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Archive: May 2014

  1. Three Things Digital-Savvy CMOs Are Doing Different

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     by Ayaz Nanji:

    Two-thirds of CMOs report that they’re not ready to cope with social media, and 82% say they feel unprepared to deal with Big Data, according to a recent report from IBM’s Institute for Business Value.

    The study, based on interviews with 524 chief marketing officers around the world, also found that most respondents have not implemented various complex digital strategies: For example, just 20% say they are collaborating with customers on social media to a large extent, and only 13% are heavily using advanced analytics to capture customer insight across all touchpoints.

    However, not all marketers are having the same struggles with digital. In the course of its research, IBM found that the CMOs surveyed fall into three broad categories: 37% are “Traditionalists,” who feel overwhelmed by the new technologies; 33% are “Social Strategists,” who have mastered core digital strategies but not more complex ones; and 30% are “Digital Pacesetters,” who are using (or are prepared to use) advanced strategies.

    That last group of marketers is helping their enterprises significantly: 43% of Digital Pacesetter companies outperform their peers financially, compared with just 25% of Traditionalist companies.

    So what are these digitally savvy CMOs doing different? IBM found they are excelling in three core areas: using data analytics to get a deeper understanding of customers; establishing strong relationships with consumers via digital channels; and integrating new technologies into their enterprises smartly and efficiently.

    Below, data and findings from the report covering each of these three key areas.

    Data Analytics

    • Digital Pacesetter CMOs are up to 26% more likely to have made significant investments in capturing and analyzing data compared with Traditionalist or Social Strategist CMOs.
    • Digital Pacesetter CMOs have also done a better job combining and integrating data from both internal and external sources: 66% say they have done so, compared with 37% of Social Strategists and 25% of Traditionalists.

    • Not surprisingly, those investments have led to better customer insights: 56% of Digital Pacesetters say they understand their customers, compared with 30% of Social Strategists and 19% of Traditionalists.

    Customer Experiences

    • Digital Pacesetters concentrate more on establishing relationships with customers on digital channels rather than immediately selling products. They also foresee those bonds becoming even more important in the future: 82% expect digital channels to play a bigger role in their interactions with customers in the next 3-5 years, compared with 64% of Traditionalists and 76% of Social Strategists.
    • Digital Pacesetters are also more likely to already be collaborating with customers on digital channels than are other CMOs.

    Enterprise Integration

    • Digital Pacesetters and Social Strategists have made far more headway in implementing integrated physical-digital strategies than Traditionalists (50% and 48% have done so, respectively, compared with 16%).
    • Digital Pacesetters are also much better equipped to conduct business via any device (58% say they can do so, compared with 38% of Social Strategist CMOs and 21% of Traditionalist CMOs).

    About the research: The report was based on data from interviews with 524 global CMOs conducted between February and June 2013.

  2. Growth-Hack Your Business With $0

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    by Chris Kilbourn:

    Budgets are marketing’s biggest myth. The idea is innocent enough: Companies will dedicate a conservative sum of money to user acquisition and customer retention. But here’s the thing. If you’re running your marketing programs right, your budget shouldn’t even matter. It should be uncapped.

    Keep in mind that we don’t encourage business owners to go out and spend $1 million overnight. That would be insane. What we’re saying is that it’s possible to scale your marketing budget—i.e., starting with a small spend and building it up incrementally.

    That growth-hacking process takes rigorous discipline. Start with a test, measure results, and scale up in areas when you are successful. And it’s possible to start this process with $0. You need to focus your time on actions that generate an ROI, even if you’re not spending money.

    Get started immediately with the following four critical tips.

    1. Stop wasting conversions

    Traffic acquisition is only half the equation. Once your visitors are on your website, you need to make sure that you’re maximizing your conversion opportunities. That means targeting visitors with the right marketing message, at the right time.

    For instance, your blog readers may not be ready to spend money. So offer them a free trial or free content instead. At our blog at Fit Marketing, we offer a free e-book that helps move prospects down the sales conversion funnel. The goal is to help prospects see the expertise of our team and build trust with our brand.

