Guest Post: Operational Information to Include in Your Business Plan

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Benjamin Franklin said that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. This is especially true when business planning. A business plan will be the road map that you follow as you create and grow your business. Central to the plan is the operational information that will link all of the parts together and transform your idea into a viable business.

Components of a Business Plan

Before focusing on one part of the business plan, it is important to understand all of the pieces that make up a good plan because they are all interrelated. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a typical business plan will have an executive summary, company description, market analysis and marketing methodology, management, services or product, and a financial projection. Each of these parts is dependent on information from other parts. For example, financial projections will influence the speed of manufacturing and vice versa. If you can only make 10 items a day, you either need to have a high price point or a low financial projection.

Start With the Market

There are several theories for developing a price structure, but the easiest is to set your price comparable to that of the industry average. Once you have your unit prices for products or services, you will multiply this by the number that you can make in a month to get your monthly revenue. Conversely, if you know how much you want to make per month, you can divide this by your unit cost to get the number for production in the month. Since all of your financial analysis comes from revenue and revenue comes from service or product delivery, this is the first important piece of operational information that you will need.

Know the Competition

Your competition will be one of your primary operational drivers. Do not look at them as an enemy. Instead, see competitors as businesses that have already achieved a market share and use them as a model of success. Most successful manufacturing companies have their pertinent information online. For example, Apple Rubber has material guides for its o-rings posted on its site. Assimilate this data into your operational plans instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.

Develop Flowcharts

There are a lot of moving parts to any business. It is one of the reasons that you want to plan it out. To truly understand the minutia of your operations, use a flowchart and plan out every element of the process from concept to delivery of products. Since one of the reasons for a business plan is to prove competency to an investor, the operations flowchart should be done with extreme detail. The ordering of supplies, quality assurance and distribution all need to make an appearance. If this is for a sole employee business, then the flowchart needs to show all of your activities, including marketing, accounting and service delivery.

The Cost of Space

The space needed to run your operation is directly influenced by the business structure, type of business and number of employees. This information also flows into your financial analysis as the purchase of a building will change the structure of your assets. Decide whether to purchase or lease and do not forget to include various fees associated with real estate. Weave all of this information throughout your plan so that it gives the most guidance possible for you and your business.

 

About the Author:

Paul Reyes-Fournier has served as the chief financial officer for social service organizations, churches and schools. He created his ownmarketing firm, RF Media. Paul holds a BS in physics and an MBA.

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Adobe Summit March 24-28, 2014 | Salt Lake City, UT

I’m looking forward to attending the Adobe Summit this year in Salt Lake City. Thinking about join me? Here are the top reasons why you should attend:

  1. Make the most of every opportunity

    Summit will give you the inspiration, tools, and know-how to find and maximize every marketing opportunity so you can increase your impact and your revenue.

  2. Learn from the experts.

    Summit sessions and labs are taught by some of the most innovative marketers from top companies around the world. This is your opportunity to learn from their years of real-world experience.

  3. Find solutions to your specific marketing issues.

    Learn how to tackle your own marketing and data issues as you see Adobe Marketing Cloud in action. You’ll leave with specific skills, best practices, and strategies you can put to work immediately.

  4. Be among the first to know.

    Summit is where we discuss the latest trends and news in digital marketing. Be the first to witness this year’s product announcements, news, and industry trends from the Adobe Marketing Cloud community.

  5. Network with leading marketers.

    Summit brings together the best marketers and advertisers from all industries, and we’ll showcase some of our most innovative partners in the Community Pavilion. Make time to stop by and learn about their new technologies.

  6. Spend face-to-face time with Adobe Training Services, Adobe Customer Care and Adobe Consulting.

    Upgrade your skills. When you register for Summit, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for Adobe Marketing Cloud classes delivered by Adobe Training Services. Add an extra day or two at Summit and receive hands-on training that will help you get even more value from your Adobe technology.

  7. Customize your learning.

    With eight content tracks, you can easily organize and customize your week to attend the breakout sessions you need, so you can learn the latest skills relevant to you and your company.

  8. Put yourself ahead of the pack.

    Time invested at Summit will pay dividends to you today, and for your continuing career, as you gain valuable knowledge and skills. You’ll already be where your peers and competition are trying to arrive.

  9. Enjoy evening parties and entertainment.

    Once you’ve soaked in all you can from the keynotes and breakouts, the day will be far from over. Use the evenings to meet other marketers, and enjoy big name performers have the Summit Bash. Previous Summit performers have included Maroon 5, the Killers, Lenny Kravitz, Foster the People, and the Black Keys.

  10. Unwind on the ski slopes.

    Your Summit registration allows you to request a complimentary lift ticket for Friday’s Ski Day. (Ski rental equipment can be added during registration for a nominal fee; however there are a limited number of rental packages available).

