Author Archives: John

Shouldn’t we be talking about environments more and not just channels?

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From execution to engagement

To gain a competitive advantage wherever possible, we are constantly on the lookout for the latest technology and emerging trends to deliver against increasing customer expectations. We are busy predicting and preparing for the effects of augmented reality on the retail experience, instant messenger bots impacting the role of email and the growing applications of virtual reality to name a few. However, rather than jumping on how these can be executed to deliver campaigns, we should be taking the time to understand the environment a message is likely to be engaged in.

Where will the customer be? What are they doing? How will the message fit into their life at that moment? What value does it bring and why will they be receptive to receiving it?

Using these and the many more that surround them has become increasingly important for understanding customer behaviour, as the lines between what we have traditionally viewed as individual channels have blurred. A realisation beyond executing the same message for different devices that was first hit home for me by Tom Goodwin, then SVP of Strategy and Innovation for Havas, during a presentation on advertising for the post digital age.[1]

 

Customer behaviour

Our naming of each media form after the singular method for engaging with it has made channelisation unhelpful as it no longer reflects human behaviour; in particular our use of the infinite screens that are an accepted part of life.[2] We all enact this everyday when we reach for our smart phones to get an update on the news; catch-up on that TV show missed last night or browse what to do at the weekend whilst listening to our favourite radio show. Many of which we are quite likely to do at the same time, multi-tasking to win back more time in our day.

Despite the opportunities offered by this and the advancing functionality of smart devices making “mobiles probably the best canvas we’ve had for advertising, what we have tended to do is focus on it having a smaller screen and making things smaller.”[3] Instead, we should be uncovering insights on the environments our messages are engaged in and tailoring these to customer needs and preferences in that moment where possible.

 

The messaging

This is not to say doing so is easy, nor an impossible challenge either. Customer journeys are often unique, with many finding ways to engage with us that hours of planning couldn’t identify. However, we are still only talking about the marketing chronicle of the right message, at the right time, delivered using the right method and approach.

There needs to be a well-defined strategy from the beginning. A single proposition that defines the essence of who you are in an honest, short yet impactful way needs to be at the heart of all messages irrespective of when, where and how the communication is engaged with. Naturally, we prefer clarity through consistency so re-purposing this for different screens is not being responsive and only serves to confuse customers who have plenty of other choices to move on to.

Each communication, whilst supporting this proposition, needs to have customer experience expectations in its foundations. The best place to start is getting out of the office to observe and speak to them. Customers will show and tell you when and how they engage with messages, what information they are looking for and the influences on their journey to purchase. These findings can be built upon to form a bigger picture using purchase, registration and online browsing data.

As much as we love to help each other out and make life easier, the objective behind all of this is to intelligently trigger purchase behaviour. We already personalise the content we display on websites based upon what we know about the user’s previous activity. However, wouldn’t it be more effective if the smart phone they were browsing it on was recognised and located the customer in store? If research had indicated that customers often visit the website at this moment because they can’t find the item in person, this could be used to trigger the signage they are seeing to guide them or show similar in stock alternatives and/or accompanying items. If customers prefer and get the most enjoyment from engaging in person, don’t fall into the frequently triggered trap of driving people to an online end destination. Instead, use this online space to inform and enable experiences in the physical one.

 

How does this benefit the business?

As with all activity, it needs to solve a challenge or deliver against a need. These, whether they talk to attraction, conversion or retention, should tie into marketing objective/s that in turn feed into business ones.

The focus on providing customers with the best possible experience is because ultimately it is them who have final say on if a business succeeds and even prospers. Is there any better a reason as to why they should be the priority?

 

Measure and measure again

We have no idea about the results of our activity, the influences on these and whether the objectives have been achieved without carefully identifying and collecting key measurements. This is a very obvious given. There has also been a lot said about both in-house and agency marketers being more accountable for the ROI they drive and it is hard not to agree with this.

However, lets not throw out the high-level performance metrics just yet. The focus on dollars shouldn’t be at the expense of insights that reveal how, where and with what our customers want to engage.

Although this is made more complex by their not being a definitive approach to accessing specific information, they show what customers are interacting and spending the most time with and when. Revealing the content that gets the most interest, as well as that which doesn’t, provides a clearer understanding of what drives behaviour from a particular point in the purchase journey.