    What’s important to keep in mind is that today’s consumers are entirely self-directed. By the time they get in touch with your sales teams and customer service reps, they’re more than halfway through the process of forming a mental commitment.

    The best way to increase conversion opportunities is to provide buyers with the information they need to make an educated decision. Every missed connection is a missed chance at a sale.

    2. Quit making customers jump through hoops

    Forms, shopping carts, and everything in between should be simple, straightforward, and quick. People have limited attention spans. One minute they’re shopping, and the next? They’re watching cat memes while trapped in a downward Facebook spiral.

    So, building on point No. 1, the biggest barrier to growth is a convoluted conversion process.

    It’s a perspective that Wealthfront’s VP of growth, Elliot Schmukler, champions. Last May, he spoke at the Growth Hackers Conference in San Francisco about his previous experience building LinkedIn’s growth strategy. His core message? “Reduce friction.”

    Make it unbelievably easy for your users to opt-in. Literally, keep it to one click. For inspiration, here is LinkedIn’s campaign manager. You can get started running ads in just a few steps.

    Keep in mind that we live in a cross-device world; that is, buyers browse your website via desktop and mobile. When people are on their phones, the last thing they want to do is spend time fumbling with a form. Especially for cross-platform users, you need to keep friction to a minimum by making sign-up processes as short as possible. Ask only for what you need. The rest, you can get later.

    3. Contact new prospects one-to-one

    Reach out to your first few hundred customers manually. It’s exhausting. It’s boring. Sometimes, it’s even mind-numbing. Whatever you’re feeling, push through it. One-to-one relationships are the lifeblood of your growth strategy.

    Don’t just spray spam email and pray you’ll get conversions. Be very thoughtful about how you reach out to prospects. Research blog posts that they’re writing, communities they’re a part of, and contacts you share in common.

    Stick with it. Don’t give up. Power through the non-responses and the “no thank yous” until you finally get a “yes.”

    This will be an incredible learning process. The more you understand your customers, the more you can customize your marketing programs to their specific needs. The key to succeeding with one-to-one connections with prospects is to listen more than you talk. Approach the conversations with a blank slate, and let your customers guide you.

    4. Make some friends

    Partner ecosystems are invaluable frameworks for driving growth. The idea is simple: There are complementary apps and products out there with larger audiences than yours. You should be knocking on those companies’ doors.

    Integration partnerships are symbiotic relationships. Your service and those of your partners will function as complements to one another. Start with the needs of your customers and work backward to find complementary partnerships.

    For inspiration, take a look at Speak2Leads, a lead-response app for sales teams. The company aims to reach an audience of small business owners. So, it’s partnered with marketing automation platform Infusionsoft. Here is a snapshot of Speak2Leads in Infusionsoft’s app marketplace:

    Speak2Leads drives its company’s growth by partnering with CRMs that already have an established customer base. The goal is to add value to an existing network for distribution.

    (A final thought) Get creative and collaborative

    Growth-hacking is a blended discipline of biz dev, engineering, and marketing. See how the pieces fit together to best harness the existing assets of your business. Growth-hacking is an art. Find inspiration anywhere, and don’t be afraid to explore.

  3. Top 10 Tips for Using a Celebrity Spokesperson

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    by Darcy Bouzeos:

    We live in a celebrity-obsessed world. People and US Weekly magazines dominate newsstands while Access Hollywood and E! fill our screens with nonstop celebrity news.

    No wonder, then, that spokespersons are used to promote events, increase product sales, and generate publicity for marketing programs.

    As you plan your next marketing effort, keep in mind these top 10 tips for using a spokesperson.

    1. Choose what type of spokesperson is best for your marketing campaign

    Spokespersons typically fall into three categories:

    1. Celebrities: TV and film stars, musicians, comedians
    2. Athletes: Current and former professional athletes, broadcasters, Olympians
    3. Experts: Home design, fitness, nutrition, financial, relationship, lifestyle, medical, fashion, parenting, travel, etc.
    Depending on your brand strategy, one or all of these could be a good fit. Look at your product messaging and company values to determine the ideal spokesperson for your audience.

