theHEED Blog

Save Money, Make Secondary Research First
Any product manager, marketer, creative and executive should understand their customer almost as well as they understand themselves.

 

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Through understanding the needs, priorities and concerns of your target audience, you are able to not only design great products for that audience, but you can also develop the appropriate emotionally-appealing messaging that will make them consider your products or services.

Let’s face it understanding your target audience and customers, is key to a successful business. Getting to the core concerns of your audience usually requires Primary and/or Secondary research.

Primary research can take time and a lot of budget to complete and often requires a professional research team for it to be done right. Personally, we love primary research and try to conduct whenever we have the time and budget. This is because there is nothing more beneficial than having a conversation with your target customer or observing your target customers in their environment or try to use your product. You will learn the most when you actually hear the words of what customers need/want from their own mouths.

However, a lot of Small and Medium sized businesses can’t commit the resources to a Primary research project. That’s where secondary research can be beneficial.

We all know how to do secondary research and it’s super cost effective, it just takes the time to do the work and the time to clearly define what information it is that you need to know.

Conducting secondary research is similar to the research that we all learned how to do throughout school – where we were posed a question and had to go to news articles, historical and encyclopedic volumes and statistical databases to form an answer and a thesis.

Doing secondary market research regarding your target audience is the same. You need to learn about the trusted volumes of information and which data you need from them to answer your primary questions that you have about your target audience. These data sources are all now available online either free or through a subscription (we will talk about these in a future post.)

What I do want to outline in this post is how to focus your secondary research so you are being as efficient as possible as a would be researcher. For instance, if you are a marketer and you are given a new “widget” to market. What is the information you must know about your target customer and the widget itself to have a successful marketing campaign.

Here’s what you really need to know: Why would anyone want/need this widget, how much is anyone willing to pay for this widget, and who is the person most likely to buy this widget?

Let’s take each question, one at a time:

        1. Why would anyone want/need this widget?
To answer this question, you need to understand what problem this widget is solving for people.
 
How do you do that?
 
Simply, first, a good marketer would understand what the product does completely. Let’s say that the widget is a blood glucose meter.
 
Second, you need to understand how your widget fits into the category of blood glucose meters. Meaning how does your widget compare to other like products on the market. This research is easy as you can just open an excel sheet or google sheet and make a column comparing different features and functionality of other blood glucose meters on the market.
 
2. How much is anyone willing to pay for this widget?
In that same spreadsheet list out the prices of the other blood glucose meters.
 
Second, you should understand how much it costs to make the widget.
 
Third, you should understand how the customer is going to actually buy the widget, online, in a store, at a dr’s office.
 
3. Who is the person most likely to buy this widget?
Who actually needs a blood glucose meter is your first question to answer this question. Obviously it is for people who need to measure their blood glucose but does that include all people? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and get the answers before developing any marketing plans. 

This is a very simple way of looking at secondary research questions that need to be answered, my point is that you can educate yourself through a little bit of effort about your target customer and for very little money, you can get. It just takes work and the willingness to gather, record, categorize and compare the data that is already available to us through our own efforts.

Get smarter about your product, competitors, and your customers. It will make you a better marketer, executive and/or creative in the end. 

tina-miletich
2020/09
Sep 23, 2020 2:28:39 PM
Save Money, Make Secondary Research First
Digital Strategy, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Advertising Agency

Sep 23, 2020 2:28:39 PM

Save Money, Make Secondary Research First

Any product manager, marketer, creative and executive should understand their customer almost as well as they understand themselves.

 

Why Long - Tailed Keywords are KEY for a Strong Landing Page

I’m glad you guys are back! 

Last week I took you guys through the importance of using long - tailed keywords (link to last week's blog) rather than using short - tailed and broad match keywords, especially if you are working with a smaller paid search budget. 

bench-accounting-C3V88BOoRoM-unsplash

These long - tailed keywords are the keywords that will end up triggering higher-quality traffic for your Google Ads and Bing Advertising strategy. Versus triggering traffic that is just looking for generalized information on the topic area that your product and services fit into. Ultimately, these high-quality users are more likely to convert on your landing page and more likely to eventually become customers. 

So just because you have included these long - tailed keywords in your strategy does not mean your work (and their work) stops here. These long - tailed keywords are pertinent for not only your overall keyword strategy, but also for your ad copy and your landing pages as well.