Going back to our chronicle, it allows us to predict and serve the right message at the right time, therefore creating a stronger likelihood of accommodating for the environment the customer is engaging with us in and their needs in it.

 

In summary

The behaviours for accessing information have changed thanks to the freedom brought to us by our smart phones and devices of the future. It has made us more demanding than ever as we expect our individual needs in that time and place to be instantly available. Whilst striving to make this access effortless through functionality like voice and gesture controls, we need to deliver value for the customer by listening to and providing what they want in that moment. It must support them in helping us achieve our objectives.

 

References:

[1] Tom Goodwin, Advertising for the post digital age, ADMA Global Forum, 11th August 2016.

[2] Goodwin, ADMA Global Forum, August 2016.

[3] Goodwin, ADMA Global Forum, August 2016.

Are you winning customer’s hearts with your brand?

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Customers are judging you on your appearance. It is to be the year of brand reputation, so will yours win their heart and conscience?

If there were to be one word to describe the world today it would be ‘connected’. We talk and share in ever increasing amounts from anywhere in the world. The laptops, smart phones and now even watches that allow us to do this have become part of everyday life as they serve our addiction to instant, real time information at our finger tips.

Unsurprisingly, this is influencing decision-making. It has given customers the power to see beyond the product feature and special offer messages to identify businesses and organisations that share the same values. So as marketers, how do we make sure a brand’s reputation is representative of the audience we want to talk to?

Be part of the club

Everyone likes to aspire, feel important and be part of something. There is no greater example of this than the glitz and glamour of what could previously be called the ‘elitist’ world. However, the doors to these once exclusive communities have been opened for all to see. This, and a change in social attitudes, has given rise to a new generation of consumers who no longer hold the same values in such esteem.

As a result, brands that once relied on these circles have to evolve to maintain their social status. Burberry, a leading luxury fashion brand with a worldwide heritage in the highest positions in society, has shown how this is done.

“No-body can combine fashion and music the way Burberry does…it’s a lifestyle we want to be part of. Something they engage us in and they get us.” “Tonight completely summed-up London life at the moment.”[1] These are remarks from two attendees of a Kaiser Chief concert in their flagship Regent Street, London store.[2] Burberry has embraced popular culture to be relevant to a new market of consumers with high purchasing power. It has become ‘one of us’ by sharing our interests and values whilst keeping to its heritage of being the choice of social influencers by teaming up with style icons ranging from musicians, actors and models to footballer’s sons. A social connection that is shared online for all to see and join.

Read more about Burberry’s digital customer experience

So whether you’re apart of a leading global brand such as Burberry, an SME in your city, or you’re building your own personal brand, it is critical that your brand reputation is representative of the audience you want to talk to.

Stay with us, as we will be discussing practical insights on how you can improve your band reputation to win your customer’s heart and conscious in upcoming articles.

Can’t wait any longer?

Check out our resources library and our digital services.

The Digital Customer Experience In The Retail Environment

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With a Smartphone in hand and the capability to seek the best deals and make a purchase with the click of a button, strategic shoppers have taken a liking to online shopping and adopted behaviours such as ‘showrooming’, where they browse products in store and use their mobile device to find a better deal and make the purchase. To combat this behaviour, retailers are fighting back by breaking down the barriers between the online and in-store shopping experience.

The digital in-store retail experience is evolving worldwide and will continue to grow in 2016. In store retailers are cashing in on digital engagement by immersing customers in an interactive shopping experience. Technologies such as virtual change rooms, touch screens and mobile beacons have emerged in popular stores such as Apple, Sephora and Woolworths. However it takes more than flashy digital hardware to effectively engage customers and drive big results. It is vital that customers are at the centre of the retail journey and the digital experience is built according to customer needs and motivations. If implemented correctly, retailers are able to extend the shopping experience and strengthen the brand-consumer relationship.

The use of beacon technology is a popular strategy retailers are implementing to provide location-based mobile communication with customers. Bluetooth enabled devices are being placed throughout stores and sending signals to smartphones that are within a small radius of the device. If a customers’ Bluetooth is turned off there is opportunity to send geo-fenced alerts that use GPS. Customers can then receive triggered messages with relevant product information, offers or rewards.