    2. Understand what a celebrity spokesperson can do for your marketing efforts

    • Draw traffic. A well-known and respected celebrity will serve as a draw to your event or product. Hall of Fame star Ronnie Lott of the San Francisco 49ers attracted attendees to a recent Genentech corporate event with his keynote speech and autograph-signing.
    • Attract the media. The right spokesperson will naturally attract media coverage. Intuit, in only in the middle of an eight-month program marketing program (“Small Business Big Game”) with Bill Rancic (entrepreneur, author, season one winner of “The Apprentice, and reality television star of Giuliana and Bill), had already generated over 8 billion media impressions.
    • Inform and influence. Celebrities with a connection to a health issue or illness are helpful in educating and informing the public. For a health-related marketing program, we secured actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose father suffered from Parkinson’s; she was a terrific ambassador to communicate key message points.

    3. Be specific about the services requested of the spokesperson

    Services may include national media interviews, a satellite media tour, a multi-city tour, personal appearances, a keynote speech, social media posts, blogs posts, and use of name and likeness on a website. The formal offer to the spokesperson must include ALL the services requested of that person.

    4. Be realistic about what your budget will buy

    Unrealistic expectations are the biggest challenge in the spokesperson process.

    Popular celebrities, such as Sofia Vergara, require $150,000+ for a personal appearance, yet reality stars can command just $7,500. Some well-known experts, such as Chef Curtis Stone, receives approximately $75,000 for a satellite media tour, but a lesser-known expert can be retained for $15,000. Before you promise the world to a client, it’s essential to know the market and costs to manage their expectations.

    5. Book three to four months in advance

    TV shows are canceled, athletes are injured, and who is “hot” can change. Three to four months is usually the appropriate time period to secure a spokesperson. But do not fret if you have less time; a spokesperson can be secured within weeks and even days. (DLB secured supermodel Chrissy Teigen within 12 days for a Campari Liquor red-carpet event.)

    6. Understand your commitment

    Once an offer is extended to a spokesperson and it is formally accepted, a legally binding agreement is established with the spokesperson. If you cancel or change the elements of the program, you will be responsible for the spokesperson fee. That provision is standard in the industry, and it is important to understand before you make a commitment.

    7. Spokespersons will charge a nonprofit

    Most celebrities have their own pet causes or foundations. Some spokespersons will reduce their fees for a nonprofit, but usually only if no corporate entity is aligned with the program. We have worked on a series of educational healthcare videos, and all 75 celebrity participants charged a reduced fee because of the educational component.

    8. Include travel and other expenses in your calculations

    Spokespersons will require airfare (often first class), hotel accommodations, and ground transportation to and from all airports and venue sites in addition to a per diem (which is a daily fee for meals and incidentals). In many instances, hair and makeup expenses will be also be required. With the top Hollywood celebrities, that can range upwards of $3,000, so we recommended to always cap this expense.

    9. Use a professional firm to recommend and secure your spokesperson

    Speaker bureaus and talent agencies (such as William Morris Endeavor or CAA) can recommend only their exclusive clients. Since the talent agency works for the talent, its job is to obtain the most amount of money for the least amount of service. That is opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. A celebrity procurement firm works for you, not the talent, and it has access to potentially all celebrities, athletes, and experts. A procurement firm can recommend the best spokesperson for your program and provide guidance on the spokesperson’s fee to ensure you do not overpay.

    10. Don’t shoot the messenger

    When a firm tells you that you cannot secure Melissa McCarthy for $20,000 for your mall event, please believe the firm.

  4. Content Management Essentials: Strategy and Reuse

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     by Ford Kanzler:

    In many business sectors, marketing to people who are important to your business is all about teaching them and helping them to keep up with rapid change.

    You’re often dealing with a community of eager learners. Business content, to be useful, must be informative, not promotional. You receive the marketing benefit by just putting out great content that people consume.