So why does this even matter?

It matters because not including these long - tailed keywords in your landing page copy, as well as in your ad copy will end up lowering your overall quality score in Google Ads and/or Bing Advertising. The lower your quality score, the less amount of time these search engines algorithms will choose to show your ads over competitors, even if someone searched for an exact term you have included in your strategy. 

Whether these keywords and words that have the same meaning or context as your keywords, (Yes! The search engines are that smart - you can read about the Google Hummingbird update here on Moz), are in the actual landing page copy or in the title of the landing page, you just need to make sure your page content utilizes the actual keywords or very close synonyms to make the page relevant to the search query. Not only is this pertinent to raise your accounts overall ad quality scores, but it provides a synchronized user experience for your potential customers. 

If you guys are still with me, you may be thinking this is a very trivial blog post about something that everyone already knows about. If that’s the case, then more power to you! However, this notion of having everything be synonymous from keyword buy, to ad copy to landing page copy is often overlooked as people who are managing paid search accounts don’t interface or direct the landing page experience in many firms. We have seen it here many times and it usually coincides with two phenomena 1) a lot of unqualified paid search traffic 2) little to no conversions on the landing page.

I’m here to give you a friendly reminder to all you guys and gals out there managing either your own brands account, or for a client - please, please, please make sure all those long - tailed keywords are what you are bidding on in search, your ads and landing pages are all using those keywords or synonyms.

For instance, if you are a marketing team of one or working on a small team, here’s a method I use. To make sure I end up including many, if not all of those long - tailed keywords on my landing pages and my search ads, I do the following - I start with the end in mind. I create the landing page where I want the user to visit from my search ads. Then I use a mini color code for myself and also anyone else on the team that I am working with to quickly reference all the keyword matches. It’s as simple as this: 

Pink Text on Landing Page= Long - Tailed Keywords
Yellow Text on Landing Page = Phrase or Exact Match Keyword 
Purple Text = Text that is not a keyword

Your page would end up looking like this after you color code it, for example:

        Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet:  

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Tempus egestas sed sed risus pretium quam vulputate dignissim suspendisse

Aliquam eleifend mi in nulla posuere sollicitudin. Lorem mollis aliquam ut porttitor. Mi in nulla posuere sollicitudin aliquam ultrices sagittis. 

Ultricies tristique nulla aliquet enim tortor at auctor. Massa sed elementum tempus egestas. At varius vel pharetra vel turpis nunc eget. Egestas purus….

So why is this helpful? It may sound a bit pointless to you, and that is totally fair, you do not have to do this in order to have a successful campaign. 

But I like it and client’s appreciate it too because at a quick glance, you can see right away how many of those keywords (exact, phrase and long-tail) are being included on the page. This is not a scientific process, it’s not complicated, but simply put, it is efficient and tells you what you need to know within a matter of seconds to write extremely relevant ads using the exact match and long-tail keywords as well as which keywords to bid on at the campaign level.

In the end, what you end up with are ads and landing pages that work well together to convert your visitor. And, we all know that higher conversions potentially mean more business.

Paid Search is oftentimes seen as a very convoluted process - but it truly does not have to be. Hopefully this quick little color coding technique can make things just a little easier for you as you start to develop your landing page and PPC strategy. It will allow you to quickly examine your landing page copy to make sure it includes all those long - tailed keywords and phrase/exact match keywords that will carry your campaign to success.

There is so much to Marketing, and it all starts with understanding your target customer, come back next week when we start exploring customer research techniques.

alana-bellinger
2020/09
Sep 15, 2020 4:44:28 PM
Why Long - Tailed Keywords are KEY for a Strong Landing Page
Digital Strategy, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Advertising Agency, Keyword Strategy, Long - Tail Keywords, Quality Scores, Landing Page

Sep 15, 2020 4:44:28 PM

Why Long - Tailed Keywords are KEY for a Strong Landing Page

I’m glad you guys are back! 

Last week I took you guys through the importance of using long - tailed keywords (link to last week's blog) rather than using short - tailed and broad match keywords, especially if you are working with a smaller paid search budget. 

On a Tight Paid Search Budget? Go For Long - Tailed Keywords!

As tempting as it may sound to include tons of broad keywords within your ad groups on either Google Ads or Bing Advertising, if you are on a tight PPC budget this strategy will do nothing for you and will eat away at your budget very quickly.

