Marketing Espionage: Spy to Dominate Online

By Heather Lutze, CSP,  Master Trainer, Findability University, CEO, Findability Consulting & Speaking

 

Shoe phones, cones of silence, British sports cars, and intelligence gathering is not just for James Bond and Mr. Gadget. Let’s put on our trench coats, grab our briefcases and start to SPY. This mission is yours if you choose to accept it.

 

As speakers, we are pulled in a thousand different directions to market ourselves and build a brand. However, when meeting planners and potential clients search for us, they may not necessarily know us by name. Instead, they seek a desired outcome for their event. With a sea of speakers and so many variables, meeting planners turn to Google for answers. Our greatest marketing challenge is to know intimately what the client needs, what keyword phrases are important to THEM and also how we see ourselves.

 

What is Findability?

 

After working with many speakers for years, I can tell you that “speaker” keywords like “keynote speaker”, “business speaker” and other variations are just the tip of iceberg for the clients use for their searches. We often create websites, blogs and social content based on how we see ourselves and not what problem the client needs resolved. They are turning to a robot for solutions. We need to appeal to the robot AND the human to be truly findable. I call this “Findability” or industry experts call it SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

 

I want to challenge you to think differently. Let us take a proactive approach to marketing and see if we can figure out what is inside the mind of your IDEAL online searcher. We often guess at what might work for online exposure and guessing is expensive! The ONLY way to STOP guessing and to know for sure what your customers are doing is to SPY on them. Don’t worry, all the tools and tricks I will show you are ethical, legal and everyday practice for Internet Marketers. These tools have been my secret Spying Tool Kit to outsmart the competition online and win new business. I am thrilled to share with you the best Findability tools anyone can use…no geek knowledge required.

 

 

OK, let’s get to work. Fill out this form below so you can implement the recommendations as you read this article.

 

 

SPY ON YOURSELF: GRADING TOOLS

Spy On Your Own Website to Establish a Baseline.

 

Your Website: ____________________________

 

MARKETINGGRADER.COM: This tool will give you a WIDE perspective of your current website and a quick assessment of the key attributes search engines expect of an authority web presence. Remember that search engines covet their search results. They only want to put the best of the best under keyword searches based on blogging, social engagement, lead generation and other key factors. NOW RUN YOUR SCORE. Once you write your score down, scroll down the page for detailed recommendations on how to improve your score.

 

 

YOUR SCORE: ___________________

 

WOORANK.COM: This is my biggest secret weapon. This site is a real “nerd” moment as it provides a free 15-page SEO report on all the improvements you can make on your site for better Findability. Run this report, save it as a PDF and give it to the webmaster in your life. Walk through the report and see how much of the “red” you can eliminate from the report. If you manage your site yourself, review the document and make the suggested changes.

 

 

YOUR SCORE: ___________________

 

 

EXTRA CREDIT: Check out WORDLE.NET OR TAGUL.COM. This word cloud tool is nothing special – there are a million of them online. However, if you use it correctly, you can tell how search engines interpret your site and what keyword phrase is most relevant. Copy and paste ALL your homepage content into wordle.net and run the tool.

 

 

The BIGGEST word on the word cloud is the MOST REPEATED keyword on the page. Search engines want to rank the pages that are most relevant by keyword phrase. Circle the biggest keyword on the page, the second biggest and so forth. Now you can see how search engines interpret what your homepage is about. If the biggest word on the page is your name, you may want to consider other phrases (besides your name) for which your homepage should rank. Or you can do this on a competitor’s site too.

 

 

SPY ON YOUR COMPETITORS: WHAT ARE THEY UP TO?

 

 

COMPETITOR #1: WWW.____________________________.COM

COMPETITOR #2: WWW.____________________________.COM

 

 

SEMRush.com: This is a great tool to see exactly what keywords you currently rank under in search engines, as well as your how your competitors rank. Go ahead and run a report for your website. You will get a treasure trove of data on yourself including keyword positions on a search result page, searches per month and any trending for that phrase. Warning: This tool will let you run a single report before asking for your credit card. You can get around this by using different browsers to run more than one report. You are going to love this tool since it offers tons of great insights in a format that’s easy to understand.

 

 

ISpionage.com: This tool is free and you can run as many reports as you like. I have used it for years to perform competitive analyses. Type a competitor domain name into the tool to discover what keywords they rank for and exactly what they are doing to achieve this rank. This is like reverse engineering what your competition is doing and you can glean a strategy that is either aligned with them or different. Remember, just because you think they are competitors offline, does not mean they are a competitor online under a particular keyword phrase. We want to become findable to meeting planners that DO NOT know us but should.  EXTRA CREDIT: Check out KeywordSpy.com. which is another great intelligence tool.

 

 

SPY ON YOUR CUSTOMERS: TAP THE PSYCHE OF THE SEARCHER

 

 

ADWORDS KEYWORD PLANNER: Some of you may know this tool if you run a paid search campaign (PPC). If not, this is the best tool by far to get keyword ideas. Visit Adwords.Google.com, setup an account, and use the keyword planner. Even though you have to enter a credit card number, there is no fee for opening the account and you do NOT have to start a campaign. Just use and abuse the keyword planner to discover your ideal keywords.

 

 

Remember, you want keyword phrases that are 2 – 3 keywords long such as. “Social Media Expert”, “Business Keynote Speaker” or “Leadership Team Training”, etc. Try to be as specific as possible. Create a list of all the keyword phrases you would like to rank for in search engines. Consider creating content based on these keywords for blogs, social media, or web pages. This tool gives you monthly search volume for each keyword phrase. Pick keywords that have over 250 searches per month to gage if writing content based on the phrase is worth your time.

