your brand and your brand message has become even more important…and harder.  It’s particularly difficult if you want and need to take a stand and/or a side on a particular subject.

LinkedIn groups are particularly perilous when it comes to personal branding because the folks in your groups are friends, colleagues and perhaps future employers and/or clients.   So, much like deciding whether or not to bring up politics at the dinner table, when discussing a potentially fiery topic in a LinkedIn group you need to remember that there are consequences to what you say—regardless of whether you are “right” or not.

Case in point, Tom Anderson has a strong opinion about whether or not ISO (The International Organization for Standardization) standards should be used in the accreditation process for market research companies.  And, he voiced that opinion on his blog and through the various LinkedIn groups to which he belongs and moderates. 

So what happened as a result of one discussion chain in a LinkedIn market research group?  Tom lost his designation as the ESOMAR representative in the US and he lost a speaking engagement.  While I think Tom would say that he lost both of these things because they were in opposition of what ESOMAR is pushing, I would disagree (sorry Tom).  Tom lost these things because of a couple of things that he did wrong on in this stream…that I hope others can learn from:

  1. He is the owner and the moderator of the group but he didn’t control the group’s discussion—and the discussions got nasty…just about to the point of name calling.  Who would have thought a bunch of market research geeks (I am a certified geek) could be so vicious?
  2. He belittled colleagues for an opposing view—and allowed others to do the same.
  3. He didn’t know when to quit—this discussion, which started out as a very good discussion of a very important topic, got off topic and Tom just couldn’t stop himself from continuing to beat a “dead horse.”

For the record, I agree with Tom regarding ISO.  I don’t think it has any business in the market research world.  We are not making widgets.  ISO would kill the creative process that is so critically important to conducting innovative market research projects.  The issue I want to drive home here is that you can say anything you want on the internet (at least in America).  You just need to make sure that you don’t harm your personal brand by voicing your opinion in a manner that is not consistent with the professional nature of the social media groups to which you belong. 

Happy Marketing (and Personal Branding)!

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