Guest Post: Why Businesses Can’t Strive Without Social Media

Few years back, businesses had to seek the assistance of external agencies such as marketing and advertising research firms in order to promote the business. However, the increasing popularity of social media networks has changed the trend. Almost all the businesses nowadays prefer to use social media networks in order to engage with their marketing campaigns. The benefits delivered by social media marketing have contributed a lot towards the above mentioned fact.

Social media marketing goes hand in hand with social media optimization. That’s because it can assist a business to achieve website optimization in a convenient manner. In other words, social media marketing can increase the visibility of a specific business website on the internet. Plenty of social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube are available for the marketers to engage with their marketing campaigns. People who belong to different age categories use these social media networks on a daily basis. As a result, the businesses find it as an easy task to run targeted marketing campaigns without any frustration.

Marketers will get the opportunity to increase the sales volume at the end of the day through viral marketing. It can also be used to increase brand awareness in a convenient manner. This method of marketing is known as viral because it is passed down from one person to another with the help of social media networks. The structure of social media network creates an ideal platform for viral marketing as well. Games, video clips, images and text messages are some of the tools that are being used in viral marketing campaigns. The success of a viral marketing campaign depends on the focus group. That’s the main reason why most of the companies prefer to hire social media marketing specialists in order to run the campaigns. The amount they spend on hiring experts can be considered as an excellent investment done towards the future.

Most of the business owners prefer to integrate social media marketing into their traditional marketing campaigns. This can assist them to develop the business in a convenient manner. From the recent studies, it has been identified that a business that spends around 6 hours a week on social media marketing will be able to get 50% more exposure at the end of the day. If they can spend more time, they will end up getting a lot more benefits. Apart from this, the business owners will be able to gain more traffic towards the website, increase the number of leads and create new business partnerships.

On top of everything, the business owners do not need to spend a fortune in order to run an effective social media marketing campaign. In fact, it can be considered as the least cost-effective marketing method available for the business owners. The benefits delivered by social media marketing are definitely worth when compared to the results that can be experienced in the long run. Therefore, any business can think about running a social media marketing campaign without a doubt on mind.

With the development of technology, social media has obtained a prominent place in the lives of people. Small business owners can obtain the maximum benefits out of this platform in order to enhance their business opportunities. This article will provide four such tricks, which any small business owner can use to take their business to the next level.

Use the correct social media account: All the social media networks have opened their doors for the young entrepreneurs. Therefore, you need to create a business account instead of a personal account. When the customers look for your company on social media networks, they use your business name, not your personal name. If you have more than one business, you can maintain separate pages for each business.

Keep all the posts on topic: All the posts, photos or tweets you update from your account should be related to your business and it is recommended to stay away from posting unprofessional content. Even though it is fun to post random stuff that you see on the Internet, it can harm your brand customers will not have a great feeling towards it. It is essential to use your creativity when posting from your social media accounts. For instance, you should think from the point of customer and compile the post according to their requirements.

Use interaction in all your campaigns: If customers have the chance to interact with your business, they will tend to use your products or services occasionally and they will even recommend your business to their friends. Since social media networks are the best place to interact with others, you should take the maximum advantage out of it and take necessary measures to talk with them. For example, you can ask questions from them related to a specific part of your business.

Put a stop to controversy: Regardless of what you post from the social media profile, make sure you stay away from controversy. It is a popular topic among savvy entrepreneurs that nothing will kill your campaign, more than posting on controversial topics. You need to stay unbiased at all the times and win the hearts of customers.

The effectiveness of these four tips are proven and many small business owners have used them to make a positive impact on their business. Therefore, all the young entrepreneurs can try them without any hesitation.

Now you have a clear understanding about the role that social media networks play on businesses that exist out there in the world. All you have to do is to start looking for all possible options that are available for you to promote the business through social media. Then you will be able to figure out all the paths that are available for you to take your business to the next level, along with the assistance of social media. The time and effort you spend on it will be totally worth when compared to the benefits you can receive at the end of the day.

 

Author Bio:

Ray Sherlock is the owner of Engage Hub, a Social Media Agency in Manchester, UK. We are a social media and influencer agency who have a passion for video, engaging content and disruptive campaigns.

Share

Guest Post: 3 Ways CRM Predictive Analytics Can Give You a Competitive Edge

Customer relationship management software has emerged as one of the most crucial tools for doing business successfully today, and the power of big data predictive analytics is making CRM more powerful than ever. The CRM predictive analytics market, valued at $4.18 billion in 2014, is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 12.83 percent, on track to be worth $7.65 billion by 2019, Markets and Markets projects. CRM analytics tools are in demand because they help companies predict market behavior, understand their buyers and make more sales.