 

 

SPYFU.COM: This is a great intelligence gathering device. They have a number of valuable tools such as the Kombat tool to “fight” with your competitor (your domain verses their domain), and it breaks down the websites piece by piece. They also have a keyword tool called SmartSearch. Here you will get search engine data from Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. Play around and run some reports to get helpful keyword ideas, as well as understand why that pesky competitor ranks for a particular keyword phrase and you do not. They have so many great offerings, it’s worth setting up a free 30-day trial.

 

 

Have fun playing with these tools. Rip this page out and keep it handy for the next time you see a competitor ranking under a sought-after keyword phrase. Use this Spying Tool Kit to dive into what they are doing, discover what keywords they are using and how you can compete with them in search results. This message will self destruct in 10 seconds.

 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Lutze, CSP is the widely acclaimed speaker, trainer, and consultant who literally wrote the book on search engine marketing. Two books, in fact—The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing and the brand new Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap for Social Media & Mobile Marketing. Her writing and in-demand keynotes and Findability University workshops are delivered with the same witty, “no-geek-speak” style that has managed to demystify internet marketing for countless business owners. Her new book Marketing Espionage: How to Ethically Spy on your Competitors and Customers to Dominate Online is due out Fall of 2014. You can visit heather at findability.com.

Executive Briefings: Email Marketing, The Gateway To The Digital World

By Thomas White, Co-Founder and CEO of C-Suite Network, The Worlds Most Trusted Network of C-Suite Leaders.

The C-Suite is a vast audience of leaders who all have a little extra insight into their industry and the current business world. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to share that insight and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Matt McGowan, President of Adestra. Matt has been one of the leaders in the digital media world for more than 10 years, working with companies like Incisive Media and Google.

 


 

IS EMAIL DEAD?

There is conventional wisdom that email is dead as a marketing tool. Rather, the new marketing avenue is social media. Is that the right assumption, or is this way off-base?

It is way off-base, but it is not a bad off-base. Studies have shown from different organizations asking different questions to different people, “What do consumers rely on for information from commercial entities? Companies?” The overwhelming response is email. Email is the core that really taps the understanding of what the consumer is. Email is the most native kind of product when it comes to mobile devices. The first thing a consumer does when getting a new mobile device is to set up their email account. 50-70% of users are accessing products, company websites, apps etc. via mobile devices these days. It’s literally the easiest way to get in touch with the consumer if you do it right.

 

 

HOW TO PLAN AN EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY

How do you build an email marketing plan based on today’s technology that deals with the reality of people wanting to restrict how much email actually gets in to their inbox?

It is not about the amount of email that you send, but it’s about the type of conversation that you are having with the consumer. There are a lot of email service providers available to the consumer – Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc. All of these providers are stepping in the way of email in a good way, to protect the user and to weed out the stuff that is irrelevant. An email marketing plan needs to find the path using relevant information to power the message. The message needs to be one-to-one vs one-to-many. This is the direction companies are going, marketing to a person vs an audience. Companies need to focus on less email, but more on targeted email.

 

How do you create an email strategy that is one-to-one or relevant to the recipient?

Businesses need to believe in a practice of incremental innovation. To get to that one-on-one conversation, it’s not about the grandiose leap from nothing to something, it is about the incremental steps the marketer can take over time to increase relevancy with the audience. When you are sending one-to-many messaging you are sending stop-shop marketing. Incremental innovation is the idea that every week, know your customer, then try to do something that gets you closer to that one-on-one message. If you look at it over a year, you’ll have enough innovation in your marketing efforts. This will provide movement to make major strides. If you look at it in the short term, it’s going to seem like it’s not enough. It starts with knowing your customer and then making those incremental steps.

 

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE CRM RELATIONSHIP

How important is it to integrate the CRM (customer relationship management) ecosystem to email marketing and sales strategies?

You first want to make sure all of your customer data is located in your CRM. In order to use that data, you will need to secure an automation platform or ESP (email service provider). You will then want to connect your CRM with your ESP. Over time you will start to incrementally innovate and try new things. What you will end up with is an always-on campaign that is working for you even when you are sleeping. With the rules that you’ve built over time, the campaign will work on your behalf and communicate with your customers to get your message in front of them. This way you can continue to develop a successful relationship with your customers. Then you will be able to build much more complex profiles of what is interesting to your customers as well.

 

How important is engagement with the customer prior to attempting one-to-one email marketing, and how do you go about establishing this engaged relationship?

You need to be authentic. You are not going to engage with everybody that is on your mailing list. Some people are going to sign up just to get a discount or more information. You can start a relevant conversation instantly by asking two or three key questions that lead you down the path of relevance. Don’t try to push your business on them. Rather, from the questions you asked, offer them something that is valuable and useful.

 

 


Email Should Lead the Pack on All-in-One Marketing Platforms

By: Ryan Phelan, Vice President of Marketing Insights, Adestra Inc.

At a recent conference, I talked with a marketer whose company sends marketing emails through an all-in-one platform.

“Why do you do that?” I asked.

“Because it’s part of the marketing automation package we bought,” he replied. “It’s all part of one platform.”

“Is it doing what you need?” said I.

“No, but it’s all connected, so I have to use it,” he answered.

I’ve had this conversation many times before thanks to a trend among companies to consolidate their marketing services through an all-in-one platform for email marketing, lead nurturing, B2B or B2C marketing.

I can understand the appeal of having one dashboard to manage instead of five or six – one platform to rule them all, so to speak. I use a brand-name platform myself for lead management and nurturing, but I stick with Adestra for my email needs because the platform’s email module doesn’t have the deliverability management, reporting and ease of use that I love about Adestra. It also integrates just fine with my platform. So, it’s a win-win for me.