Decided to join me? Register here!

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff 

How to work with Dr. Natalie  VP & Principal Analyst | Constellation Research, Inc.

How to work with Dr. Natalie at the Executive Success Firm

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Voice:  +1.310.919.8467  | Twitter: @drnatalie |

Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

Catch my latest:

• Thoughts at www.DrNatalieNews.com 

• Upcoming book series: “7 Steps To Digital Customer Experience Mastery” (working title)

• My Book: Like My Stuff: Tactics to Monetizing Facebook Engagement and

• 3rd Most Download ebook: Myths, Truths of Social Media ROI

SAVE THE DATE!
Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton

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April 7-9 2014: Marketo Marketing Nation Summit

I’m thrilled to be attending the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2014. Here is more information if you’re interested in joining me:

Conference Information

Without question, the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2014 will be the Marketing Event of the year. Join the Marketing Nation as over 3,500 of your peers, colleagues and thought leaders gather to celebrate Innovation in the Nation. Located at Moscone Center – West , in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District, the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2014 will provide an engaging experience to grow your expertise and network over two and a half days. Connect with ideas, marketers, and resources to help YOU achieve success faster!

Moscone Center – West , San Francisco California

Moscone Center – West is a visually stunning and expansive three-level exhibition hall, conveniently located near fine dining, shopping, museums and more. As the heart-center of the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2014, Moscone Center – West will be buzzing with life and will serve as a vibrant backdrop where connections will be made over two and a half days.

Moscone Center – West 
800 Howard Street
Located at the corner of Fourth and Howard Streets
San Francisco, CA 94103

Conference FAQ’s

Why should I attend?
The Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2014 will deliver dynamic and rich content along with key takeaways that will prove to be an incredible investment to your business. Learn how to implement and use the latest features and see what’s on the future horizon at Marketo. Develop deeper relationships with your contacts and marketing experts by gaining mastery over innovating lead generation, campaign management, social media strategies and analytics.

Social Networking Parties
Learn during the day, relax network and socialize in the evening! Registration opens Monday, April 7th followed by our Marketing Nation Kickoff Party. On Tuesday, April 8, join us for Happy Hour in the Marketing Nation Expo before being shuttled to our Customer Appreciation Party! We have an incredible night planned, so stay tuned for more information.

Registration Information

What is the registration fee?

  • Early Early Bird:$795 until December 15, 2013
  • Early Bird:$895 from December 15 until February 15, 2014
  • Standard:$1,195 until April 2nd, 2014
  • Onsite:$1,595

Can I register in person at the event?
Absolutely, however at this year’s event seats will be in high-demand so we recommend that you register early to secure your spot. Onsite registration is $1,595.

Is a group discount available?
Yes, simply email to info@marketoevents.com the names of the 10 or more attendees from your company and you get $200 off each registrant. You will receive a discount code of $200 off to register for each person. You must register all 10 people within one week of receiving the code.

Will Marketo close registration at any point?
Registration will close on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 5:00 p.m., PST. If seats are available after registration closes, onsite registration will be available for the price of $1,595.

What is included in my registration fee?
Access to the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2014 which includes keynote sessions as well as customer success tracks. The program begins at 5:00 p.m. on April 7 and will end at 5:00 p.m. on April 9. Registration fee includes admission, food and beverage during the daytime sessions and access to the Social Networking Parties.

Does the registration fee include travel costs for the conference?
All travel costs including air and hotel accommodations are the responsibility of the attendee. Marketo has secured a block of rooms at a discounted rate of $267 (Classic) / $277 (Deluxe) at the Hilton San Francisco, the host hotel. To reserve your rooms, please click here.

Is there an additional charge to attend Summit University Day?
Yes, there is an additional charge to attend Summit University Day. The registration prices are outlined below:

UNIVERSITY
Early Bird: $595 (until February 1)
Regular: $695 (February 2 – April 2)

CERTIFICATION
Early Bird: $100 (until February 1)
Regular: $125 (February 2 – April 2)

How is my registration confirmed?

After completing registration, you will receive a confirmation email with your registration information and your invoice attached.

What forms of payment do you accept for the conference fee?
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, wire transfer and company checks are all accepted.

If I can’t attend, can I substitute my registration?
Yes. If you are unable to attend, you may substitute one colleague’s name per registration. All substitutions must be received in writing prior to Monday, March 16, 2014 and will incur a fee of $50. After this date, all substitutions are subject to a $100.00 (USD) processing fee. Please submit substitution requests to info@marketoevents.com and include the following information for the new registrant: Name, Job Title/Position, Work Address, Work Phone Number and Email Address. A registration confirmation will be sent to the new registrant once the substitution is confirmed.

