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Posts Tagged ‘metrics’

Nine Rules of Engagement… Marketing

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Long before the social web, people would get to know those who they did business with on a personal level. Now we have built Customer Relationship Management systems so that we have some understanding of who our customers are, how often we are talking to them, what products they are interested in, etc. to help us manage customer service and automate sales and marketing. This has not changed the fundamental truth that,

“People do business with people they know, like and trust.”

~Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD

By engaging our communities through face-to-face experiences and the social web, we have a new opportunity to reconnect our brands with the people we do business with. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Don’t focus so much on Second Life that you forget people have a “first life”

My 14-year-old son was talking to his best friend about “leveling” his character while playing World of Warcraft. I asked them what level they were in real life. A deeply philosophical discussion ensued, and then, for the rest of the afternoon, they played with each other outside.

In all the buzz about social media and web 2.0, we seem to be forgetting that the most important interactions take place in person. Make sure you allow opportunities for people to experience your brand in person. This is what builds real relationships.

2. Experience Matters

I saw John Mayer perform at a BlackBerry event in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. There were some folks in the audience that were so focused on taking pictures of the concert with their mobile devices to share with their friends, they seemed to forget that there was a special experience happening that was just for them.

Without experiences we would have nothing to share on blogs, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and the like. Engage your audiences face-to-face in a meaningful way, and they will become your brand advocates, both on and offline.

3. Its Not About You

While I was at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, I was amazed at the inward focus most of the leading consumer electronics companies had about their brands. Some products were larger, some were faster, some were better looking, but at the end of the day, it was all about them.

It reminded me of a band of gorillas standing around and beating their chests in the hopes of attracting a mate.For face-to-face experiences to be successful, they need to be customer-centric among other things. The same holds true for engagement online. Think of your most successful personal relationships. No one likes to hang around people who talk about themselves all the time.

4. Engagement Marketing Hasn’t Driven a Single Sale…

…its influenced millions of them. According to Forrester Research, the traditional sales funnel has radically evolved from awareness, consideration, preference, action and loyalty, to a maze of recommendations from friends, peer reviews, competitive alternatives and user-generated content resulting in both buyers and contributors.

Make sure your legacy linear marketing and sales models reflect this, and adjust as necessary. How are you influencing both contributors and potential buyers in the sales process? Marketing and sales efforts need to be community-focused. This is true for both face-to-face and online interactions.

5. Engagement is Even More Important After the Sale

According to Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company,

  • “Businesses may lose as many as 1/2 of their customers over a 5 year period.
  • “Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer.”
  • “Businesses who boosted customer retention rates by as little as 5% saw increases in their profits ranging from 5% to a whopping 95%.” 

Make sure you balance your face-to-face and online marketing activities to address everyone in your community all the time. This includes influencers, suspects, prospects, customers and brand advocates.

6. Engagement is an Ongoing Conversation

Earlier this week, I was reviewing the social media presence of some of the world’s largest brands. Some of which have been my clients, and some have not. I was interested to find that many had set up FaceBook Pages, Twitter profiles and the like, but have long since abandoned them. Instead, the communities have taken over and driven the conversation, sometimes in a very unfavorable way to the brand.

You wouldn’t open a restaurant or retail store, or set up a tradeshow and not show up. Why behave that way online? Have we learned nothing from Dell Hell and the Comcast technician asleep on the couch? Listen, and participate in the conversation.

7. Mobility Brings the Conversation Full Circle

In the beginning, there were face-to-face interactions with a brand. Then these face-to-face interactions would drive further community engagement online. Mobile engagement takes place at the same time everywhere. You can be having a face-to-face experience while you are engaging your mobile and online communities. A person can truly be in more than one place at once!

The opportunities and potential for the integration of mobility, online and face-to-face marketing are boundless. Consider tapping into the power of mobility and integrating it into your engagement plan.

8.“What We Do in Life, Echoes in Eternity…”

~Maximus, Gladiator - (I loved that movie) …or as Forrester puts it,

“what brands do offline echoes online.”

Long before there were mobile devices, computers, or even telephones, people would have a brand experience, either positive or negative, in person. This would influence their perception of a brand. Sometimes, they would share this experience with their friends which would in turn influence them. According to Jack Trout,

“Marketing is not a battle of products. It’s a battle of perceptions.”

A study conducted by the Event Marketing Institute found,

  • 98% of people will recommend your brand after a positive experience(50% will tell at least 4 people)
  • 95% will trash you based on a negative experience(62% telling at least 4 people)

Create a strategy that integrates your face-to-face activities with online and mobile activities. Helping to facilitate the conversation across your marketing portfolio, or before, during and after an event will ensure your investment has reach well beyond the original point in time of the event, creating a ripple effect. This long tail will not only help foster new acquaintances, but build deeper relationships.