Marketers tell me they look at single-platform providers because they need to work with tools that are integrated. However, many all-in-one platforms still have integration issues, meaning you still have to perform some functions manually.

Down side of one-size-fits-all marketing platforms

All-in-one platforms are usually made up of technology from companies the big cloud providers acquired and then assembled into a platform.

It might have an email module you can use to send messages, but it’s not necessarily the best-of-breed service an email marketer needs to succeed.

Email marketing is more than just sending email. Does the email module give you detailed, granular reporting? Can you build messages quickly? Does it integrate with your ecommerce and customer-care databases for segmented, triggered and real-time messaging? Who helps out when something goes wrong?

An all-in-one platform takes away your choice of vendors. You end up making your decisions based on the technology the platform provides instead of being able to surround yourself with best-of-breed technologies.

Although omnichannel marketing has broken down the old silos among communication channels, we still do our work in a siloed environment. The tools you need for email marketing are different those for mobile marketing, social, SMS/texting and the web.

Getting back to best of breed

Although analysts and industry pundits had been urging companies to consolidate all of their marketing needs on a single platform, I’m seeing more marketers looking beyond the portfolio and seeking out best-of-breed technology again.

If you use an all-in-one or cloud service, see if the email function is the best email tool on the market or just bolted-on technology. Look under the hood to see if the platform offers true integration that requires no effort or hours from your IT team. Is it the best email tool you can use or just the tool that’s offered?

Email in an all-in-one platform should not be just one tool in a suite of others. It should be the tool. When you’re evaluating vendors, the buying decision should rest not on the suite as a whole but on the quality of the individual tools that make up the suite.

Your marketing landscape is not a straight line with applications scattered all along it. It is a circle with your company in the middle.

If you can’t execute a necessary function, look for a new provider. Looks for the right partnerships outside of the marketing suite. The focus is on integration timelines and scalability.

If you can conquer that, you have a winning solution.

Theory of Creativity

By: Yitzchok Saftlas

Safety first might be the best advice if you’re behind the wheel of a car, but if you want to test drive a creative marketing or advertising concept, you’ve got to take it for a spin.

Playing it safe is the absolute worst thing you can do, says Linda Kaplan Thaler, who was inducted last year into the Advertising Hall of Fame. Linda is the former chairman of Publicis, an advertising group whose blue-chip client roster includes: P&G, Nestle, Merck and Pfizer, and is the creative genius behind many world-famous advertising campaigns, such as the “I don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m a Toys R Us Kid,” and “Kodak Moments.”

Perhaps one of her biggest success stories – one she shared with my listeners on a recent edition of Mind Your Business on 77WABC – was the campaign she devised for AFLAC, an acronym for American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus.

Few Americans had ever heard of AFLAC before Linda won their account in 1999, even though AFLAC was a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide.

AFLAC’s advertising had been a flop and company awareness was hovering at a barely perceptible 3%. The company was intent on staying the course with their emotional commercials to try to worry people into running out and buying insurance to cover the unexpected. Linda knew that to win AFLAC’s advertising account, and turn them into a household name, she was the one who had to do the unexpected.

With negotiations at an impasse, Linda asked AFLAC’s CEO Dan Amos for a private meeting, and asked him one simple question: What keeps you awake at night? Amos replied that he loses sleep over the fact that even his relatives don’t know the name of the company.

Linda went back to her office, and the drawing board. At a brainstorming session, her creative director, Eric David quipped that AFLAC rhymed with quack and conjured up visions of ducks. 

“I said: That’s it! That’s how we’re going to make America remember this name!”

Her copywriters composed a brilliant script, with two 40-year old men munching sandwiches on a park bench, where one asks the other to define supplemental insurance. A duck from the nearby pond waddles out of the water and quacks a one word answer: AFLAC. 

Initially, Dan wasn’t impressed, but Linda was so sure that she shelled $35,000 out of her company’s coffers to test the message. That was bundle for her young company at the time, but the ad soon broke the bank. In two years, consumer awareness rose from 3% to 96% and today, the duck even graces the AFLAC logo at company headquarters.

Linda is never deterred by initial resistance. “The best ideas are the bad ideas that you turned upside down,” she says. Linda has three tips to help overcome that natural and understandable resistance:

1. Go for a Soft Approach

“I call it the Yes sandwich,” Linda says. “It’s much easier to get what you want that way. So when the client says, ‘that’s ridiculous,’ I say, you’re right, it’s a little insane but let’s just push back for a minute and see why this particular insanity makes some rational sense. Then go back to pushing for it.”

2. Let the Client Take Credit

President Harry Truman once said you can accomplish anything in your lifetime as long as you’re willing to not take credit for any of it. “If I throw out an idea, and the client says, that’s outrageous, I’ll say, what do you think will make it better? When they give me their idea, I’ll say: great idea, why didn’t I think of that!”

3. Don’t be afraid to fail

James Dyson, the inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, developed 5,126 prototypes over 15 years until he found one that worked, eventually amassing a net worth of $5 billion. He once said he got so much more innovation out of each failure along the way. “So we tell clients: If an ad doesn’t go viral, no one will see it, so you never have to worry that it will be seen as a failure.”

If you too hope to make the Advertising Hall of Fame one day, get the client thinking: “That’s nuts. That’s crazy. And then, yes, that could be brilliant!

Bottom Line Action Step: Share a great idea with a client and let them make it even better.