Companies that know how to use CRM predictive analytics effectively have a major marketing and sales advantage over rivals who aren’t taking advantage of this revolutionary technology. Here’s a look at three ways CRM predictive analytics can help you gain an edge over your competition and take the lead in your market.

Predicting Customer Demand Surges

CRM lets you make predictions about future marketing and sales trends based on historic data. One important application of this is predicting what your customers will want and when they will want it. This can help you ensure that the products and services you’re selling are what your customer base wants and that you’ll have your inventory and staff prepared to meet peak demand times.

One of the most valuable uses of this approach is predicting holiday sales trends. For instance, most retailers center their annual sales around certain key sales days such as Black Friday, but a review of the actual data shows that seasonal sales peaks over the Christmas shopping season can last anywhere from 38 to 88 days depending on the market sector, explains Marketing Week writer Mindi Chahal. Knowing when your holiday sales peak begins and when it ends can make you better prepared to have sufficient staff on hand and sufficient items in stock to meet the surge in demand.

Understanding Your Target Market

Another valuable application of predictive CRM analytics is helping you narrow your target market. Traditional market research methods are effective as far as they go, but the amount of data they can manage is limited. Big data analytics can provide a more complete analysis of your market by integrating data from many sources, including customer purchase history, social media profiles and emails. This enables you to spot characteristics of your target market that you might otherwise overlook.

A good illustration of how this can be applied effectively is the type of recommendation engine used by companies such as Amazon and Netflix. By analyzing buyer behavior and demographic characteristics, these companies generate repeat business by making recommendations designed to appeal to customers’ buyer profiles.

Helping Your Staff to Make Data-based Sales Decisions

Just as recommendation engines can help your website optimize automated sales efforts to online buyers, CRM predictive analytics can also help your sales team make data-driven sales decisions when interacting with prospective buyers. Your sales managers can see who your hottest prospects are, as well as which of your top sales representatives are available for deployment. Your sales representatives can see data about customers’ purchase history, demographic characteristics and buying preferences, enabling them to make more effective sales presentations.

In order to use CRM tools effectively for these types of applications, your staff will need specialized training. Customer FX provides Infor CRM training to help companies make the most of CRM tools. Scheduling this type of training can empower your marketing and sales teams to put CRM predictive analytics tools to optimal use in order to boost your sales performance, grow your profits and gain an edge on your competition.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

Share

Guest Post: 5 Loyalty Languages to Boost Brand Loyalty

In the age of instant gratification, brand loyalty is not what it used to be: Today, you can get your groceries delivered straight to your home, request a ride across town via Uber or Lyft, and turn to a service like Amazon Prime to bring nearly anything else you want to your doorstep.

Indeed, our culture has grow so accustomed to relying on technology for just about anything that many people are quick to jump ship and move on to the next trendy app or service if it promises better convenience and service. While customers stand to benefit due to strategies developed by such forward-thinking companies, this proverbial arms race is causing brands to completely reconsider how to craft messaging and marketing initiatives.

Business strategy experts at Accenture recently conducted a study on this very subject in order to identify the latest strategies to reach customers in our digital age. Here are the five loyalty languages that Accenture experts found to be the most effective at establishing brand loyalty.

Tailor Your Approach

Customers value companies that can custom-tailor the shopping experience for them. Whether it’s deciding between a pair of custom-designed Vans or Nike sneakers or a monogrammed handbag from Madewell or Longchamp, customers appreciate the option to make a product their own — and this appreciation tends to yield brand loyalty.

Customers also value brands that communicate with them through their preferred social media channels. This is why it’s so crucial to use a broad range of social media and marketing initiatives to get your message to your customers in a manner that establishes convenience and loyalty.

If your company struggles to manage effective customer service, consider using a cloud contact center that offers workforce management software. This can help your company to stay in contact with customers 24/7 — from virtually any location — to better track their wants and needs.

Offer Rewards

Accenture’s research noted that nearly 60 percent of consumers feel loyal to brands as a result of being offered rewards for their patronage. Receiving free gift cards and promotional discounts with a purchase are strategies that have proven effective for creating brand loyalty.

While you may view these rewards as an expensive undertaking, it’s actually a short-sighted way of looking at the issue. Instead of focusing on the cost of offering rewards, think of how much more business you’ll enjoy over time by sending small tokens of appreciation to customers when they least expect it.