What if I have to cancel?

Registration cancellations received in writing by 5:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time) prior to Friday, February 21, 2014, will be refunded, less a $150.00 (USD) processing fee. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after 5:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time) on Friday, February 21, 2014. Please send any information regarding cancellations via email to info@marketoevents.com.

Look forward to connecting

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff 

How to work with Dr. Natalie  VP & Principal Analyst | Constellation Research, Inc.

How to work with Dr. Natalie at the Executive Success Firm

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Voice:  +1.310.919.8467  | Twitter: @drnatalie | 

Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

Catch my latest:

• Thoughts at www.DrNatalieNews.com 

• Upcoming book series: “7 Steps To Digital Customer Experience Mastery” (working title) 

• My Book: Like My Stuff: Tactics to Monetizing Facebook Engagement and

• 3rd Most Download ebook: Myths, Truths of Social Media ROI


SAVE THE DATE!
Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st

Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton

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Excerpt from “The Social Engagement Rankings of the Top 15 Cosmetic Brands”

Why did Facebook develop EdgeRank?

Are you one of those brands spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on creating content for social media interactions? Facebook themselves admits the average brand page only reaches 16-17% of its fans. Data from PageLever shows that for brands with millions of fans, even less of their fans see the content. They estimate the content only reaches ~3% of their fans. Why is this so? It’s because of an algorithm, EdgeRank, that calculates what posts to filter out.

When Facebook allowed brands to have pages, brands began posting a lot of content. Facebook users felt there was too much content coming at them, almost so much that it felt like spam. As a result, Facebook created a filter that determines who sees particular posts. There are three parts to the filter.

The first part of the equation, affinity, takes into consideration how much time you spend interacting with certain friends, groups and pages. If you are spending a lot of time interacting with them, then your affinity will be stronger. The next piece of the puzzle is about weight. Weight is essentially the level of interaction a piece of content gets. For example how many likes and comments. And the last piece to the puzzle is time. Over time, a post’s relevance decays making it less important, pushing it down the feed.

What are the three big problems around content and engagement?

1. Creating great content so fans will want to interact with it

2. Creating a lot of that great content

3. Promoting the content

The truth is most brands don’t have the budget to create enough great content to be effective at engaging their customers. What makes matters worse, in addition to a content creation budget, you also need a promotion budget. And the cost to promote content can become prohibitive.

cosmetic

How much does it cost a brand to send a Sponsored Posts or Stories?

One sponsored story from Facebook costs $200

• Let’s say the brand posts 2 times per day

• $200 x 2 = $400/day

• 7 days/wk x $400/day = $2,800/wk

• 4 wks/mo x $2,800/wk = $11,200/mo

• 12 mo/yrs x $11,200 = $134,400/yr

• $134,400/ yr just to get your content seen!

And that doesn’t include the cost of the:

• Creative

• Content production

• Content delivery systems (like Buddymedia)

• Community managers

How Do I get EdgeRank to work in my favor and rise above my competitors in the cosmetic industry?

• EdgeRank gives greater exposure (reach) to posts that are more engaging

• Boring posts decrease your reach and thus your bottom line

• The solution is to create more interesting posts

 

What makes a better post in the cosmetic industry?

Here are some hints. It’s the ability to:

Benchmark engagement performance vs. your competitors in the cosmetic industry

Surface the best content and content types to engage your target audiences in the cosmetic industry

Determine how frequently to post

Calculate the best days of the week and hours in the day to post compared to cosmetic industry competitors

Know when to post the right type of content to get the highest engagement in the cosmetic industry

 

Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
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DrNatalie Petouhoff

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Excerpt from “Like My Stuff”: Why Do Business on Facebook?

Why is it important for brands to have a Facebook e-commerce capability? Mike Fauscette, an Analyst at IDC Consulting says, “In three to five years, 10 percent to 15 percent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook.”

 

Why might Fauscette make this prediction? Facebook users spend 700 billion minutes per month in an active, relaxed environment. The average Facebook user is connected to 130 friends. They belong to 80 interest groups. Through their detailed profiles and by posting on average 90 pieces of content per month, Facebook users make their preferences known. Word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations or buyer-beware messages are prevalent.

 

Today’s social customer is not shy about posting their thoughts about a brand, its products and services, or the experiences they have with the brand. The unique selling opportunities Facebook can offer has gotten the attention of digital marketer’s and PR professionals. As social media plays an increasingly more important role in purchasing decisions, brands are allocating larger parts of their marketing budgets to engage with their consumers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

 

Many brands, big and small, are wondering if they should go down this path. How is this different than the e-commerce they already offer? And does f-commerce mean that you have to get rid of your traditional e-commerce platform? Are there pitfalls to social commerce or commerce on Facebook? It’s these and other questions we will address in this e-book.