Yitzchok Saftlas is the founder and president of Bottom Line Marketing Group, a premier marketing agency helping hundreds of corporate, political and non-profit clients build their brands since 1992. Yitzchok’s new book: “So, What’s The Bottom Line” contains timeless advice for marketers, seasoned executives, and entrepreneurs. His weekly business radio show, “Mind Your Business” is aired on 77WABC radio every Sunday night. Yitzchok can be reached at ys@BottomLineMG.com

Commercial Cards Modernize the Payments Process and Enhance Supplier Relationships

Our competitive and global business climate requires C-level executives to maintain visibility into spending and constantly look for ways to make every dollar count. A payment strategy that relies on electronic payments is an important first step. As part of that strategy, you can take advantage of commercial card program benefits to drive down costs, forecast cash flow, optimize liquidity opportunities, and enhance valuable supplier relationships.

Consider that 50% of payables are still paper-based1 and each check costs, on average, $30 per item to process and handle.2   Commercial cards can be used not only for purchasing and expenses, but inventory and capital expenditures as well. 

“Progressive leaders looking to improve process efficiencies, cash visibility, and forecasting, recognize that making the relatively simple move toward using commercial cards is the logical solution for payments.”

–Ranjana Clark, Head of Transaction Banking, MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

Download White Paper:

Learn more about transformative ePayables strategies: download the MUFG Commercial Cards white paper here.

About MUFG:
MUFG Union Bank, N.A. is a member of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), one of the world’s leading financial institutions. Learn more about our
Commercial Card program at mufgamericas.com/commercial-cards

Contact a MUFG ePayables specialist at 214-468-7829 or visit mufgamericas.com/commercialcards for more information.

1Electronic Payments Survey, Association of Financial Professionals, 2013.

2 Ibid.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about commercial card and is not considered advice from MUFG and MUFG Union Bank, N.A.

© 2016 Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The MUFG logo and name is a service mark of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

 

B2B Marketing: C-Suite Executive Briefings

Q&A: Cody Pearce, Chief Operating Officer of Nelson Schmidt, On An Evolution in B2B Marketing

The C-Suite Network hosts a monthly online event called Executive Briefings. Each event features an executive thought leader discussing a topic important to the C-Suite. Thomas White, CEO of C-Suite Network, hosts the event with a unique Q&A format. 

During one of our recent Briefings, Cody Pearce, chief operating officer of Nelson Schmidt, joined us to discuss the evolution and landscape, both present and future, of B2B marketing. Nelson Schmidt is a leader in helping companies and clients truly think about the marketplace and how they can engage with buyers in a way that’s really effective both to the top and bottom line.

C_Suite Webinar_v3.002

If anybody has been around marketing they’ve heard a couple of terms: B2B and B2C. So when somebody is talking about business to business, or B2B, what does that really mean?

We talk a lot about the evolution of B2B marketing and to some extent the dissolving of B2B marketing. When we look out at some of the trends that we’re monitoring, we look at three things: One, the market landscape has really dynamically changed even over the last three to five years. Just about every business model has been significantly disrupted. There is a massive influx of information and information technology that is changing the way we do business – changing the way we go to market.

Secondly, the customer landscape – both demographically and the way the customer has been empowered – are dramatically different because of the evolution of tools and information. The empowered customer has changed the way we think about marketing.

Lastly, the B2B landscape is dramatically shifting. We’ve seen a disappearance of our trade with the BMA (Business Marketing Association) being absorbed by the AMA (American Marketing Association) and with our Trade Voice BtoB Magazine being absorbed by Advertising Age, for example. Those trends are real evidence for us that there is a tremendous shift taking place, and a movement towards the creation of a single community of marketers rather than a definitive distinction between B2B and B2C companies, brands, and marketers. That shift, for us, is an incredibly important one, and one that we’re making sure to pay close attention to so we can change our business and our business practices with it.

We certainly have seen these changes in the landscape, the kind of things that we all supported and helped build this market we call B2B are certainly evolving pretty rapidly. What is causing this change? What is going on in the customer space that’s having this change come about?

What we look at, first and foremost, is the emergence of new channels and the access to information for customers that just hasn’t been there until the last three to five years in the way that it is today. That is changing the way the customers get information. It’s changing their ability to be much more intelligent and informed, and it’s forcing companies and marketers to think less about the product or solution they offer – a business or commercial audience versus a consumer one – and to think more about the journey and the considered purchase process of their customers. We need to evolve with these changing demographics, market landscape changes, and emergence of new tools and channels.

C_Suite Webinar_v3.005

You talk about the change in how we market, but this question of the evolution of B2B to considered purchases isn’t really just an issue for marketing folks. It’s really an issue for all the C-Suite, isn’t it?

It really is. I think the changes that we’re starting to describe, and the trends that we’re looking at, it changes how we do business. It changes how we connect with customers. It changes, perhaps, how we go to market and make money. For us, as an agency, and as a considered purchase marketing agency, it means thinking differently about the way that we help our customers from the executive office all the way through the commercial marketing teams and into the sales organization. So it does affect our client’s businesses literally from top to bottom in the way that they do business.

You’ve used this term a few times called considered purchase, what does it mean?

It simply means that rather than defining marketing as business-to-business or business-to-consumer, we are defining our practice of marketing around the idea of the level of consideration we see that customers make before making a purchase choice. Considered purchases are complex and have a great deal of emotional and financial risk and reward.

C_Suite Webinar_v3.004

So you aren’t getting this idea because you sit around a room. You go out and talk to folks and find out from them what they’re seeing.

That’s absolutely right. It’s not just about coming up with a new term for the sake of having something catchy to talk about next. It really is about re-inventing the way that, as an agency, we’re beginning to practice and the way that we solve problems for our customers.