Provide an Experience

Millennials in particular value new experiences over “things.” To effectively reach this market, you can invite customers to co-create with your brand as well as assist and inspire the design of your products and services. By eliciting customer feedback and putting it into action, you can build loyalty by showing customers that their opinions matter to you.

Partner with Influencers

Today’s consumers also appreciate companies that aim to model the same behavior and charisma made popular in pop culture. One highly effective way to build brand loyalty is to partner with social media influencers and celebrities who your audience idolizes. An estimated 23 percent of survey respondents in Accenture’s research noted that they tend to remain loyal to brands that partner with celebrities and social media influencers.

Share Your Connections

Finally, trying to operate in a silo — and not always thinking outside the box — could be a detriment to your business. Partnering with other non-competing brands that attract a similar customer base is a great way to reach new consumers. It’s also a show of good faith to your current customers to connect them with other useful products and services that can make their lives a little easier.

Share

Guest Post: Increase Your Social Media Engagement with These Proven Strategies

How-to-Create-a-Brand-Identity-Using-Social-Media-04

There is no question that social media has earned its spot in every business’ digital marketing strategy. The rise of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn have forever shaped the way users express themselves online.

Nowadays, almost every business has some type of social media account. 83% of fortune 500 companies have a presence on Twitter and over 3 million companies have LinkedIn profiles. However, simply having a social media account and posting content is not enough. What makes the difference between good brands and great brands on social is not only the quality of content, but also the level of interaction and engagement they devote to their audience. Are you replying back to users who comment on your photos? Do you regularly like trending posts within your industry? Have you developed an online personality for your brand?

Follow these guaranteed strategies and you’ll be well on your way to connecting with your target audience and increasing engagement on all of your social media platforms.

Facebook

4 million likes are generated by Facebook users every minute.

Liking is one of the most important aspects of social media. So hop on the bandwagon and click the thumbs up button! It’s important to like something when you see that it pertains to your business because you’re not only engaging with your industry, but you’re also connecting with accounts who share similar interests. Over time, social media platforms will start to see patterns in the content you’re liking and expose you to more related items. The great thing about Facebook is that if you have a particular reaction to a post, you can choose that instead of just thumbs up. Choose the laughing emoji when something is funny or the angry face when you’re upset. The important thing is when you react to a post, you begin to get filtered into a particular niche. What you discover in that niche is other users who belong there as well.

Those users are your target audience. So be friendly and say hi! Put a huge emphasis on liking content in your social media marketing strategy. Give users a like on their posts and explore what you have in common. These users will start to recognize your name and become familiar with your online presence. With one click and some curiosity, they could end up on your page! Don’t be stingy with likes, spread the love and watch it return back to you.

Instagram

Instagram generates over 3.5 billion likes a day and its usage has doubled in the last two years.

Much like Facebook, the way you’re able to connect with people through Instagram is by liking photos. Some users will exercise proper etiquette and like one of your photos in return for your like, but other times it just might not happen. That’s okay though, there’s no limit on the amount of posts you can like, so go ahead and double tap on posts that are relevant to your industry!

YouTube

100 million people take social action on YouTube every week in the form of likes, shares, or comments.

Commenting is just as important as liking for the same reason that you get to interact with your target audience and engage in your community. The difference with a comment versus a like is that you have the opportunity to communicate your unique perspective on a topic.

You can answer questions on trending posts, offer insight, or type something reactionary. This will help increase your engagement because users can actually see what you’re thinking.  They can go off on your ideas or like your comment in agreement with what you’ve said. Comments provide another opportunity for users to engage with your brand. Be social and leave a comment!

Twitter

500 million Tweets are sent every day, which translates, to 6,000 Tweets a second.

Twitter is all about the short and the sweet. Essentially, Twitter is a string of comments. The way you get your brand to increase engagement on Twitter is by participating in the never-ending dialogue. You can do this by liking, commenting, and most importantly, retweeting.

Twitter is a little different from other social platforms because it has a higher frequency of posts. According to Neil Patel (social media marketing maven and co-founder of KISSmetrics) the optimal amount to post on Twitter to increase engagement is 1 – 5 posts a day. Plan your posts beforehand or retweet other authorities within your industry. Keep up with the pace of Twitter so users can recognize your effort.

LinkedIn

The 14 most popular posts on LinkedIn are all about advice in the workplace.

LinkedIn is the platform business professionals go to in order to apply for an internship, look for a job, or expand the range of their professional network. What users are looking for on LinkedIn is the means to gain a better standing in their career. This can be in the form of acquiring a job or the knowledge to gain better skills. Your posts on LinkedIn should be about interesting water cooler topics professionals can read in their downtime. It’s perfectly acceptable to be on LinkedIn during work, so keep your content related to the workplace if you want to see engagement from this audience!