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As you know, Google Ads and Bing Advertising gives you the option of including broad, phrase, or exact matches in your keyword strategy. Choosing broad match keywords will give you a boost in general user traffic to your website - but will it be high-quality traffic?

The answer is NO!

So why spend what little money your budget allows for on these types of keywords when it is not going to render you any new customers or positive revenue growth for your company. 

Since you are working with a smaller PPC budget, you want to spend that money to capture users who are searching for very specific terms and phrases related to your product or service. These users are way more likely to convert and turn into customers. How do you do this? You bid on terms and build PPC ads using long-tail keywords that are either phrase or exact matches. 

Once you start employing this highly targeted strategy, at the start, you will see a drop in things like sessions, page views, impressions, conversions, clicks etc. You will feel discouraged at first, which is totally normal. If you stick with this strategy, I promise it will benefit you and your brand in the long run by sending you very specific qualified traffic that is closer to buying than all that general traffic you would get from broad keywords (or otherwise known as short-tail keywords). 

Before you stop reading this blog, and continue on with what you have planned for the day, I want to take you through a real word example. Let’s say you are in the world of selling business software, specifically enterprise resource planning software or ERP software.

First, let’s start with a short - tail keyword, usually a term that is 1 - 2 words, like ERP. According to Google Ads Keyword Planner, this term, on average, has 90,500 searches per month (please remember this may not be exact but is trending information). Now, you may be saying wow, I NEED to include that keyword in my ad groups to drive those 90,500 users to my site - but let me stop you right there. As I mentioned earlier in the blog, short - tail keywords will increase the amount of traffic to your website, but these users are most likely just looking for general information about ERP’s, rather than wanting to actually purchase an ERP.  

Now let’s look at a slightly longer term, like ERP software. This term, on average, has 12,100 searches per month (please remember this may not be exact but is trending information). Okay, so we are certainly getting closer and have whittled that 90,000 down to 12,000 searches but, most, if not all of these searches are again, going to be users who are looking for education about this software. So now what? We go for that long - tailed keyword. 

Alright, now it’s time to look at a long - tailed keyword, a keyword that is generally between 4 - 5 words. The keyword ERP implementation cost estimate has an average of 10 searches per month. Obviously, that is a huge drop from the above 90,000 or 12,000, but these users are obviously in the market to actually purchase an ERP software, or are moving towards this rather than just looking around for general information.

To summarize - short - tail keywords have high search volumes, competition, and cost, whereas long - tail keywords have low search volumes, competition, and cost, but high conversion rates and focus (and who doesn’t want that?!). 

So the next time you are looking over the current keywords you have already included in your paid search strategy, or if you are in the process of adding keywords for the first time, remember to ask yourself this one thing - what type of user will this keyword bring in? Will they be low - caliber and unlikely to convert or will they be of high - quality and more likely to convert? 

In the end, I promise, this one simple strategy will make your small budget go so much further. And last of all, this highly focused strategy will take time to work so please, please, PLEASE do not get discouraged if it takes a few weeks to show positive results.

In my next blog, I’ll cover how your landing page should manage your high - quality traffic. 

Stay tuned for the next HEEDGROUP blog!

 

alana-bellinger
2020/09
Sep 9, 2020 12:49:07 PM
On a Tight Paid Search Budget? Go For Long - Tailed Keywords!
Digital Strategy, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Paid Search, Google Ads, Bing Advertising, Keyword Strategy, Long - Tail Keywords

Sep 9, 2020 12:49:07 PM

On a Tight Paid Search Budget? Go For Long - Tailed Keywords!

As tempting as it may sound to include tons of broad keywords within your ad groups on either Google Ads or Bing Advertising, if you are on a tight PPC budget this strategy will do nothing for you and will eat away at your budget very quickly.

Building a Facilitation Framework to Align and Prioritize Business Goals

Nowadays, with the boom in UX design, one significant way your agency can stand above the rest is by employing a participatory facilitation process that listens, synthesizes, and records documentation to better understand and prioritize not just the business' goals but the user's as well. Below I discuss two techniques for facilitating a UX workshop; the "Alignment and Agreement" and "Awareness Goals" exercises. 

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Without veering off into brand culture, a design team must recognize that each designer's personality becomes the proprietary formula for a successful UX workshop. This goes without saying that building a participatory framework is unique to each agency; what works for one will not work for another.  