When we talk to marketers, what we’re hearing are a couple of emerging trends. Number one, we hear that there’s a lot more focus around the consideration for purchase of those goods or services. It’s less about B2C and B2B, and it’s more about the level of consideration a customer has to make before making a purchase choice. We also find that the marketers probably feel less informed, especially as business models change and are disrupted. We begin to then shape our conversation around the purchase journey, around the consideration required, and the consequence and complexity tied to a brand choice to define the way that we practice.

For example, if we start to look at and map different categories of products and services along a spectrum of consequence and complexity, we can start to draw a line differently than traditional B2B and B2C lines have been drawn in the past. There’s kind of a convergence and a similarity now between the process someone may go through when choosing a banking alternative or a college choice, and very much being able to connect that to what a capital equipment purchase might look like. That journey looks very similar regardless of a consumer or a business target audience or offering. 

C_Suite Webinar_v3.006

Do you think because we have had these distinctions of B2B, B2C, and so forth that we have failed to really understand what you call the customer journey and how the sales funnel really works?

Yes, and marketers tell us that. They’re starting to question the traditional sales funnel and rethink the way that customers, in a more informed setting along a path of highly considered purchase, are moving through that funnel in a less linear fashion. Instead, they are coming in and out of it much more rapidly, and carrying forward with them preconceived choices based on the level of information available to them. As we look at the customer journey in the highly considered purchase path, it forces us to rethink the sales funnel and how we engage with the customer to affect their choices.

C_Suite Webinar_v3.007

Let’s talk about the customer journey. How do you help people map that out?

We actually give a lot of credit to a company called Adaptive Path. We found some very compelling tools that this organization had developed. They are a thought leader in the space of customer experience, and they make available to us, and this is public domain, a great set of tools that we’re beginning to use to provide structure to mapping out the customer journey.

The tools help us look at the stages a customer goes through, whether it’s in a business-to-business or business-to-consumer setting. We then can map those stages out from decision, through research and shopping, into buying and consumption — all the way down to using and feeding back into the loop their experience.

Not only does this allow us to look at the functional aspects of what customers are doing, but it lets us explore the emotional aspects of what customers may be thinking, feeling, and experiencing at each of the stages of the journey. That allows us, ultimately, to provide some guiding principles and seek opportunities for where we can be most effective with the right content, at the right time, through the right channel, as we begin to map this more comprehensively. 

C_Suite Webinar_v3.008

By mapping this out we know what to do when.

That’s right. It’s about what to do when. It’s about what channels to use. It’s about having some predictability in the work that we do to the outcomes that we’re trying to measure. This allows us to set up analytics and KPIs around our marketing programs to know that the investment is working as best as it can.

We begin to apply this as simply and as informally as a brainstorming session. We literally project it up on a wall for a post-it note session with our media and public relations and digital teams. We also take it very formally into the way that we scope and manage comprehensive annual campaigns.

Through this modeling we can start to look at the tools and the modes of communication. We can look at what customers are functionally doing, thinking, and feeling at each individual stage. We can much more intelligently then shape our messaging, our creative strategies, our channel mix, and investment in a way that we know is going to be most effective and optimized.

This guideline has given us a great framework to start looking at both consumer and commercial purchase cycles and building intelligent plans that use a modern set of tools in the most effective way.

What is the “Zero Moment of Truth”?

Zero moment of truth is something that has been talked about for a few years. This is the ultimate point in time in the customer journey of where they decide and make a final decision. It’s that moment of truth where we can start to look at the first moment of truth – that is when a customer narrows down its final set of consideration brands – and the zero moment of truth when they actually go from the shopping and evaluation to the choice. They have made a critical decision.

This model that you’re using is a considered purchase model. This could apply to what has traditionally been thought of as a business to business or a business to consumer orientation.

Yes, it doesn’t matter for us. For example, laundry machines. A laundromat owner may be considering replacing equipment in his or her store, or a homeowner may be looking to replace the washer and a dryer in their home. Both are highly considered purchases.

For both of those scenarios, we can map those purchase journeys. We start to model very closely the tools, the channels, the content, and the delivery of what we do as marketers to affect their choices.

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We’ve got this picture of the customer journey. Is this it or is there more?

No, there’s more. Obviously this is one step towards them building an effective brand and communications plan and strategy. The example that we will use here is connected to that laundry store owner. How it impacts what we then do as marketers can come in three ways and shapes. 

Number one is this has dramatically impacted the way we are shaping and delivering our creative and message strategy that we’re using. We have typically focused heavily on the promotion of our functional benefits. We talk a lot about the value proposition. We talk about promoting features and benefits of a solution.

Now having gone through these exercises, it has completely changed that mindset for us. It lowered the purpose and the role of the equipment and it heightened the emotional feeling of risk and of challenge and connecting it to a broader set of solutions that our brand can deliver. In this case we talk about financing. We talk about construction services. We talk about the business that they’re running and the impact we can have on improving that business. We connect emotionally through digital platforms by showing and telling through much deeper engagement how that is happening, and what other customers are feeling, and how they can connect. The first impact it’s having is changing the way we build our message and creative strategies and the mix that we use. 

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The second thing is these individual moments of truth. The great news is that marketing automation, programmatic media, CRM and other marketing techniques have dramatically improved our ability to intelligently hone in on this and very predictably insert the right content at exactly the right moment through the right channel, and keep that engagement to make sure that we are a part of that zero moment of truth. It has really changed the way that we bring automation and use technology to deliver our content in a much more sophisticated and predictable way.

