Tag Archives: ‘social media’

Giving marketing a rebrand- step 2

Last week’s post on giving marketing a rebrand coincided with a piece on a similar theme in Marketing Week and was picked up and included in their Storify.

I suggested that there are three steps marketers can take to raise their profile, credibility and effectiveness. Step 1 called on them to Fight The Fluff.

English: Oriental Magpie Robin മലയാളം: മണ്ണാത്...

Image via Wikipedia

In Step 2, I’m suggesting that marketers should Manage the Magpie.Some are afflicted by the desire for the latest shiny new thing, whether it’s the latest technology gadget, social media platform or marketing technique. With advances in technology disrupting many traditional business models, there’s no doubt it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in business, never mind marketing.

Yet for many, this excitement causes a common sense bypass! Some are blinded by the brightness of the new thing, whilst others jump onto the ‘me too’ bandwagon to seek the reassurance that if other/bigger/more interesting brands are doing something, so should we.

Expectations and excitement skyrocket as early successes from case studies (most likely from outside your sector and country, but don’t let details like that get in the way) start to emerge as ‘proof’ that the cynical doubters are wrong. But of course what goes up must come down and when the glitter fades and the post-hysteria hangover kicks in, you wake up in what Gartner call the ‘trough of disillusionment’.

Which is why, more than ever before, marketers need to be better at managing the magpie within themselves and others. They should make a focused, objective and dispassionate assessment before leaping in. Yes be curious. Absolutely be alert to changing trends. But always be asking ‘how will this improve the customer experience’.

To put an objective structure around your thinking, try the following

  1. build an informal, cross-functional group from sales, marketing and operations so that you can draw upon the wider experience in the business when a shiny new thing comes along
  2. get them to help you define at least three ways in which it will measurably improve the customer experience.
  3. the harder you find this, the easier the decision not to jump on

Do you look before you leap onto the latest shiny new bandwagon? How do you decide which new technologies to adopt and at what speed? Or maybe you work for a magpie and have some coping mechanisms to share here?

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Social Media Benchmark

I was one of about 250 marketers that attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing‘s launch of the Social Media Benchmark research at Bloomberg’s impressive offices in Finsbury Square this week.

This is the latest in a number of excellent research studies launched by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in recent years, led by Thomas Brown, Head of Insights at CIM.

Assembling an impressive panel of senior players from LinkedIn, YouTube and Skype, and hosted by Manus Cranny from Bloomberg TV, the audience were given a double-act walk through of the top-level findings by Thomas and Tara Beard-Knowland from ASI, Ipsos Mori.

The full report is due out in a few weeks but here are some of the headline statistics:

  • 80% of marketers know they need a social media strategy, yet only 7% are tracking the results
  • In 40-50% of businesses, marketing did not own the official channel for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (PR team seemed the other most common owner)
  • The number of marketers that rated their social media activities as ‘not at all effective’ was spread across a range: 24% (Twitter) 33% (Facebook) 37% (LinkedIn) 44% (YouTube).
  • Whilst about half of businesses surveyed planned to invest in training their current people to improve social media skills and competencies in 2012, about a quarter had no plans at all.

I look forward to poring over the detail when the report is published, but I left the event thinking that survey respondents are either:

  1. still in complete denial/ignorance of the importance of measuring the effectiveness of the tools they are using, and why (I believe this a broader issue than social media), OR
  2. they are unashamedly still in experimental mode, adopting the Google approach of “test and iterate” mentioned by Thomas in his closing summary

It’s hard to say for sure without the detailed findings, but I suspect there’s a bit of both.

However, with a social media landscape that continues to evolve and change almost daily, the important thing is that the CIM is leading the debate from centre stage.

Thank you and well done.

Social Media Awards Prediction: O2 Santa

It’s great to end the year with a brilliant social media campaign courtesy of the guys at O2 and Hope & Glory.

I first saw this via a tweet from @mashbusiness:

For those of you not familiar with the campaign, I’ll let the O2 Santa explain here:

It looks like almost 1,000 videos were personalised within the week-long campaign, and I can’t wait to see the stats on the total number of views, shares and retweets this created.

Having had my own personalised video recorded to convince my childhood best friend that Santa really does exist, I can say that this was an excellent piece of work, brilliantly executed:

Within 24 hours I had received a tweet telling me that my video was ready for viewing.

Personalisation + Social interaction + Seasonal appeal= [surely] award-winning campaign.

Well done to all involved.

Sage: Trade Show Marketing how it should be done

I was at the Business Start-Up Show recently, a trade show with seminars and over 300 exhibitors targeting the small and start-up business market. I stopped by a number of stands that day, and although I was there as a ‘punter’, I couldn’t help but keep putting my B2B Marketing hat back on to critique their performance.

One business that stood out as the most impressive that day has to be Sage. As you’ll see below, from a delegate perspective they were excellent, but as a B2B Marketer myself, you could tell they had a clear and structured plan for engaging with their audience before, during and after the show:

Before:

I had pre-registered for the Business Planning Workshop that Sage were running as part of the extensive seminar programme. I was booked onto the 10.30am slot, on the first day of the show.

I got to Earls Court early, but had to take a phone call that I didn’t want to take in a queue of people, so was only able to join the substantial queue at 09.45, with doors opening at 10.00.

By about 10.15 it became clear that the queue wasn’t moving (except in length) and I was hoping that someone inside was listening when I tweeted:

Clearly, the marketing team at Sage were geared up for engaging with customers and prospects, and tweeted back, which started a conversation with the brand before I had even got into the building.