9. Measurement is critical to continuous improvement and ongoing success

As marketers, we’ve been searching for the end of the rainbow for some time now. Understanding the optimal number, frequency, cadence and type of tactics helps us improve our art and our science. Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer writes,

“The problem with trying to determine ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.” 

I understand Jason’s point, but would add human interactions and conversations are quantifiable to a point. We can quantify number of engagements, and through the application of semantic technologies, we can understand whether these engagements were positive or negative, but social media alone does not provide ROI.

Events on the other hand are quite measurable. In a recent BrandWeek article, the latest EventView study was discussed. Twenty-six percent of survey respondents said event marketing is the discipline that drives the greatest return-on-investment.

By combining social media and face-to-face strategies and measuring the relationship between the two, we can understand how engagement marketing moves the ROI needle. Monetize portfolios and campaigns, not just individual tactics, and we’ll get closer to finding the end of that rainbow.

Wearing Ten Hats? Can’t Decide Which to Put on Next? Read This.

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Going into 2009, we all are looking for good ways to plan next year’s marketing campaigns. Determining your top priorities is a big challenge when you do this planning. Fortunately, prioritizing your marketing campaigns can be done in less time if you follow a brief set of guidelines.  

Judah Phillips, in an insightful post at Web Analytics Demystified, asserts that the primary criteria for prioritizing web analytics work is: “Is revenue at risk?” Analytics in support of revenue-generating tasks has to be at the top of your list, so when deciding what information you need right now, ask yourself first if any revenue will be at risk if the task is not completed.

This method works equally well for other aspects of your marketing work. Karen Gedney, writing at Click-Z, echoes this viewpoint for email programs. She suggests that, when setting priorities for an email marketing campaign, make sure that everything you spend generates revenue, “and your marketing priorities will arrange themselves.”

If you’re at a small to midsize organization and wear multiple hats, setting priorities is more complex. You may have several priorities on your plate, all of which are revenue-generating. If you sit down at your desk in the morning and have to choose whether to make email, PPC campaigns, social media, PR, analytics, or designing a print ad a priority today, what do you do? The scores of you marketers at start-ups, non-profits, and other organizations where wearing five hats is the norm know what I mean. The more varied the range of tasks you need to prioritize, the more criteria you need to use to determine your top priorities.

Here are five tips for setting priorities in a multi-faceted marketing practice:

  • At least half of what you do in a given week needs to be customer-facing. That means focusing on getting your email campaigns out, tweaking your PPC ads, drafting those print ads, and writing those white papers. You are in the business of communicating your company’s or organization’s message to your clients, and all your work needs to focus on that goal. You may have a lot of work to do that is internal to your company or department, but you must keep the primary focus of your department, namely, communication with customers, in mind.
  •  Do whatever absolutely needs to happen every week first. If you always send out an e-newsletter, work on that early in the week. If a print ad needs to go out by Tuesday, make sure it’s done by the week before. Optional activities, like adding materials to your social media campaigns, will need to be done later in the week. Otherwise, you are always playing catch-up.
  • “Will this shake things up?” At least one thing you do this year should.
  • Incorporate metrics into everything do in such a way that it seldom becomes a part of your to-do list on its own. Part of every email campaign is to check your metrics the evening of day the campaign goes out, and then again one week afterwards. Every morning, you need to watch your web traffic. Every day, you need to see how your PPC campaigns are performing. If you make measurement a part of the whole in everything you do, it isn’t an onerous separate task you need to schedule. This makes scheduling and prioritizing that much more straightforward.
  • Do one thing you really like every day, and one thing that is relatively dull. Don’t schedule all dull days, or you will start to get burnout. At the end of a day doing your least favorite thing, write an article, or design an ad. (Or insert your favorite task here).

Organizing all the tasks before you can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite a doable process. Setting your top marketing priorities can be one of the most useful things you can do towards the end of the year. It’s an ongoing process, as well, especially when you are wearing a lot of hats. Thus, starting out with a good list of priorities will pay off throughout 2009.

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Christina Inge is the marketing manager for Spinwave Systems, a Westford-based tech company specializing in energy management solutions. She also serves as marketing and public relations coordinator for the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell. She has over ten years’ experience in communications for both B2C and B2B audiences.


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The views and opinions on this blog are solely those of the contributors and do NOT necessarily reflect the official opinions of the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association.