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Lastly, it lets us build metrics that are a little bit different than the traditional KPIs of a marketing program. We can not only look at the things that are typical in the funnel in terms of impressions and the things that we usually have looked at as marketers. It starts to help us really hone in and drill down on activities where are we seeing engagement. Getting this in real time and connecting it down to the sales funnel, in terms of active deals and closed opportunities, lets us measure in real time how impactful our message, our mix, and our strategies are at being part of that consideration set.

Those three things to us as marketers are incredibly powerful. What we’re saying and when. How it is being delivered. The way that we hone in predictably on the behavior of consumers at exactly the right time. Then the visibility to measure that along the way to affect our decisions. Those are the three big ones for us.

What does all this mean to how we measure marketing effectiveness? It seems like we have a whole new way to look at things that are much more clearly tied to the sales results we’re producing.

Yes, that is probably the most important question marketers are asking themselves. They are looking at their investments and seeing pressure from the C-Suite in terms of what am I getting, what should I invest, and how are we performing. We owe it to ourselves as marketers – and frankly as an agency committed with a tagline of “we deliver customers” – we have to back that up with evidence.

We’re starting to talk about engagement versus the quantity of impression. Where we typically are thinking a lot about the top of the funnel in terms of impressions, awareness, and perception, and attitude measure – that matters and we care about it, but we also have to know what impact that is having on the quality of engagement – from the engagement of consideration, to ultimately the choice. Being able to connect that from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel literally in terms of active deals through visibility in CRM and a connection to our customer sales teams, is critically important.

What does somebody do if they want to start bringing in this understanding of the customer journey in a considered purchase way but they don’t have a large budget? Where do they invest their money?

Frankly, what I would encourage is to go through the process I discussed earlier — go through a process of mapping the customer journey. Go through a process of truly, intimately understanding what your customers are going through in making their choices in a highly considered decision. Zone in on the areas where you feel you can affect that first and final moment of truth to bring your brand into consideration, and dominate and own that area of your marketing investment.

Regardless of the size of budget, being thoughtful about the approach and careful about the measurements can help you determine the right thing to do at any investment level.

Moving forward, what do people do?

We are hypothesizing here – based on the trends we’ve talked about and the evolution and witness of our B2B trade dissolving, we believe there’s an evolution taking place. We believe that organizing the way we practice around considered purchase versus B2B and B2C is a meaningful path. We believe that the playbook, the way that we deliver, should be centered on the mapping of that customer journey in a much more modern way with the use of the most sophisticated tools we have available to us as marketers. 

We want to continue the dialogue. We want to continue to learn and listen to marketers. We want to invite everybody here to join in this conversation and debate. Let’s, as a community of marketers, regardless of B2C or B2B, begin to recognize truly how disrupted our space has become and how important it is for us to start moving in a direction to re-invent ourselves and redefine our impact in business value. That is critical for us and I think that is what we can all go forward thinking. We believe there is something relevant here for everyone to dig in with us.

You can learn more about Executive Briefings, watch other sessions and sign up for future events here.

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Thomas White is the CEO of the C-Suite Network and the host of the nationally syndicated video program, Business Matters. This was taken from dialogue on C-Suite Executive Briefings.

EEA in Education Pact on Engagement With C-Suite Network

The Enterprise Engagement Alliance and C-Suite Network at C-SuiteNetwork.com have announced a broad marketing partnership to educate corporate management on the emerging field of engagement and to provide the EEA community with a broad range of the C-Suite Network’s learning and networking services.

Under the agreement, the Enterprise Engagement Alliance will develop an education program and content track on all aspects of Enterprise Engagement for the fast-growing C-Suite Network community. C-Suite Network describes itself as the “world’s most powerful network of C-suite leaders with a focus on providing growth, development, and networking opportunities for business executives with titles of vice president and above from companies with annual revenues of $10 million or greater.”  The group currently has over 175,000 executives in its community.

The group holds three conferences a year; hosts online television and radio broadcasts on topics of interest to top management; manages a private online community for business leaders, produces specialized interactive learning programs for C-suite leaders, and offers a book club featuring titles of interest to business management. The EEA will promote these services both through its Engagement Strategies portal at Enterpriseengagement.org and its annual Engagement University at eeaexpo.com, held this year in Orlando April 25-28.

Said Thomas White, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the C-Suite Network, “The emerging field of Enterprise Engagement provides a compelling roadmap for today’s business leaders seeking to gain a competitive advantage by harnessing the power of engaged customers, distribution partners, employees, vendors, and communities to achieve their short- and long-term goals. It’s our mission to help our community find the latest strategies and tactics to improve the performance of their organizations.”

Bruce Bolger, President of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance said, “The C-Suite Network has done a great job of building a community of executives committed to excellence and creating a complete set of learning and sharing tools to help their organizations excel. We couldn’t imagine a better education partnership.”

Original Article from Engagement Strategies Media

Big Data Conversations: Don’t Get Caught

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By Judith Glaser

Why and How of Engaging Customers

Gallup’s State of the American Consumer report states, “Fully engaged customers are more loyal and profitable. Afully engaged customer represents a 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.”

How can you effectively engage with your customers who operate at warp speed? We live in a world of right now, and the demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives. Instant gratification is no longer a desire—it is an expectation.

In what Qualtrics calls the “era of immediacy,” we now operate in real-time and expect everything instantly. To engage with their customers and satisfy their need for speed, businesses must re-engineer their approach. Today, it’s about giving the customer what they want, when they want it and how they want it—or they’ll go someplace else. 