A Quick Recap

Social media marketing is genuinely about being social on the screen. If your brand is

participating in the social aspect of each platform, you will begin to see engagement rise because your account is active. It’s important to keep that part of social media in mind because it shows your followers you understand how to use their media! Let’s Recap:

  • Facebook – Like posts that are related to your industry
  • Instagram – Double tap appropriate photos in your niche
  • YouTube – Provide insight, leave a comment
  • Twitter – Keep up with the pace of tweets
  • LinkedIn – Make it about the workplace

 

About Author:

therese

Therese Palmere is a passionate content writer at Aumcore. Aumcore is a New York based digital marketing agency offering solutions from creative social media campaigns to SEO and web design driven by results.

Share

Guest Post: 1202 Social Media Alone is Not Enough. Your Small Business Needs a “Big” Website

Social Media has truly been a game changer in how businesses connect with their customers. What used to be a cumbersome and expensive activity has been made very easy, but at the same time it has also become a constant battle for customer attention.

Social media has also helped the customers. It is much easier for them to connect with businesses. No longer do they have to rely on the traditional 1-800 number, enduring long hold times. They can simply post a question and then the business can answer them (within the same day hopefully). On the flip side, angry customers can post their scathing reviews for the world to see. Over all social media has really become a necessity for business if they want to stay valid in this world. And many businesses have been milking social media for all its worth, some even going as far as using it as a substitute for having a professional website. While social media is necessary for achieving success, especially for small businesses it can in no way substitute a business website. In order to truly milk social media, you have to pair it with a website.

Why do you need a big website along an efficient social media presence?

Recently Facebook added the sell feature on to pages, in short turning business pages into small business online stores. This feature again raised a slew of questions that why do we need a website anymore? You can even have a proper e-store running on a Facebook page. This question is especially asked by small businesses or start-ups who have limited budgets. Why should they put a strain on what are often shoe-string budgets to make a website, when they get almost the same level of functionality from a social media presence alone?

The market is not what it was 15 years ago

15 years back you could do without a website till you got to a level of financial success. However the market dynamics have considerably changed since then. Internet penetration in first world countries is especially at levels we had never nearly considered. And the speed at which the online world is expanding puts it a level where we can say that the virtual online world is one that exists in parallel of real one. It is that vast.

So if your business does not have a concrete presence in the online world then you do not appear as a credible business. Before we go anywhere, we Google it. If I only get Facebook page results, that makes your business look like an amateur set-up and makes it lose its credibility. Just like it is expected for a store to have a billboard, consumers expect businesses to have their own websites, just for the sake of contact details and address if not anything else.

Many years ago it used to be a shop front that served as the first impression of the establishment. Now it is the website that makes for the first impression. You need a good website to ensure you grab people’s interest and convert that interest into a sale.

A website is effectively your businesses own branch on the virtual world

You can put up your products up for sale on Facebook, but that is just like putting your products on some other store’s shelves. You cannot influence the environment of the store to shape customer experience. Your products are the mercy of someone else. You cannot control customer shopping experience on Facebook. Facebook even changes the themes when and as they wish. But a website is somewhere you are in full control and give the customer a shopping experience you feel would be the best way to market yourself. For example some e-stores do not opt for a traditional slider and go the “Tinder” way that is the customers view one product at a time.

Also a basic feature that having your own website gives you is recommending customers their next possible purchase, based on their present viewing history. This is something that you lose your products on social media.

Social media has also restrictions on photo sizes that you can upload. This may be a drawback as intricate details may be lost when you compress file size.

Also many people might not want to buy from Facebook, so not having a website means lost sales. And a website along with a brick and mortar store is the perfect combo. Your brick and mortar store gives the customers who want to “feel and buy” what they want and online customers get the feasibility of buying from wherever at whatever time they want.

A website is a business you control and shape

Unlike Facebook you are in complete control. How your business works in completely on you. Just like Facebook gives you a free “shelf” to display your products, businesses with successful e-commerce website have gone on to sell “shelves” on their websites. A website has a huge potential for revenue making and is only limited by your imagination. A small business gains by investing in a website as they gain the option of multiple income streams from one smart investment!

One last thing to mention is that it is very important you choose a professional company to do the development for you. This is because you might require after-sales services, and freelancers are not that reliable.