When deciding how much time you should take to complete the workshop anywhere between 1 to 2.5 days is perfect; otherwise, we get into a state of information overload and analysis paralysis. Try to keep your flow light and power through. 

A basic framework should touch on the following points: 
1. Goals
2. Questions
3. Processes

 Understanding the current state of the business via a Kick-off Call  

Although a kick-off call isn't necessarily the first step to creating a facilitation framework for UX Workshops, it should be noted that it is the initial step in not only establishing rapport between the agency and business but also understanding how designs should communicate to its user base and where to reach them from a strategic marketing perspective. This phase usually happens a week or two before the workshop. 
 
Your team should have ample time to go through the exhaustive research findings and feel confident and competent to hold a conversation with your client on their industry.  

A quick note on humility and collaboration: You don't need to know everything, that's why we are collaborating, but you do need to understand enough to not lose yourself within the conversation. When in doubt, always ask for clarification.  

Alignment and Agreement Exercise 

The Alignment and Agreement exercise defines what each stakeholder and designer hopes to get out of the session. It also answers if everyone is in agreement with what you want to get out of the workshop. Below is an overview of the exercise.  

Write down all stakeholder names, including yourself. 

Remember that your agency and co-works are buying into this product and service as well. There is no better way to feel more invested in your client's work than by putting yourself in their shoes. 

Set a timer for 5 mins  

Use your better judgment. If there is a room of 20 people work with a partner and add time on the clock. The time should not allow anyone to ruminate over these items. We are looking for instinctive feedback.   

Ask everyone: What do you hope to get out of this session?  

Each individual should state at least 3 items. Stick to one word or phrase, no repetitive statements. The reason for that is that repetitive statements create a false sense of alignment. 

Ask each individual to prioritize just one item of desired outcomes.  

Finally, write each word/phrase into a singular goal. 

Treat it like a mad lib: The goal is to fill in the blank 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

Awareness Goals Exercise 

The Awareness Goals Exercise utilizes a varying form of the Carver Method, a system developed by the U.S. military to assess threats. The goal is to determine what assets should be applied to neutralize a threat.  

In design, we are considering the time, effort, and willpower to accomplish any task; for example, how will audiences hear about our product or service? Regardless of what question is asked, you are already narrowing your scope of focus.  

On your product of choice, create a grid with 5 columns, one for each: tasks, desirability, attainability, resources, and timeframe. This exercise focuses on gaining rapid consensus while working with the entire group. After we have a healthy list of tasks marked out, we will apply values to each of the columns and add them up. Below is a more detailed description of the practice. 

Set your timer to 5 minutes per segment for a total of 25 minutes. 

Ask your workshop participants what tasks do we need to focus on to make users aware of our product and jot those down  

Generalize the tasks to more mechanical functions such as referrals, sponsorships, cloud storage, SEM/SEO or mechanical parts of the application itself, etc. 

Go through each touchpoint and assign a value of 1 - 10:  

 Desirability This is the wish-fulfillment area; what do you desire to see         completed?  

 Attainability How do-able is it? 

 Resources How effectively can we complete the task with the               information/tools/resources available? Are there gaps in our knowledge,   and  can we  proceed without it anyway? Remember not to go too deep   into  the minutia of each task.

The final touchpoint in this exercise is exclusive to the time it will take to complete the task. The amount of days it will take to complete becomes the value we will add to our other touchpoints. Generally, the amount of time it takes for a team to work through any task is as follows: 

Short-Term - 30 Days
Medium- Term - 60 Days
Long-Term - 90 Days

Once all the values have been attributed to each column, we add them up. The sum serves as a tie-breaker between various short, medium, or long-term tasks.  

By the end of this group exercise, you will have a list of priorities that facilitates brand awareness and provides a clear roadmap to success.  

katlyn-carrion
2020/09
Sep 1, 2020 11:48:07 AM
Building a Facilitation Framework to Align and Prioritize Business Goals
Marketing, UX Design, Design, Advertising Agency, UX Workshop

Sep 1, 2020 11:48:07 AM

Building a Facilitation Framework to Align and Prioritize Business Goals

Nowadays, with the boom in UX design, one significant way your agency can stand above the rest is by employing a participatory facilitation process that listens, synthesizes, and records documentation to better understand and prioritize not just the business' goals but the user's as well. Below I...