Fast data is gathered quickly and shared and acted on quickly, before its shelf life expires. Fast data delivers the information needed to help address specific issues, drive results and propel innovation in the moment. Fast data helps enterprises gather real-time insights into what customer are thinking so they can address issues in the now and keep customers happy. Enterprises need to catch customers and employees when they’re thinking it. Forrester Research predicts: “In the age of the customer, the race will be won or lost based on your firm’s ability to know your customers and react faster and better.”

For example, the Viceroy Hotel Group used fast data to uncover valuable insights about potential customers that boosted the hotel’s bottom line. Using Qualtrics Site Intercept product, the VHG experienced a sudden surge in local web traffic. Managers scratched their heads. The locals weren’t planning to stay there, so what was up with all the traffic? In less than an hour, the LA-based hotel set up an online survey using Site Intercept that asked local visitors what they were looking for. It turned out they wanted a happy hour menu. A quick fix allowed the hotel to make the happy hour menu available to anyone from the LA area who visited the website. With fast data, the VHG delivered potential customers exactly what they wanted, which boosted the hotel’s bottom line.

Meet the Voice of the Customer

Enterprises struggle with having access to the right information at the right time and place in order to interact with customers, build new products, and improve service. This is why most leaders are investing resources to strengthen their customer engagement programs. This renewed commitment to customer engagement impacts how enterprises approach their Voice of Customer (VoC) initiatives. VoC is now a strategic initiative for better understanding customers and responding to their specific needs.

For example, JetBlue, another Qualtrics’ customer, noticed that their NPS score at a Philadelphia airport was very low for an early morning flight. By focusing on this insight, JetBlue could trace customer dissatisfaction to the fact that the shops and amenities in the terminal were not open when customers were looking for coffee and refreshments before their flight, making them grumpy. With this insight, JetBlue responded quickly by passing out water, juice and coffee at the gate in the morning to boost customer morale. This made a tremendous change in JetBlue’s satisfaction scores.

Customers now expect to give feedback, and to have that feedback acted on. This expectation is driving the demand for VoC. Organizations are looking to technology to address the new rules of customer engagement.

Today, anybody can gather data on nearly anything. The challenge isn’t in finding the right solution to help you gather data—it is in finding the right solution to allow you to access, and act upon those insights quickly and effectively. Otherwise, customers will go someplace else. Adapt or vanish, the old adage goes.

We can now collect insights faster than ever before, enabling us to make timelier and better business decisions, improve business results and create happier, engaged customers. This means more revenue and profits. In the era of immediacy,” actionable data enables us to give our customer what they want, when and how they want it.

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Judith E. Glaser is CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc., Chairman of The Creating WE Institute, an Organizational Anthropologist, consultant to Fortune 500 Companies, and author of four best selling business books, includingConversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (Bibliomotion, 2013) Visit www.creatingwe.com orwww.conversationalingelligence.com; email jeglaser@creatingwe.com or call 212-307-4386.

Are Your Recruiters Making These Three Major Mistakes?

By Anand Deshpande, WittyParrot

Are you guilty of committing these three recruiting no-nos?

Best practices for the hiring process have changed dramatically. Failure to acknowledge the evolving job market and adapt to the demands of 21st century job seekers can lead to lost opportunities…and revenue.

Here are three early recruiting mistakes, which may stand between your business and the best and the brightest job applicants.

1. Lack of a Recruitment Strategy

Social media offers an abundance of ways to connect with prospective candidates, but lack of a well-delineated recruiting plan can lead to wasted time and resources. Even when time is of the essence, it pays to stop and establish a “big picture” plan in order to determine strategic recruiting goals as well as targeted tactics for achieving them.

Implementing a recruitment plan is crucial to landing top talent – following are tips to create a recruitment strategy:

  • Understand the position, including everything from key criteria to core competencies to cultural fit. While general posts in non-specific outlets may yield some results, they will also produce a multitude of dead ends. The more specific the job description and recruiter’s understanding of the most desirable candidates, the more refined the results will be
  • Align recruitment goals with corporate goals and initiatives
  • Establish a recruitment process including high-level stages, handovers, descriptions and key deliverables for each process
  • Identify the best channels for recruitment such as employee referrals, available lists/sourcing partners, and most effective social media outlets for sourcing candidates based on actual data
  • Establish ‘Best Practice Resources’ and share with the team

2. Not Selling the Brand

Today’s job seekers, particularly the up and coming generation of millennials, aren’t just looking for any odd job; they’re looking for a shared vision. And in this rapidly moving digital age, job seekers will move on if your brand doesn’t hold their attention.

It’s critical for recruiters to catch — and maintain — a potential applicant’s interest by communicating an attractive, informative, and enticing message. Give candidates a reason to want to connect with your brand and strive to be part of it.

With mindful execution, social media becomes a recruitment and marketing tool for both active and passive candidate recruiting. Here are some tips to help sell your corporate brand to candidates:

  • Leverage existing proof points – share industry awards, videos of current employees, brand and culture messages on the site, and customer success stories describing how your organization has helped them. Have these ready to drop into an email, InMail post or present during a face-to-face meeting
  • Share personal stories that convey your corporate culture and insights about what it’s like to work for your company. These stories can be something that happened to you at work, sharing a story about a colleague who went above and beyond for you, etc. – ensuring your stories accurately reflects your culture and brand
  • Go beyond the requisition, which are often bland. Would you want to work for a company if all you saw was the requisition? Paint a picture of what it would be like working in that role – what the day looks like, what the projects are, and who you’re working with

3. Failure to Focus on the Relationship

Just because a job applicant isn’t the right fit for a particular job doesn’t mean there’s no long-term potential. The best recruiters know that relationship building is an essential part of the hiring process.