 

About the Author

Rachael Everly is an undergraduate student who loves to write on the topics related business, finance, technology and education. Follow @RachaelEverly for further updates

 

Share

Guest Post: How Social Media Has Changed Customer Service

The emergence of the 1-800 number changed the customer service game fifty years ago. It enabled customers to directly reach out to the companies they support with their hard-earned money. Back then, snail mail was the only other way to communicate.

Now, five decades later, the game has changed drastically. In 2014, brands were asked over 22 million questions on Twitter and Facebook alone. And statistics from Social Baker reflect that the majority of those questions are not being answered on Twitter.

Your customers want to interact with your brand, and you want to give them better customer service. Here’s how to tweet and deliver the customer service your customers want.

Taking Customer Service Public

Customers are attracted to the public nature of customer service tweets. They are not something a brand can erase. It’s not like calling customer service where you can be put on hold forever or be hung up on. It’s an upside that is no doubt responsible for the staggering rise in these types of tweets in the last few years. But while a public tweet can be very satisfying if you get a timely response, it can be equally frustrating if your tweet is ignored altogether.

In fact, fewer than 30 percent of questions to major brands were answered in the second quarter of 2015, according to Social Baker. Now that is a mind-boggling statistic. When a customer reaches out to you and you don’t answer the phone or respond to an email, it upsets that one customer, or maybe more if they write a bad Yelp review. But if a customer tweets to you publicly and you do nothing, it’s out there for the whole community to see. And you also open the floodgates for more tweets of a very negative nature. Remember, you can block a user but you can’t stop them from using a hashtag.

Making Marketing Magic

The best strategy to handle the public nature of customer service on Twitter is simple: answer every tweet. Every single one. This will not only show the customer tweeting that you’re on top of your game and present on your social media accounts, it will show anyone else looking at your account that you’re interactive and you stand behind your product or service. The best companies hope for complaints and turn them into content consumers. Look at every tweet, whether negative or positive, to show your customers and your prospective customers that you care.

Make Your Feed Extraordinary

If you’re a Twitter newbie, you might notice that a lot of Twitter users, even a lot of businesses, use duplicate content to populate their feeds. You’ll notice that many tweets don’t have pictures or even full-length descriptions, but are cut off in the middle of a caption and followed by an Instagram or Facebook link. Sounds like a great way to save time and build your Twitter following right? Wrong!

Duplicate content is a terrible way to build your brand’s Twitter presence. Your customers are not only looking for remedies to their problems or answers to their questions. Part of providing great customer service is providing information on your Twitter feed that your followers can’t find anywhere else. Why would they follow you on Twitter if they see the same content on your Facebook or Instagram accounts?

Add pictures and videos to your posts, and make them original, as well as useful, for your customers. Every sixth or tenth tweet should be an advertisement. Your other tweets should be relevant industry information, how-to guides, inspirational quotes and other non-advertorial content that helps define your brand, not just your product or service. Take Amway’s Twitter account for example. It’s not heavily recruiting new reps or pushing products. It’s informing its audience about its philanthropic ventures, posting pictures of its employees and sharing its ethos through photo quotations. This is how you engage your Twitter audience and inspire confidence in your customers to reach out to you and give you their valuable feedback.

 

About the Author

Stacy Eden is a Phoenix, Arizona native with a passion for art, power tools, and historical significance. She draws inspiration from classic cars, ancient mythological sculptures and jewelry designers such as Delfina Delettrez, Shaun Leane, and Dior Jewellery creative director Victoire de Castellane.

Share

Dr. Natalie’s Research Agenda and Published Research

If you are wondering what I have been up to lately, I thought I would put all the research I have published  into one place. Here’s a list of Dr. Natalie’s completed and published research and soon to be published content! It ranges from IOT, Analytics, Big Data, Customer Experience, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Storytelling, Collaboration, Digital Transformation, Social Selling, Social Media, the Cloud, Marketing, Sales, SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, DaaS, AI, Machine Learning, Innovation, Social Networks, Social Media Monitoring, Mobile, Customer Service and Customer Success Management….and a few things in-between…

IOT (The Internet of Things), Innovation, AI, Machine Learning, Analytics and the Cloud

• The Algorithm of You: How IoT Transforms and Differentiates Customer Experience: Using the Internet of Things to Boost Revenue and Deliver a Brand’s Personalized Promise

• Digital Disruption: The Blind Spot That Could Sink Your IoT and CX Initiatives

• The Internet of Things Improves Customer Experience in Retail Supply Chain

• The As-a-Service Economy: CX and IOT Mean You Have to Deliver Great Experiences- Upcoming