Beacons also enable contactless payments, where Radio frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC) allows credit/debit cards, smartphones or Apple watches to be held over a reader for payment. This capability is speeding up the checkout process and providing customers with the convenience they desire.

The Burberry Experience

After a 7-year transformation, Burberry have modernised their brand and seamlessly integrated their offline and online worlds to provide customers with a world-class experience. Most recently, Burberry has exceeded customer expectations with the customisation capabilities in their new scarf. The online and in-store scarf bar allows customers to design their own scarf with the choice of over 30 colours and patterns as well as personalised monograms. Additionally, many Burberry products are lined with RFID tags that when triggered, will launch a specific product video on the closest in store screen. When taken to a change room, the tag may trigger a runway video showcasing the item on a model.

These digital capabilities create new ways for customers to connect with a brand and it’s products, fulfilling desires and transforming the in-store customer experience.

 

 

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How to Optimise Your Personal LinkedIn Profile

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What is your online profile saying about you? 5 top tips for making sure your LinkedIn profile shows how you want to brand yourself on a professional level.

Never before has your personal online brand been so important. The ease at which it can be accessed makes it one of the most powerful tools you have at your smart phone finger tips; however when done wrongly it can have disastrous effects. It could be the difference between sealing a deal, getting that promotion you’ve been striving for or achieving your work related goals.

  1. A picture says 1000 words!

Always include a profile picture, and a professional one! A photo from your latest night out may have found memories for you but what does it say to that prospect you’ve been trying to convert for the last few months?

‘Your profile is 7 times more likely to be viewed if it has a professional picture and is great for remembering who’s who after networking events.’ (Forbes)

  1. Tell your professional story…but the right parts!

Your profile is your opportunity to show what drives you and how this can help your target audience. Demonstrate your reputation as a high achiever and why people should work with you by highlighting your key achievements for clients rather than including your entire CV.

These could be the key driver as to whether that key stakeholder chooses to return your call and build a relationship or not.

  1. Develop your credibility as a thought leader

Contribute! Position yourself as the expert by sharing high quality content that resonates with those you want to talk to. Post on your profile and in relevant groups to engage others and show why your knowledge and understanding of their needs and challenges makes you the person to do business with.

This will also gain your profile valuable exposure for attracting new connections.

  1. Looking to be found?

Like in search engines, LinkedIn members can find others of interest to them by searching relevant keywords and phrases. Optimise your profile’s headlines, summaries and career experience with keywords that you want to appear for. Don’t use too many though as after all, nobody likes a show-off.

The influence of LinkedIn profiles is also reflected by them making regular appearances in Google searches. Is there a bigger reason than this to make sure that you are high in Google’s rankings with the best? Wouldn’t you want to work with those at the top of their game?

  1. Include skills and advance with testimonials

LinkedIn allows you to note the skills that make you who you are in the business world and add weight to them through endorsements from those you have helped. With ever increasing connectivity across networks, a client’s endorsement could lead to a call from another sales target.

These are great but not as powerful as word of mouth. As a client praises your work, never forget to ask them to write you a testimonial detailing your successes for the next happy client to find.

 

Stay with us for our next articles as we show you how to create a winning company page.

See our article “How to grow your business with LinkedIn” and learn the first steps you should take to become a LinkedIn expert, increase your leads and boost your ROI.

Alternatively, please see our resources page or contact us

For monthly updates on our latest engaging ideas, best practices for business success and company updates subscribe to our newsletter

 

References

  1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/03/04/8-mistakes-you-should-never-make-on-linkedin/

The Power of Social Selling

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We cannot deny the fact that social media networks are taking over and are significantly influencing the sales process. In fact, 55% of all buyers do their research using social networks, while 70% of B2B buyers use social media to help with their purchase decisions(i).

Social media platforms have provided an array of information, where word-of-mouth marketing is commonly used and opinions are shared 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, between buyers around the world.

However, sharing information on social media is not only limited to interaction between customers. Successful marketers have innovatively taken advantage of this concept and are looking to capitalise on this change.

This – otherwise known as ‘social selling’.

Businesses are now innovating with ‘customer-centricity’ and optimising this with the power social selling. In B2B marketing, meaningful relationships with potential investors and clients are likely to begin with a LinkedIn connection.