 

Be Where Your Customers Are

For many brands, Facebook is where their customers are online. And the mantra in social media? A brand needs to be where their customers are within the social net. A brand can’t expect that their customers will come to them (or their site.) The theory of f-commerce is that customers should be able to buy wherever and whenever they like. If they are on Facebook then they should be able, among many other things, to purchase products while they interact with their friends and family.

 

Some people have questioned whether it’s even possible to sell customer products in the midst of them using Facebook to catch up with their friends and family. Perhaps that’s all people want to do while on Facebook, i.e., they don’t want their social network to sell them stuff while they are socializing. And if that is the case, then perhaps brands should keep their commerce offerings on their e-commerce sites.

 

However, while some people are of the opinion that people visit Facebook just to catch up with their friends and family, a  JWT (James Walter Thompson) study showed that 48 percent of millennials (aged 20–33) would like to buy directly on Facebook from the places they shop. In a another study industry study, 25 percent of customers aged 18–34 years old stated they use Facebook to interact with merchants. How many companies are planning to increase their funding for social commerce according to this study? Ninety percent will increase funding for social commerce initiatives by 8 percent.

 

There is a trend, and that trend is the blending of social networks with e-commerce. The skill with which brands do this will directly affect the success not only for their own individual brand, but for the industry as a whole. If social networking shopping sites are not delivered in the spirit of what the customer wants, it will fail. If not for this point alone, brands need to pay attention to f-commerce as an example of how shopping can be integrated within a social network.

 

The Future of One-Stop Facebook Shopping

So let’s say you have a vacation coming up. You want to look for good rates on airline tickets. What’s the difference between logging onto an airline website vs. being able to research and purchase tickets inside of an already established social network? First, you may want to ask your friends what airline they flew on, how the service and food was, and what to watch out for. You might find that information on a travel site, but you may not be able to ask your friends their opinions.

 

So the point is that when you are on a regular e-commerce site you may be just getting the “take” from people you don’t actually know. This input is important, because you aren’t just trusting the brand’s marketing spin. You are getting the take of other human beings. But on a social networking site you are connected to your friends and your friends know you and the things you care about the most. You also might want to make plans with a group of people and instead of sending a bunch of e-mails, you might want one place for everyone who is going on the trip to chime in, to plan, and to orchestrate the festivities. Doing so could make coordinating lots of people easier and fuel the enthusiasm for the trip.

 

If you went the traditional route, you’d think about which airline you think you’d like to travel on. You might also think about your favorite travel site, knowing that there are a number of them that aggregate fares and try to provide the best possible deal. So you make your choice and log onto the airline or travel website.

 

Hopefully you’ve saved your log-in name on the computer you are on or you can remember it. It might depend on whether you’ve been to that site before or not. That might also depend on whether you have an account with them or not. If you can’t remember your log-in name then you have to either ask for a password reset or log in as a guest. The first option takes time. Not a lot of time, but it can “feel” like a hassle with all the sites and passwords we all have these days.

 

Once you’ve chosen that path, then you start your search for dates and times for your destination. Once you’ve researched that, you choose a flight and pay for it. Then there’s the step of entering the payment information. That entails your credit card or PayPal-type account information, your billing address and TSA information. If you are renting a hotel and/or a car, that same payment scenario might have to be repeated for each of those transactions unless it’s integrated.

 

In this short scenario, using Facebook could help to lessen the hassles of the travel transactions. With Facebook’s f-commerce tools, you could get the opinion of your friends about each travel item: airline, hotel, car rental, even restaurants in the area. Then you could just hit a Facebook button for each—either while on your laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone and be on your way.

 

Why? Because you are already logged into Facebook, and so have a community of like-minded people to help. Then, since your identity and payment details are already authenticated within Facebook, completing the transaction is as simple as pushing a few appropriate buttons.

If your business could take advantage of f-commerce to make your customer’s experience as quick and easy as possible, think about the spike in revenue you’d get.

 

Social Network Fatigue and Opting for F-commerce

The business decision to use Facebook as part of your e-commerce strategy depends on where you think your customers are going to be online. With more potential consumers on Facebook than there are people logging into eBay and Amazon combined, many companies are betting on the fact that once customers are in Facebook they won’t want to leave to shop. With the number of sites people log into each day, this may well be the trend of the future—meaning that people are starting to suffer from social network fatigue.

 

The reasons for this fatigue include how time consuming it is to log into a bunch of different sites as well as to remember your passwords. Another contributing factor is time allocation. One of the things that most people don’t talk about is the amount of time out of their life social networking takes. While it may be easier to keep in touch with more people and see what is happening with them via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, it does takes time out of one’s day.