• Customer Experience IOT in the Automotive Industry-Upcoming

***********************************************************************************

Digital Transformation: Customer Engagement, CRM, Innovation, Customer Experience, Customer Service, The Cloud and Analytics

• ROI Of Customer Service & Customer Experience

• How to Measure Customer Experience: Performance Management Maturity-Upcoming

• Case Study: Elaine Turner® Brand and Oracle Commerce, Marketing and Customer Service-Upcoming

• The Need for Inspiring Leaders to Orchestrate Customer Experience Initiatives-Upcoming

• Experience Management: How to Deliver Integrated Customer Experiences

• How Rackspace Creates the Next-Generation Customer Experience

• The ROI Of Agile Customer Care: Reduce Training and Easy To Add Channels

• Digital Imperatives for Omni-Channel Retail Customer Experiences

• Nine Pillar Of Successful Self-Service for Digital Customer Engagement

• 6 Pillars of e-commerce Customer Engagement

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Delivery and Communication Styles: Channels, Content and Cadence

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – People Centric Values: External & Internal Culture, Community, Credibility

• 9 C’s of Customer Engagement – Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalysts, Currency

• How Delta Uses Microsoft Dynamics and Avanade to Create Next-Generation Customer Experiences

• How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Improves Productivity at Trek Bicycle

• Delta Uses Microsoft to Transform Flight Operations and the Customer Experience

• New Belgium Brewing Creates Great Customer Experiences Using Microsoft Dynamics

• Beyond Journey Maps, Delivering Mass Personalization at Scale

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

***********************************************************************************

Social Media, Customer Service, CRM, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• How General Motors Using Social Media To Listen To Customers and Sell Cars and Deliver Service

• The ROI of Online Communities: Online Communities Provide Value Beyond Call Deflection

• Why Top Marketers Create Branded Social Networks for Customer Engagement

• The State of Customer Service and Support Evolves 

• ROI of Social Customer Service- Upcoming

• The Customer Service Playbook for Integration of Traditional, Digital, Social and Mobile Customer Service Strategies and Technologies-Upcoming

• Mobile Customer Service-Upcoming

***********************************************************************************

Digital Marketing, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• Should the Chief Marketing Officer Oversee the Whole Customer Experience?

• Data-Driven Marketing Campaign Optimization

• VentureBeat: Should the CMO Run the Whole Customer Experience?

• Executive Brief: Can Brands Keep Their Promise?

• Oracle Moves Its Focus from the CIO to the CMO

• How to Staff the Team for Effective Content Marketing

• The State of Marketing 

• Marketing Funnels Are Dead, What’s Next?

***********************************************************************************

Digital and Social Sales; Commerce, Innovation, Analytics and the Cloud

• How Sales Leaders and Sales Reps Can Create a Social Selling Organization: Convert Average Sales Teams into Top Performers Using Social Networks

• Five Approaches to Drive Customer Loyalty in a Digital World

• The Modern Sales Experience

• Continuity of Customer Experiences Drives the Future of Commerce

***********************************************************************************

Customer Success Management, Analytics, Innovation and the Cloud

• The State of Customer Success Management

• Gainsight: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• ServiceSource: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Bluenose: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

• Totango: Customer Success Management for a Post-Sale, On-Demand, Attention Economy

***********************************************************************************

If you are interested in learning about any of these reports or research, a speech or webinar on any of these or related topics, please reach out to me here!

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Innovative, Customer-Facing Applications that Create Great Customer Experiences

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Guest Post: How Digital Technology Is Transforming Customer Data Collection

Digital business is increasing the potential monetary value of data, but most companies aren’t leveraging this valuable resource. Smart devices, mobile technology and social media are increasing the volume and variety of customer data available at an accelerated rate, turning data brokering into a multibillion dollar business while simultaneously making data more affordable than ever. General information about consumers is now available for about $0.50 per 1,000 people, estimates the Financial Times. Read on for the trends that are transforming data collection and the tools that smart companies are using to turn data into profit.

Internet of Things

One of the biggest technology trends is the increasing presence of smart electronic devices, a trend known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Earlier stages of the Internet were centered around personal computers and then mobile phones, and now the Internet of Things includes all sorts of smart devices, from smart houses to smart TVs to smart cars, watches and clothes.

All these devices collect data that is centered around the consumers who use these devices. This enables businesses to organize their market research and advertising efforts around the totality of data as well as individual uses, a trend known as marketing personalization. The Internet of Things means that the data collected can conceivably be used to personalize ads they see in their car, at work and while shopping.