    The specific topics of that content of course vary by company and market sector. So, when planning content development, get inside your audience’s head. Ask question such as…

    • What do people not know that they should know because knowing would help them?
    • What can your company teach people that will be of use to them but will also help enhance your brand’s reputation?
    • What’s interesting about your brand, product, service, people, or technology that sets it apart from those of competitors?
    • What is your company’s expertise that you can share to help those with whom you must connect in order to create interest, preference, and demand?

    Those are key criteria for determining worthy content topics. From there, available resources, imagination, and creativity should be applied to specific business challenges your company faces.

    What actions are appropriate is a function of a company’s particular competitive situation: Are you top dog in your category or a feisty newcomer attempting to grow awareness and credibility? Is your category fun or super serious? Can you make it fun? What are your competitors doing? What information is missing? Can you survey your community and learn what they want to know? Do you already know what they want to know?

    Unfortunately, there’s no easy, one-regimen-fits-all solution.

    Content development has many facets. Two that are often ignored are content strategy and the reuse of content.

    Strategy First, Then Tactics!

    Strategy comes into play because just any content isn’t necessarily good content. If there’s not a clear communications strategy incorporating competitive differentiation, get that fixed and then come back to content development planning.

    Does your brand own a place in the mind of the market? Al Reis and Jack Trout termed the concept years ago as “positioning”: How does the market define you? Is it what you’d like it to be? How do you go about changing that perception? What would the desired position be?

    Remember, you can only stand for one thing, not many. Creating strategy isn’t rocket science. Following competitors isn’t a great idea either. Read Trout’s Differentiate or Die for excellent guidance on strategy development.

    When developing content ideas, ask whether the subject suits how the brand is or wants to be known and what the target community needs or wants to learn about. If you don’t know the answers, or the content idea doesn’t pass both those tests, you’re likely in danger of wasting serious time and money.

    As a marketer, you’re not necessarily in the pure education business. But taking an educational rather than promotional tack can certainly help your brand stand out, especially if your competitors aren’t delivering valuable info. People aren’t looking for more ads. They’re hungry for knowledge they can use in their work or personal lives.

    What can you provide? How, when, and where can it be delivered? Know the answers to those questions, as well, before you start.

    Express Ideas Across Multiple Media

    The reuse of content is essential to gaining maximum value from ideas and content production. Simply put, one piece of content—an article, video, podcast, speech, blog post, or webinar—can become another: a speech, blog post, article, webinar, podcast, video, etc.

    If the idea behind the content is valuable (see strategy subhead, above), then it should be expressed across the range of appropriate, affordable media available to your business for use.

    Supply chain marketers have a tendency to think that topics are getting old because they’ve used them previously, but it’s more likely that their audience or community is only just beginning to take notice. Don’t overestimate the speed at which people consume your content. Just because you’re tired of the topic doesn’t mean others are.


    Reuse can mean combining previously used content ideas as well as breaking them apart into smaller, separate items for a deeper look into the subject.

    Rather than constantly chasing new ideas, reuse helps save time and money. It’s like making another great dinner out of leftovers and saving yourself a trip to the market.

    Certainly, fresh ideas are also essential, but not at the cost of forgoing the thorough reuse of key topics… unless you’ve got an enormous budget and a huge production team.

    Teaching With a Marketing Perspective

    Think about content development the way a media outlet’s editor would think about what interests and attracts readers and viewers, at the same time keeping in mind what can help your brand achieve its goals. It’s certainly not pure journalism, but many journalism skills apply.

    Definitely lean more toward being informative than hyping your brand. Also, be inclusive. Acknowledge other businesses and what they’re doing. Be part of the community.

  5. Develop Your Brand Voice: Three Keys to Killer Messaging

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     by Maria Ross:

    If you’re looking for a useful marketing mantra for your startup, established business, or even your nonprofit, may I suggest this one?

    My brand is more than a logo.

    When I speak to audiences about brand strategy, too often they think, “Oh, I have this covered. I have a great-looking logo and visual identity.” But that’s only part of the equation.