For example, failure to return phone calls or provide feedback to candidates during the application process is not only inconsiderate, but can have exponential effects, particularly if that candidate shares a negative experience via social media.

By creating and nurturing social connections, recruiters ensure that candidates are primed and ready should the right opportunity eventually arise. Talent management solutions offer invaluable help in tracking potential employees across an organization and throughout the comprehensive cycle.

So what can recruiters do to build long-term relationships with candidates who may not be a current fit?

  • Be honest. Let candidates know why they didn’t move on in the process, and why the role wasn’t a fit – and let them know promptly
  • Offer advice to the candidate. If you see mistakes or details that raise flags on their LinkedIn profile, let them know. Point them to additional sources for appropriate roles. Helping others comes back to you in spades, just like in most other areas of life
  • Keep in touch. Send an email periodically asking if they have a new role, are still looking, etc. and make note of the answers. If personal emails aren’t a possibility, send a useful article once a quarter as a way to reach out and continue to foster the relationship

It’s a brave new world when it comes to hiring practices, but unprecedented results are within reach for those who stick to winning strategies and avoid these potentially costly mistakes.

About the Guest Author:

Anand Deshpande is on the frontline of customer success at WittyParrot, working directly with clients to ensure smooth onboarding, ramp up and account management. He has an intimate knowledge of WittyParrot as a solution and uses that to help clients in strategy and implementation. Anand is a graduate of Emory University and has been with WittyParrot for over a year. His previous experience includes sustainability and brand consulting for a variety of companies including HRO and Oil and Gas companies. He has a history of working with diverse teams to create solutions to complex issues and enjoys bringing that background to the team.

8 Ways Marketers Are Being Heard In 2015

by Steve Olenski

One of the core challenges of marketing is what key information to present and how to do so effectively. Consumers literally have the entire world at their fingertips and as a result, there’s a considerable amount of marketing noise. With so much information streaming at a near constant, new and innovative methods of engaging users are crucial to establishing a unique voice over the chatter. To ensure they’re being heard, many businesses are utilizing the following eight marketing practices.

1. Going Mobile

No, I am not going to say 2015 or 2016 or any other year is the year of mobile. So now worries, there. However, it’s estimated that consumers spend almost 2.8 hours a day on mobile devices. With this comes big opportunity for marketers to engage their audience and in 2015, it’s become a downright necessity to re-contextualize business endeavors and situate them in the mobile space. From phones, to tablets, to wearable tech, companies are refactoring their efforts to maintain fluid marketing channels.

2.Visual Storytelling

A prominent trend in the world of marketing is visual storytelling. By making use of videos and infographics, marketers can visually convey their brand, philosophy, and objectives in a manner that is not only aesthetically pleasing but one that taps into the hearts and minds of their audience. Going into 2015, approximately 70% of marketers planned to boost their use of original visual assets. As we approach 2016, things don’t appear to be slowing down.

3. Blogs

For a long time, blogs have served as a great way to occupy a piece of digital real estate. They’re free, anyone can sign up, and they’re beautifully simple. Whether you’re a chef or a software developer, a blog can serve as an effective platform to broadcast expertise. Blogs are so enticing that each month around 329 million people read them. What’s this mean for businesses? You guessed it again: opportunity. Even Fortune 500 companies have jumped on the bandwagon, with 34% of them maintaining active blog accounts.

4. Content Marketing

A sound product or an innovative service are fine and well but consumers want to feel like they can trust the brands they love. Roughly 70% of polled consumers stated that they prefer to learn about a company through articles rather than standard advertisements. With over $100 billion dollars invested in content marketing this year, you can sure count on more videos, infographics, articles, and eBooks.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media is now an installment of our culture and it’s one of the most effective ways a brand can engage their audience. The sheer volume of users provides a direct channel into prospective customers and it offers the chance for brands to employ the marketing trends discussed thus far. That’s why it’s estimated that marketers will drop close to $8.3 billion on social media marketing assets by the close of 2015.

6. Automation

Successful marketing requires not only high-quality content, but also punctuality. Consumers want and expect to be engaged on a regular, timely basis, and on the customer service side, you want to be able to address every customer complaint or question as soon as possible.

Although many think that there is no beating the personal touch when it comes to interactions on social media, these naysayers are behind the times – there’s actually an extremely strong case for automating social media practices. By using a software like Oracle Eloqua (note: my employer), you can easily cover every channel when you release a campaign, improve data collection, and increase your brand presence through shares and customer word-of-mouth.

7. Internal Communication

Communication is vital and there’s been a major push to ensure that the minds behind marketing campaigns are on all on the same page. By investing in streamline internal communication systems, employees are becoming more knowledgeable, more efficient, and more equipped to address work obstacles. As a result, they have evolved from representatives into robust “brand ambassadors”, backed by a fully-equipped and uniformly educated support system.

8. CRO

In order to maximize on marketing efforts, improving the user experience should be at the forefront of a brand’s priorities. That’s why they’re emphasizing conversion rate optimization (CRO) methods. By combining analytics and the user feedback, businesses can can monitor their online traffic, implement necessary marketing changes, and ensure that their online traffic converts to customers. One proven conversion tactic relates to the content marketing directly. With 25% of Americans watching online videos each day, 73% of them are more likely to make purchases after watching a video.

As technology advances and we hurdle closer and closer towards 2016, don’t be surprised if these trends become even more prominent. While it is true that the fundamentals of marketing are constant, the rate at which they are expected has most definitely accelerated. If you’re a business and looking to keep up, let these trends aid your momentum.

*This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.


Steve OlenskiSteve Olenski was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. Steve is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book “StumbleUpon For Dummies.” He can be reached via LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter @steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.