 

Having too many social networks means that people may not want to go to a bunch of different sites or URLs. If people have the choice to log into one place to interact with their friends and family and then are required to go to other places to shop, they may opt to participate in a social network that includes not only their favorite brands, but also the ability to buy products and services from them.

 

How Facebook Could Provide Better CRM

Knowing who the people are and details about them allows Facebook to provide customers with an interesting and entertaining online experience, but also provides businesses with information on likes, dislikes, and preferences in the context of their personal and professional relationships. This is different than the data businesses have gathered from traditional Customer Relationship Management or CRM systems.

 

CRM is an acronym that stands for the relationships companies build with their customers during and through the process of marketing, sales, and service. Having social data augment the CRM system could constitute what many call social CRM. While there isn’t any one vendor that truly provides best-in-class social sales, social marketing, and social customer service all in one suite, the concept of combining social data with traditional CRM data could be the missing link to driving more customers through the marketing funnel and getting a return on investment for social media.

 

Facebook Social CRM
Social networking sites like Facebook have massive amounts of individual and social crowd data. That data means something because people have signed up using their real identity. In forums or other crowd-oriented communities, people sometimes remain anonymous. So one of the first advantages of f-commerce is that people are using their real identities.

 

In addition, Facebook started as a site to connect with other people and part of finding people to connect with is to see what they have in common other people. Most people who put up a Facebook page include some personal preference information. This initial data can be very important to companies in understanding their customer’s behavior through knowing about their hobbies, what they like in music, food, travel, and a wide variety of other interests.

 

Companies using Facebook as a marketplace not only have people who have identified themselves, but also user data and analytics that reveals what people talk about, and with the right analytics a business could extract even more data about them as potential customers.

 

Many businesses have just focused on using that data to display hyper-targeted ads. And while there is value for this, the idea that Facebook could be an online virtual mall where friends ask friends what to buy, share what they bought, and thereby influence word of mouth is a reality for many brands.

Like My Stuff_Guide To Facebook Commerce by @DrNatalie Petouhoff

Facebook’s Potential for One-to-One Marketing

One-to-one marketing has long been the dream of many marketers. In fact two of my favorite authors, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, wrote several books about it, including The One-to-One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time, and The One-to-One Fieldbook: The Complete Toolkit for Implementing a 1-to-1 Marketing Program. The theory was that with competition for customers fiercer than ever, with products and services only a mouse click away, with so many choices, and with many products becoming commodities, customers’ loyalty changed. As a result, the way a brand could attract and keep customers would be to personalize how they marketed and sold to a customer. That field of endeavor became known as one-to-one marketing.

 

While most brands bragged about how customer-centric they were, in reality many were at a loss for identifying and attracting a loyal and profitable customer base. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems back in the late 1990s were supposed to provide the infrastructure necessary to support one-to-one marketing. There was a lot of marketing hype around the features, functions, and benefits of CRM software.

 

The issue with CRM systems then was that they were more like a CTM, or customer transaction management system. They didn’t have all the rational database information that marketers could readily use to provide personalized relationship marketing and certainly not enough of the personalized, one-to-one marketing data.

 

Most companies implemented operational CRM, meaning they had a database of contact information about their customers. And that information definitely helped with marketing. But most companies didn’t deploy analytical CRM, meaning the type of CRM that would provide the analytical wisdom about your customers to enable one-to-one marketing and sales. Out of the frustration for the lack of that data developed the field of business intelligence or BI. Separate BI point vendors began to specialize in gathering and mining data about customers to be used to drive customers through the marketing funnel. An industry that was successful at this was the Las Vegas casino system. They developed loyalty programs that could measure the offers sent to customers and subsequent behaviors. Studying these patterns allowed marketers to direct their one-to-one marketing efforts very effectively. But most industries failed to excel in one-to-one marketing.

 

Fast forward to today, where we now have Web 2.0-type technologies that allow interactions between brands and customers. With the enhanced Facebook Open Graph API and supporting tools that it announced in April 2010, Facebook can be seen as a social CRM system. This is especially true if you define CRM as the opportunity to do personalized, one-to-one marketing, sales, and service. What has been missing in CRM is the relationship between the customer, their likes, dislikes, and their friends and family in a context where their reactions and comments are honest, authentic, and updated daily.

 

Facebook API: A Graph of What People Care About

Imagine that Facebook is a graphical representation of connections between people, photos, liking, sharing, commenting, shopping, and the interrelatedness between them and their friend and family relationships liking, sharing, commenting, and shopping. If you took a picture of each of those things and pasted it on a piece of poster board, you’d have a visual representation of that person’s life and what’s important to them as well as poster boards of their friends and families and what is important to each of them as well as the overlaps in interests. This is called a “social graph.”