“We’re seeing a critical mass of buyers. LinkedIn has over 313 million members and here in Australia we have over 6 million members. That’s north of 80% of Australian professionals.” – Mike Derezin (LinkedIn, Sales Solutions VP)

Consequently, the days of desks covered in business cards are long gone as LinkedIn has become the main source of information for B2B marketers. As a B2B marketer, in today’s competitive environment, you need to build a reputable LinkedIn presence for your business and individual profile to succeed. These profiles will leverage your ability to build trust with your potential buyer and position yourself as an industry expert.

As discussed in ‘The Trust Economy’, customers are influenced by their emotional needs when making buying decisions. This is why the value, familiarity and sense of attachment created over LinkedIn will provide you with new revenue opportunities that result in much more than a one time buyer.

 

Want to optimise the power of social selling for your business?

Stay with us as we show you how to optimise your LinkedIn presence on your personal and company page.

See our article “How to grow your business with LinkedIn” and learn the first steps you should take to become a LinkedIn expert, increase your leads and boost your ROI.

Alternatively please see our resources page or contact us.

 

References

  1. http://www.slideshare.net/ChuckMalcomson/15-inbound-sales-statistics?ref=http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/social-selling-stats-that-will-inspire-you

 

When does story telling not tell enough of the story?

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Consumers have always loved a good story. Brands that use storytelling generate some of the most recognizable and effective marketing campaigns. But where do we draw the line between a great story that generates exposure and a more obvious straight to the purpose piece of creative?

Let’s use arguably the biggest showcase of marketing creativity as an example. The marketing hysteria experienced in the build up to, and during the Super Bowl can be said to be just as enthralling as the world’s biggest sporting event itself. Millions of dollars are spent on seconds of space to be used to capture your attention.

As many watched the stories of two team’s seasons unfold, Budweiser approached the highly anticipated half time ads with a story of their own. The first chapter of this however began sometime before as news spread across social media and press of a missing puppy. The disappearance of this cute family member and updates on sightings were released via online video posts and tweets.

People shared the clues across Facebook, Twitter and blogs resulting in it soon becoming the most talked about Super Bowl ad. Everyone had prepared themselves for the big conclusion during Budweiser’s half-time TV spot. After the ad was shown, social media erupted with ‘26 per cent share of ad mentions online, compared to 9.8 per cent of its nearest rival.’[1]It was later labeled the most popular Super Bowl ad of all-time. The idea of blending community with technology excited consumers and triggered an emotional response, leading to a high exposure. But does this response make Budweiser’s large success with customer engagement a success or a failure?

Although Budweiser brought us refreshing high quality content which won the hearts of those worldwide, a study suggests that because ‘the campaign scored poorly for personal relevance, it failed to translate into memory and eventually value for the brand, shortcoming on long term memorability.’[2]

Unlike Budweiser, the McDonalds ad that was shown in the valuable seconds during the 2015 Super Bowl was perceived very poorly on social media, delivering messages that had previously been seen by showing a family environment in a McDonalds restaurant. The message was quite generic rather than creative. The reason McDonalds rarely stray from this is because they understand that there are objectives to be met and they can consistently achieve it with a brand-driven message being delivered. Even though it may come across boring and not stimulate discussion, the message is clear, and consumers can relate the message with the brand.

Although the high quality of Budweiser’s content won America over, in hindsight, do we really think this campaign will greatly impact beer-buying decisions later? We are interested in high quality content but this engagement may only lead to us becoming a fan of the ad rather than a customer of the brand. The relationship between Budweiser beer and the message of the “Lost Dog” are very detached and the product may be forgotten.

For marketing campaigns it is necessary to find a balance between high quality content that will reach many and generate exposure, and content that advertises the actual product enough to stay relevant and continue to drive sales. Would your customers prefer to engage with high quality content that deviates from your brand or prefer a consistent message that is brand-focused? The choice is yours.

[1] Unruly – http://unruly.co/news/article/2015/02/02/puppy-power-helps-budweiser-win-super-bowl-third-time-row/

[2] TNS-http://www.warc.com/LatestNews/News/Buds_Lost_Dog_doesnt_deliver.news?ID=34354