To PPC or Not To PPC?

To PPC or Not To PPC really is and should be a question on a company's mind. On average, there are 40,000 search queries per second equating to 3.5 billion search queries a day and 1.2 trillion a year. With that being said, you would think the answer would be a simple yes, why would we not include PPC in our marketing efforts - but like anything in life, nothing is ever simple. 

pexels-photo-461077

There are many questions one should ask whether PPC is the way to go for their company, but one of the first questions is, "do we have the budget to not only compete against competitors but can we do it effectively? 

As you probably guessed, within the PPC sphere exists an extremely competitive ring. If you are a SMB, you are going to be competing against companies that have a much larger monthly budget than yours, some are even as high as $100,000 and above. For instance, can your $1,000 - $5,000 a month budget go against these top guns and actually provide results for your brand? It can, but your approach to how you run your PPC strategy must be different. 

Working with a small budget to generate paid search leads cannot be your only lead - generation tactic. You must have a full marketing and lead - generation machine firing on all cylinders. Meaning, other lead - gen efforts must be in place and running at the same time as PPC such as a landing page strategy on your website for campaigns, social media, perhaps content syndication, and a highly targeted linkedin strategy. We also cannot forget about email strategy. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of these strategies, not to worry! These are all topics we will be going into more detail on in future blog posts so stay tuned. 

You should also have to have an extremely focused and targeted keyword strategy, a topic we will dive into in a later blog post. 

So should you use PPC? The answer is yes, but if you are working with a smaller budget, you must make sure you have other lead - gen and marketing efforts in place that work alongside your PPC strategy to support your overall business goals.



alana-bellinger
2020/08
Aug 21, 2020 2:38:49 PM
To PPC or Not To PPC?
Marketing, Digital Marketing, Paid Search, Google Ads, Bing Advertising

Aug 21, 2020 2:38:49 PM

To PPC or Not To PPC?

To PPC or Not To PPC really is and should be a question on a company's mind. On average, there are 40,000 search queries per second equating to 3.5 billion search queries a day and 1.2 trillion a year. With that being said, you would think the answer would be a simple yes, why would we not include...

Assigning content a value? Here's a simple auditing tactic.

Historically, one of the best ways for marketers to generate leads online was to create gated content. You’d write useful, compelling content in the form of white papers and ebooks, and people would give you their contact information in return.

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However, the pendulum is swinging. With so much open content available online, competing gated content is taking a hit. Consumers don’t want to give up an email address for something they can get for “free.”

This leads us to an important question: Do we continue to gate content, which shortens the lead acquisition process, or do we leave it open for the whole world to access for free?

Like most things in business, the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis.

What’s More Important: A Name in the Database, or Web Traffic?

Your answer to that question is a good starting point. If you’re after web traffic, leave the content ungated. If you want leads, you should gate it.

But you should also take into account your business model and sales journey. Consider this: If you manufacture satellites, you likely have a long sales process requiring multiple conversations and negotiations. That could be a good indicator that gated content is a better fit.

If you’re selling fidget spinners, however, it’s a different story. Your customers know exactly what they want, can get it anywhere, and likely have no interest in fidget spinner-related content that requires them to give up their personal information.

Market research can also help you decide. If your fellow satellite manufacturers feature a number of blogs on how satellites operate in space, that’s a good indicator you shouldn’t gate similar content. Why would anyone “buy” it with their email address from you if they can get it for free? Conversely, if everyone is gating a certain piece of content, you could stand out by turning the information into blogs.

The truth: A Name in the Database and Web Traffic are both important!

At HEEDGroup, we help our clients conduct a content audit and ascribe value to the different pieces of content bucketing them into 3 categories: Low Value, Medium Value, and High Value.

LOW Value Content

The content classified as low value content is content that is easily accessible anywhere. This is content that you provide as a convenience but it doesn’t necessarily differentiate your brand/organization as an expert on a specific topic. We call this Free content or content that is not gated.

MEDIUM Value Content

The Medium value content, is content that is brand building and may even be high quality content that you paid to have it created for your organization: videos, white papers, checklists, etc. These pieces of content may be your loss leaders as they tend to drive or increase traffic to your site through social and search. These can still be industry specific research reports covered by you or your competitors but the difference in Medium Value Content is that it is not widely available and it should contain your position or stance on the topic covered in the asset. As mentioned before these are the brand building and traffic generating content assets you make available on your website.