 

Facebook offers businesses a way to connect to that information via an API. An API is an acronym for application programming interface. Instead of having to write a bunch of complicated code to connect to the data, you just have to connect to the API. The API provides a much simpler way to access the information.

 

The Facebook Open Graph API allows you to easily access all public information about a person. This means that it can retrieve the likes and interests of your customers, and your customer’s Facebook connections. And thus the social graph data provides marketers new ways to understand a customer’s preferences, passions, and connections and by doing so allows a brand to create a personalized experience with each and every customer.

For instance, a customer might live in Los Angeles, listen to Sting, work at Citibank, ride bikes along the Santa Monica Pier, eat at the Cheesecake Factory in Marina Del Rey as well as connect with their network of friends and family. With the Facebook Open Graph API, brands can make personalized offers to that individual based on the information he or she has shared on their page.

 

Deals that might interest this customer are mortgages or refinancing information from Citibank, coupons for free drinks at Cheesecake factory, a sale on bikes or bike accessories, and a special appearance by Sting on the Santa Monica Pier. With contextualized data like this, brands can customize their marketing campaigns based on the information customers share about themselves.

 

Another example is that a brand might show the upcoming birthdays of Facebook Friends as well as their gift Wish List. How would a brand populate this list? The brand can access that friend’s profile data, which might include a list of their favorite electronics, clothes, food, and music as gift suggestions. Normally, it would have to create a system that would ask the customer directly about their favorite items, then get permission to use this information. The Social Plug-ins, mentioned earlier in this chapter, allow a brand to build the social graph by seeing what the customer “Liked” on Facebook. That is assuming the customer opts to share this information publicly among their own individual group of friends. Brands seeking to use this information would need to ask the Facebook member to share this information with them as well.

 

The downfall to getting data is the individual Facebook privacy setting. Each Facebook page’s privacy settings are handled and decided upon by the customer who owns the page. Customers are asked to provide permission to allow their page to be seen by the brand. This determines who can see what. I’ve included some screenshots in the case studies in the following chapters so you can see how brands ask for permission to see what a customer is talking about.

 

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company


Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ :
Google Plus posts
Facebook:
DrNatalie Petouhof

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Reduce Support Costs With A Customer Community: Increase Agent Efficiency (Final Part)

Community-Based Support Compliments the Contact Center

Community-based, social support doesn’t have to exist in a

bubble—it’s a great way to complement and complete agent-based

support strategies. Let’s say, for example, that your software

product is acting a little buggy when it’s used with a certain

operating system.

 

A customer can’t figure out what to do, so he

calls in and gets an answer. A couple weeks later, someone else has

the same issue, but they post in the community instead. This might

be a younger or more tech-savvy customer who prefers to reach

support online, or maybe they just did a quick Google search and

were brought to the community that way. The customer who called

support originally sees the post and reports what the phone agent

told them as a response to the community topic.

 

Now the answer exists in the community as a resource for

everyone in the future who has this problem. They can discover it

through search or by going there directly. Each person who sees

the answer is equal to one fewer call to an agent.

saving time 1

Community as the Canary in the Coal Mine

Until recently, support was strictly reactionary. With the adoption

of community as a key support tool, we’re seeing entire support

organizations evolve from reactionary “fixers,” to agents working

collaboratively with community members to identify bugs and

issues before they come become widespread problems.

 

When your agents are on the front lines, getting real-time feedback

about the things that aren’t working, they can be prepared to

address them fully and effectively with others who are likely to be

experiencing the same issue. This saves the agents time and stress,

as they have deeper, more immediate insight into where things

are breaking down before they get on the phone with an angry

customer.

 

And the fact that the agent is already aware of issues and

possible solutions before they take that call means the customer is

more likely to get off the phone feeling like they’re in good, capable

hands.

saving time 2

Close the Loop

As any good support agent knows, it’s not just important to provide

customers with immediate assistance, but also to close the loop

and keep them updated about new developments as well. This may

be when a bug has been fixed, a new feature has been released or

rolled back, or a work-around has been uncovered.

 

A customer community makes it fast and easy to provide your

customers with the most up-to-date information. What previously

would have required individual emails, Tweets, or status updates,

now can be accomplished with one simple community update.

 

You can post a company update for big notifications, or just post an

“official reply” to a topic, so everyone who has expressed interest

in that topic will get an email notification of the update. That also

means that when the next person who experiences that issue

comes to your community, they will find the answer waiting for

them there. How’s that for efficiency?