Location-Based Data

The Internet of Things forms a digital mesh that enables consumers and their data to be pinpointed by location. Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note5 are GPS-enabled, allowing marketers to collect data on their location and deliver personalized messages that appeal to customers at specific locations.

One of the emerging applications of this is beacon marketing, which identifies when customers are entering stores to deliver customized coupons, discounts and other special offers. For instance, Hillshire Brands saw a 36 percent increase in brand awareness and a 20 percent increase in purchase intent by using beacon technology.

Context-Sensitive Data

Data collection is becoming more context-sensitive. For instance, a webpage that displays well on a desktop screen needs to adjust to be viewable on a smaller mobile device screen. This means that the site needs to collect context-sensitive data about the viewer’s device and screen size.

Another context-sensitive use of data is retargeted advertising, when information gathered on one device follows users as they use other devices. For instance, Yahoo recently added a feature to its Gemini ad marketplace that enables advertisers to send retargeted ads to customers on websites, apps and Yahoo interest categories based on their browsing behavior.

Social Media Data

One of the most important data collection sources is social media. CMS Wire reports that 90 percent of the data available today was collected over the past two years and 80 percent of it came from social media use.

Social sites are seeking to capitalize on this, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and YouTube all introducing buy button features last year. In 2016, social media brand engagement and buying will drive data collection, predicts Brandwatch.

 

About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

Share

Lessons Learned from the Digital Hollywood Panel

The Digital Hollywood Panel was comprisized of Brian Popowitz, Jessica Hasson, John Bohan, Christopher Puga and Johnny Miller. When I asked them if they could only leave the audience with a few 1-3  thoughts, what would they be, here’s how they responded:

Brian Popowitz

1) Black Box. I’m in the business of working with musicians to aggregate an audience, build affinity between the audience/artist, and monetize the affinity an artist has with their audience. Social media has completely transformed that linear funnel and it what I dedicate each day of my life to work on.

2) Hoping for a magic bullet or virality is not a social strategy. Panoptic conversation will be replaced with more personalized conversation through social media. Influence is power.

Christopher Puga

1) Have a Voice – Not so long ago brands did everything possible to stay away from public opinion. platforms like twitter and Facebook have changed that. Not even 10 yrs ago some brands would consider it a luxury to not feel the need to comment on social issues. It’s the brands that you see now, like Oreo, Netflix, etc that look at this as an opportunity… an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with their customers and even move ahead of their competitors.

2) Plan for the Moment – Would you be surprised if I said the Oreo, dunk in the dark was not a random lucky post by accident? In fact, it was strategized and planned months in advance. They had a series of images ready to post given the situation. Some obvious like holidays and some subjective. how they won was by planning for the moment and being prepared to join the real-time conversation regardless of what happens in the world. So the lights went out in the super bowl and just like that, you have an award winning tweet and something that marketers will remember forever.

3) Don’t be Afraid to Fail – New features roll out weekly. New platforms pop up and with them come new potential customers. New ways of communicating spark out of nowhere. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Tweet with an emoji, start a periscope account, test Facebook live video, live tweet a TV show. start an AMA with an exec or special guest. Don’t be afraid to fail, but if the returns aren’t there, then fail fast. Only 17% of fortune 500s are on Pinterest. This is a powerful platform that is perfect for brands that want to connect with their customers.

John Bohan

I’m fascinated and energized by the state of the advertising industry today. Many people claim advertising is dead, and there’s no doubt it has changed dramatically in recent years with new challenges emerging daily. Advertising as we knew it is dead. Good advertising is no longer about selling. It’s about inspiring. It’s no longer about brand stories. It’s about people stories. Social media is the single most effective way for brands today to make real connections with real people.

1) Think, talk and act like your customers by gaining a deep understanding of your CUSTOMER ARCHETYPES (read our “bluepaper” here). You have to meet people on their terms in marketing today, and genuinely care about improving the quality of people’s lives. It’s not about your WHAT…it’s about tapping into their WHY.

2) VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO. It’s estimated that mobile video will account for 75% of total mobile data traffic by 2020. Facebook is making major moves to champion video and it’s already proving to be highly effective for brands and publishers. From Facebook 360 to Facebook LIVE (hailed as the future of TV – exploding watermelon, anyone?), new video tools allow people to get even closer to the brands, movies and media they love.

3) THE MESSENGER MATTERS – If you want more customers, get more friends.  Brands touting their own services and capabilities through one-way messages fall silent in the forest.   No one cares and people are tired of being sold to constantly.   But they do like and buy from brands that are recommended by their own friends or people that they trust.