Fortunately, soon after, common sense prevailed and the organisers started letting pre-registered delegates through en masse without signing-in. I managed to get through to the Sage stand where I was met with a friendly smile and a member of staff that personally escorted me to the Business Planning Workshop, which was about to commence.

During:

The workshop was very useful, and with free planning software as a giveaway, I definitely wanted to find out more about what Sage offered as I had traditionally associated them with accounting software.

Their exhibition space was well laid out, open and inviting. There were well signposted zones for information on various product types, and I found the people friendly, knowledgeable and engaging.

Sage stand at Business Start Up 2011, Earls CourtSage stand at Business Start Up 2011, Earls Court (2)I received a demo on Sage Act! from a member of staff who was extremely patient as he ran through the demo and answered my questions.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world to push for a sale, after a 40 minute demo, but it felt to me like the strategy for the day was engagement and lead generation. I happily gave my contact details and agreed to receive a follow-up.

After visiting maybe a dozen or so other stands (and walking past all others), most appeared to lack any kind of clear strategy.

So impressed was I with my Sage experience, that on the way out, I tweeted the following, which was amplified across the business show audience by 6 retweets:

After:

A day or two later, I got a follow-up email from someone introducing themselves as my account manager, with their contact details should I have any other questions.

A couple of weeks on, I received the attached follow-up email to invite me to a webinar, the creative linking back to the exhibition and signposting a discount offer unique to attendees of the show.

Screen grab of Sage email follow-up, including show-specific discount offer

I signed up for the webinar, and had another demo today. For me, the picture is complete and I now have all the information I need and will be buying Sage Act! at some point soon.

Get a life! Why are you reviewing a trade show?!

All too often in my experience, exhibitions are criticised as a waste of money, time or both. From what I saw on the day, I’m sure for many exhibitors this was true.

However, as Sage have shown, the key to successful exhibition marketing is to have a strategy for engaging with your customers and prospects Before, During and After the show, exhibition or event.

Well done Sage, and thanks for supplying the photos of the exhibition stand and agreeing for their use in this post.

What do you think? Are you in sales or marketing and have any trade show marketing tips to share? How does your business maximise the return on investment from trade shows? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thinking about B2B Social Media? Dot your i’s first.

I hear a lot of people ask about the relevance of social media in B2B Marketing. Normally these questions follow presentations by industry  commentators that have contained high-profile, consumer examples of brands that have successfully engaged with their customers through these channels.

B2B businesses, whatever their size, need to answer some basic questions before they decide to jump in. This is by no means exhaustive, but there are three important i’s that need to be dotted before you even think about embarking on a programme:

insight– who in your target audience is using social media, how and how often? Are your competitors there? How are they using it? What sort of conversations are taking place? In what tone? Can you answer any questions being asked? Are people discussing problems or issues that you can help with? If so, then think about joining in the discussion, but do not sell- you need to build trust and respect first.

investment– although many of the social media tools available are ‘free’ in monetary terms, you will still need to make an investment in time and energy to take part in the communities which interest you. Although tools such as TweetDeck allow you to schedule twitter updates to be sent during the day automatically, don’t over-use this. Make sure you balance them with timely ‘human’ contributions throughout the day.

integration– how well do social media activities ‘fit’ alongside your other marketing activities? Are your staff online? Do you have subject matter experts within the business that can write compelling content to share with your customers and prospects via blogs and other online communities? One size rarely fits all, so consider the mix of communications you will employ and their respective impact on lead flow and sales before putting all of your eggs in the social media basket.

If you’ve dotted these three i’s and feel you’re ready to go, please make sure you review this excellent list of 10 considerations from Mack Collier first. Although ‘Social Media Policy’ sounds scary and corporate, these are common sense and practical considerations that you’ll ignore at your peril.

“Old school” Customer Service

Well, following my last post I’m pleased to say that NatWest came good. I confess I adopted a ‘belt and braces’ approach and sent a letter to my branch with a copy of my blog post attached (old school).

Now maybe the snail mail chain will catch up and enlighten me as to who/how/when this was picked up but at least the issue is now resolved.

 

Digital- hype or high potential?

I was delighted to be asked to join a panel discussion on a recent CIM Webcast earlier this month entitled “Digital- what hasn’t happened yet- the shape of digital to come?’

Moderated by Thomas Brown, Head of Insights for CIM, the panel consisted of Mark Stuart, Head of Research for CIM, Mark Inskip, Digital Director EMEA, Accenture, and myself in the guise of a B2B Marketing practitioner.

The webcast can be accessed from this link, hosted by Thomson Reuters http://tinyurl.com/33xpsvq.

Whilst there’s no doubt that the online environment will continue to evolve at pace, there are some basic questions that any business needs to ask itself before embarking on a digital engagement programme:

1. Do I have a detailed profile of my ‘ideal’ customer[s]? 

If not, build one and make it personal- give them a name and refer to them in internal meetings and agency briefings.

2. Do I understand the media consumption habits of my ideal customer?

Do I know what they read, where they read it, and how they read it? Are they online? How much, and for what purpose? Which sites and/or social networking platforms do they use, and why?

3. Does my product/service really lend itself to using these new channels for communication and engagement with my target audience?

 I love this cartoon by Tom Fishburne http://tinyurl.com/39m5t9v which I believe should be compulsory viewing for everyone thinking about embarking on a social media journey.

This by no means exhaustive, but unless you answer ‘yes’ to every question, you should stop and reconsider.