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company


Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ :
Google Plus posts
Facebook:
DrNatalie Petouhof

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Customer Conversations are Key to Your Business

This post is part of the Deep Thoughts at Dreamforce Series of candid interviews with customer experience thought leaders. You can view the other videos in the series here.

 

“Strategy that involves common sense is nearly impossible for large companies to do,” said consultant Dr. Natalie Petouhoff  of companies that claim to be customer-centric yet fail to truly utilize customer feedback to grow the business.

“Leadership is the key,” said Petouhoff speaking to C-level executives. “If you’re not customer-focused, you need to be fired.”

Customers are everything. “If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business,” said Petouhoff.

One of the issues that came up during the Dreamforce conference was the need to increase customer engagement. One theory states that if you can double your overall customer engagement you could double your business.

The problem Petouhoff identified is that there are still many executives who believe that customer service should only be treated as a cost center. Instead, you should relish every single customer touch point, even the negative ones.

Don’t stick your head in the sand to negative criticism, warned Petouhoff. Talk to your customers wherever they are. Hire people who are customer-centric who want to engage with your customers.

“Integrate that back into your company and you would have an amazing company,” claimed Petouhoff.

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company


Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ :
Google Plus posts
Facebook:
DrNatalie Petouhof

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Video Interview: Thought Leadership with Mitchell Levy and Michael Procopio

Thought Leadership with Mitchell Levy http://MitchellLevy.com and Michael Procopio http://MProcopio.com covers all things around thought leadership, how to become one, how to use it as a form of communication, how to help others become one. I got to sit down with them for a Google Hangout and discuss customer service, social media, real-time marketing and more!

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company


Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ :
Google Plus posts
Facebook:
DrNatalie Petouhof

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Excerpt from my book “Like My Stuff”: Driving Sales with F-commerce

Driving Sales with F-commerce

The key to f-commerce ROI is to make sure incentives resonate with ambassadors, influencers, and customers so that they drive sales on the brand’s behalf. That’s why I recommend as one of the first steps in social media strategy is to put yourself back into the mindset of being in school. Go and study some brands that are doing it.

Brands that are in the midst of social commerce have found that when they use some of the same techniques as in regular sales processes, there is an increase in interaction. Those techniques can be:

 

  • Specific calls to action
  • Creating a sense of urgency through limited availability or blackout dates
  • Incentivizing social actions by offering discounts or special access

 

Here’s an example of how this can work. Let’s say you offer a coupon for your product. The catch is that 500 coupons have to be redeemed before I can get my deal. If the brand creates a way for the customer to share the deal with their Facebook connections, then more people will see the deal. If you have targeted the right demographic with the right offer, within hours or days the 500 coupons will be redeemed. It’s the action of one customer sending the deal within Facebook to hundreds of their connections that makes the f-commerce recommendation distribution process profitable.

Brands can increase their return on their investment by integrating e-commerce functionality with the word-of-mouth strategies we talked about in Chapter 13. What’s great about the social networking software is that the tools to implement those strategies are there. Some tactics are:

 

  • Offer contests where when the customer clicks on the Like button, they land on the Facebook store
  • Post ads, promotions, flash sales, pop-up offers to Wall and link those to the Facebook Shop
  • Combine “deals of the day” or product announcements with links to product details in the f-commerce shop

 

The Value of a Facebook Fan

There have been a couple of companies that have calculated the value of a Facebook Fan. In part, the reason why this had not been calculated before is because we needed more data to understand what dynamics affect other dynamics. It takes a while for a social network to get set up before it can be monetized. That is something that has stumped many business people who look at the investments that have been made in social networks. Millions and billions get poured into it, with the rest of the world wondering when they will begin to make money. In addition, to have enough data to watch for patterns also requires that the social network have some legs under it.

A company called ChompOn released a study on the calculations they did on the value of shares, Tweets, likes, and follows in the context of e-commerce. ChompOn works with 50 partners including Blackbook Magazine, JDeal,and Beyondtherack to offer Groupon-like crowdsourced coupons.

They used data from these daily deals to examine the conversion rate and action for deals they shared on Facebook and Twitter. They found the value of a Facebook share is $14 and the value of a tweet is $5.

For shares and tweets, ChompOn was able to directly attribute sales to the original action and took the total revenue attributed to each action and divided it by the total number of shares/tweets.

By comparison, ChompOn says the value of a Facebook “Like” is $8 and the value of a Twitter Follow is $2. For likes and follows, ChompOn estimated attribution by looking at traffic references and subtracting out purchases made through shares/tweets as well as purchases made through direct traffic. Of course this data is a bit tenuous and anecdotal. And it’s important to note that this analysis does not capture the long-term value of customers over time or the customer lifetime value we were talking about early in this chapter.