    Your brand is your core promise, essence, story. Your logo should convey the brand, but it’s not the same thing as your brand. Brand forms the foundation for your marketing efforts, but it also informs many other organizational aspects, including operations, hiring, and partnerships. Brand is the story you tell and the position you occupy in people’s minds. Do they file you under “high-end bespoke couture”—or “fast fashion?”

    There are markets and target audiences for everything but it’s your job as a business owner or marketing leader to be crystal clear about the image for which you’re aiming and how that influences everything from pricing to distribution to customer experience to—yes—visual identity.

    Brand is a three-legged stool: It is conveyed visually, verbally, and experientially. “Visually” is the easy part: your logo, your colors, your design, your packaging. “Verbally” is how you talk, what you say, and which messages you convey. For example, do you lead with price, or do you lead with value? Does your company speak in conservative, authoritarian tones, or are you more playful and whimsical in your copy? Ideally, your visual and verbal promises should align and lead to where the rubber hits the road: experience. In other words, once you’ve promised me, the potential customer or client, something verbally and visually, does the experience match that promise? If everything about you screams high-end luxury, is that what I’m going to get? Will I get innovative and cutting-edge if you don’t spend wisely on R&D?

    The biggest gap for many organizations is getting the messaging (verbal) component right. They tend to either mimic their competition or speak in an inconsistent way. How can you convey messages that attract the right buyers, speak to their buying drivers and needs effectively–and, even more so, enable you to stand out in a crowded marketplace? The goal of the brand-building game is to get prospects to know, like, and trust you so that when the need for your product or service arises—when they are most ready to buy—they think of you first. Messaging can make or break that relationship.

    Here are three tips to consider when crafting messaging so you can pique interest, create a relationship, and stand out from your competition.

    1. Paint a picture

    Too many companies get caught up in talking about they do, sell, offer, or provide. They dazzle prospects with talk of whiz-bang features or a laundry list of services. But customers don’t care about you. They care about what’s in it for them: How does your product or service make my life better, my family safer, my body healthier, my business more successful, my job easier, or my bottom line bigger?

    Lead with benefits from the customer’s point of view, not just bragging about features. If they have to ask, “What does that do for me?” then you have not landed on the benefit yet. I like to play a little game with my clients called “So what?” For every supposed “benefit” they cite, I continue probing with the question, “So why does that matter to them?” until we finally land on the true benefit. Amazingly, they often go from starting the sentence with “We offer” to “You get,” and that’s how you know you’re there.

    Create a vision for what life or work will be like when they use your products or services. Then you can link them to proof points about why you are able to make those claims through the features you offer. Remember, make your messaging about them, not you!

    2. Walk your talk

    When you throw a brand promise out into the world, you’d better deliver. As I like to say, don’t write a brand check your business can’t cash. Always back up benefits with proof points. Why can you make those claims? What capabilities do you offer that make me believe you can lower my costs, increase my sales, remove my wrinkles, lower my blood pressure?

    Proof points can be your actual features or offerings, but they can also be industry statistics, press accolades, awards, customer testimonials (social proof), or specific tests or ROI studies done on your products or services.

    Back up your benefits with proof points and clearly state your differentiators from “the other guys” so we know you are more than empty marketing promises.

    3. Be human

    As a scarred veteran of Silicon Valley tech marketing—I now work with not just tech players but other B2B and B2C industries—I dream that one day all websites, marketing collateral, and press releases will actually sound like human-speak and not meaningless jargon. I mean, really, “best of breed solutions to maximize human capital and innovation?” Who really talks like that? What does it even mean?

    Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Your copy and messaging should speak directly to the person reading it in a brochure or on a Web page. What kind of human does your company sound like? What is your brand personality? Formal and conservative? Perhaps that is appropriate to your market or audience. Or maybe you’re whimsical and sassy.

    You can use brand voice to stand out from the masses and engage a prospect on a more human level. Sure, you may have to adapt to the language of your audience or industry, but that is why your brand strategy should reflect your ideal customer in sharp detail. That way, when you “speak” through your messaging, you immediately connect with the person more intimately and you can stand apart.