If you want people to listen to your message, the person telling your story matters.   Build quality networks of influencers that connect with your different archetypes and provide these advocates with turnkey, engaging ways to spread your story in authentic ways (see Storytelling vs. Story Starting).

Jessica Hasson

CEO and Founder of PulpPR. I am passionate about this panel because it has been a powerful learning experience understanding the psychology behind social media, and what companies like Facebook are doing to improve their platforms accordingly. These changes are what ultimately impact the future of marketing and public relations, and we must learn and adapt from them if we are to be successful.

1) Take advantage of the wealth of social media resources available to you: social networks, marketing tools, etc. – most of which are free or of low cost to your business. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from these resources.

2) Keep on top of the latest social media trends: Experts are constantly studying the psychological impacts of social media. Read up on these types of studies often to better understand how you can efficiently target customers through social media.

3) Analyze your results, often: The only way to improve upon your past efforts is to analyze them, and figure out what went wrong or what did well. As Einstein has stated: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Don’t be insane.

What these people who are in the field actually doing digital and social media, interfacing and engaging with customers are telling us is that the customer is in charge of the message and that it’s time to shift the way things are done.

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Customer-Facing Applications that Create Awesome Customer Experiences

Share

NBCUniversal Launches One-Stop Shop for Data-Driven Ad Targeting

What is Audience Studio? NBCUniversal wants to make it easier for advertisers to use data to target audiences more precisely across TV, digital and social media. The media company, owned by Comcast Corp. , is introducing a new division called Audience Studio, which is dedicated to helping marketers employ data for ad targeting purposes by tying together four different ad buying products NBCU has introduced over the past few years. Audience Studio is being led by Denise Colella, NBCU’s senior vice president of data platforms and strategy who is in the midst of putting together a team of specialists for the new endeavor, including several planned hires.

Does Audience Studio Have a Data Management Platform? In addition to the group of ad targeting experts, at the heart of Audience Studio is a new “data management platform.” It’s basically a set of digital tools that advertisers will be able to use to match their own data with data from NBCU and third-party sources, in order to put together ad targeting segments, such as new moms in the market for a family friendly car. Marketers can then use that information to direct their advertising to those groups on TV and the Web.

What Four Offerings Does Audience Studio Include? Audience Studio will essentially tie together four recently launched NBCU ad offerings: Its Audience Targeting Platform lets advertisers target specific audiences on linear TV, and NBCUx is a similar product for digital media. NBCU+ Powered by Comcast provides marketers some access to Comcast set-top data for ad targeting purposes. And Social Synch helps brands extend the reach of their ad buys across various social networks.

Why Is Audience Studio An Interesting Opportunity for Marketers? Until now, a marketer looking to take advantage of two or more of these tools might have had to input data several different ways and come up with different definitions of potential ad targeting segments. Brands were largely then left to try to match up the segments manually. As more advertisers look to employ data-centric ad strategies across multiple media outlets, the process has the potential to cause major headaches, according to Krishan Bhatia, executive vice president of business operations and strategy at NBCU.

“If before you had this Chinese Wall between groups, with this, you are permeating that,” Mr. Bhatia said. “Going forward, a brand can now align their data inputs and outputs.”

What’s the Most Difficult Part of Targeting the Right Audience Segments? Naturally, advertisers want to eliminate any potential barriers when trying to increase their use of sophisticated targeting. Yet one complaint some buyers have raised recently is that they are worried that the each of the big TV companies will build its own unique systems and processes for data-driven advertising. That level of complexity might hold back the overall market’s potential, these buyers say.

In fact, some have advocated for a single technological solution that all the big TV players could employ for data-driven ad buys.

With Audience Studio, will NBCU be accused of going its own way? Mr. Bhatia said that he’d be more than willing to listen if such a broader effort were under way. But, we don’t have the luxury to wait for that solution to emerge,” he said. “We’d be the first people to think through how we might use that to help our clients. But right now we want to establish a leadership position and let our ad clients use any sort of data you could possibly imagine for advertising.”

MY POV: With yet another possible target marketing option in the marketplace, marketers need to take a really close look at the technology their currently have. It may mean that they do a “bake off” and determine, by comparing actual results, what technologies and platforms will really serve their needs to not only target the right audience, but also to increase lead conversion rates. The good thing is marketers have more choices than ever. The bad thing is, marketers have more choices than ever.

@Drnatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

Covering Cloud, IOT, Marketing, Sales and Service to Create Awesome Customer Experiences

Share