Syncapse is another company that calculated the value of a Facebook Fan. They looked at the differences in behavior and motivation between fans and non-fans to understand the true value of a fan. They looked at:

 

  • Product Spending: The ability to understand the methodology of increasing product spending
  • Loyalty: The ability to understand the available means to influence and promote brand loyalty within a target audience
  • Propensity to Recommend: Probability and propensity for word-of-mouth recommendations leading to sales
  • Brand Affinity: The impact on brand perception and recall
  • Media Value: Efficiencies of earned reach and frequency via the Facebook platform
  • Acquisition Cost: Efficiency of fans in enticing others to participate and drive organic membership

 

 

They polled 4,000 people who were self-identified as fans or non-fans of Nokia, BlackBerry, Motorola, Secret, Gillette, Axe, Dove, Victoria’s Secret, Adidas, Nike, Coca-Cola, Oreo, Skittles, Nutella, Red Bull, Pringles, PlayStation, Xbox, Starbucks, and McDonald’s.

The results were that consumers who are fans are more valuable to organizations across all variables than those who are not fans:

  • On average, fans spend an additional $71.84 on products for which they are fans compared to those who are not fans.
  • Fans are 28 percent more likely than non-fans to continue using the brand.
  • Fans are 41 percent more likely than non-fans to recommend a fanned product to their friends.

 

They also found that no two brands fan values are the same. But what is reassuring is that because they were able to track behavior, they could see the trends that make a fan more valuable than not.

They noted that fan value can vary widely by company and product. Factors influencing this variability include product purchase price, purchase frequency, product purchase cycle, product category, brand equity, and underlying brand strength.

A fan base is unique and comprises different levels of influencers and customers. Syncapse observed that how much a fan participates with a brand can change the value. For instance, an average fan may participate with a brand ten times a year and will make one recommendation. But, an active fan may participate thirty times and make ten recommendations. The impact this has on fan value can be quite dramatic.

In the case of Coca-Cola, the best-case scenario for fan value reaches $316.78. But it is $137.84 for an average fan. This degree of variability in the value of a fan must be a major consideration in determining how brands address different types of fans in efforts to move them up the value ladder. The strategy needs to be focused on how to reduce fan variability while moving the average fan value to the active end of the range.

 

Facebook Can Be the Decisive Factor for  Commercial Success

 

The Social Commerce IQ™ Genius Index was created with analytics data and the accompanying survey findings. Facebook figured prominently in the results. The social commerce index was broken down into four levels of social commerce maturity. Genius level included brands that represent the most socially-advanced on Facebook, typically having the highest engagement rates and offering shopping offers that were relevant to their customers in the brand’s news feed. In next lower category, Superior Level, the brands typically had fewer status updates and moderate engagement on their Facebook pages. The next category Challenged The brands in this category typically had few status updates, low engagement and little to no shopping status updates or applications/ tabs on their Facebook page. And the lowest category, the Deficient brands had no engagement, new fans and rarely sent updates to their fans. The top-scoring retail brands with Social Commerce IQ™ scores according to this study are: GameStop, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart, Sephora and Clinique.

 

All the top scorers in this study were shown to maintain a high level social currency for their brands through Facebook. Based on the data collected, here are three of most significant takeaways:

  • Status Updates Increase Sales– publish news about sales events, not coupons as a primary driver of fan engagement on Facebook. This is especially true for luxury retailers.
  • Ask Customers to “Like” After Buying—People buy then “Like”, not “Like” then buy – most Likes come from people who have already bought the product, i.e. liking is a post-purchase activity.
  • Likes Drive Sales— Facebook has driven at least 22 million sales transactions in the U.S. as a result of customers “liking” their products.  In general, 35 percent of consumers on Facebook tend to buy a product if it has been Liked by other members.

 

The power of keeping engaged with your customers is key to social commerce success.  Facebook is clearly the leading platform for managing a productive dialogue with customers. With its newly empowered f-commerce tools and platforms, it not only affords brands a wide variety of the opportunities to stay connected to the marketplace but also to collect and incorporate customer information to make the conversation even richer and more profitable for all concerned.

 

Want more? You can get my book here: http://www.amazon.com/Like-My-Stuff-Products-Facebook-ebook/dp/B005Y23KLK

Dr. Natalie: voted Top 20 In Social Media HuffPo
Dr. Natalie’s ebook: voted as one of the Top Ten Most downloaded Social Media ebooks- On smROI

Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company


Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant

The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!

What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:

  • Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
  • Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
  • Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
  • Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
  • Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
  • Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
  • Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
  • Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting

My book: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Follow Me Here:
Twitter: @drnatalie
LinkedIn:
DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ :
Google Plus posts
Facebook:
DrNatalie Petouhof

 

 

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