HIGH Value Content

The next bucket of content is High Value content that should always be gated. This High Value gated content is content that only your company can provide your prospects and customers. This is usually educational content (whether it’s a cost analysis of a certain solution or a specific How-To for solving an industry solution that only your company provides). The point here is that, only you can provide this content. This content should be shared on your high traffic’d web pages and should be downloadable from a gated landing page for tracking purposes.

There’s another level of content strategy that you should research and we will probably cover it here on our blog too. And, that is content aligned to the buyer's journey. This approach requires more details and analysis before implementing. As a first step, try our HEEDGroup approach of Low, Medium and High content categorization.



tina-miletich
2018/08
Aug 6, 2018 5:37:28 PM
Assigning content a value? Here's a simple auditing tactic.
Marketing, Content Audit, Content Marketing

Aug 6, 2018 5:37:28 PM

Assigning content a value? Here's a simple auditing tactic.

Historically, one of the best ways for marketers to generate leads online was to create gated content. You’d write useful, compelling content in the form of white papers and ebooks, and people would give you their contact information in return.

GDPR Is Coming This Month: What Marketers Need to Know

Big news for marketers, regardless of where they’re located: On May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect. The GDPR is designed to protect the private data of EU citizens while giving them the power to control what happens with their data.

gdpr-3285252_1280

Failure to comply could result in serious penalties. For the most serious grievances, companies can be fined €20 million (about $24.5 million) or 4% of yearly revenue—whichever is higher.

Even if you operate out of the United States, the GDPR could still impact your company, as it covers any entity processing the personal data on anyone living in the European Union. Because of this, simply having a website that collects consumer data could open you up to GDPR regulations.

With so much on the line, it’s crucial marketers all over the world understand the basics of GDPR. 

GDPR’s Requirements for Marketers

The GDPR will change how many of us operate. The biggest changes will surround consent, data security, and customer access to data.

Consent is King

Under the new GDPR rules, anytime you want to collect or use a customer’s data for a specific purpose, you need consent. If you want to track their behavior on a website, you need consent. If you’d like to email a monthly newsletter, you need consent. If you want to share their data with a subsidiary, you need consent.

While you can receive this consent upfront, your request and explanation should be in simple language so that anyone can understand exactly how the data will be used. Similarly, you can only use it for the purposes you’ve outlined. If you collect an email address for the purpose of your monthly email blast, you can’t hand it off to a subsidiary to use in their email blasts—unless you clearly explain that intention upfront.

In addition, GDPR forbids asking for more than what’s essential for the task you intend to complete. Going back to our newsletter example: If you’re collecting email addresses for a newsletter, you shouldn’t also ask for phone numbers; they’re not needed for email blasts. With this in mind, you should review all content currently on your website. Check the fields you ask customers to complete. Ensure you’re not requesting anything unnecessary for your intended tasks.

Protection and Privacy

As its name suggests, the General Data Protection Regulation wants consumer data to be protected. The GDPR requires that all systems used to store customer data should have protections built right into them; IT departments can’t just put up protections on the outside.

Marketers should work closely with IT to ensure all customer data is secure from tampering. In addition, all marketers should adhere to cyber security best practices.

Similarly, you must keep your databases maintained. If the relationship with a customer is terminated, you should get rid of their data.

Finally, customers must be notified quickly if there’s a data breach. GPDR requires companies to notify customers of data breaches within 72 hours of learning about the breach.

Citizens Have a Right to Data

At any time, an EU citizen has the right to know if his or her data is being used, and what it is being used for. If an individual calls in with a question, he or she should be answered within a reasonable timeframe.

Because of this, data must be store efficiently and properly indexed so that a customer’s name can be quickly searched.

EU citizens also have the right to be forgotten. At a customer’s request, his or her data can be permanently erased from your system.

tina-miletich
2018/05
May 18, 2018 12:30:53 PM
GDPR Is Coming This Month: What Marketers Need to Know
Business Insight, Insights, Marketing Data

May 18, 2018 12:30:53 PM

GDPR Is Coming This Month: What Marketers Need to Know

Big news for marketers, regardless of where they’re located: On May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect. The GDPR is designed to protect the private data of EU citizens while giving them the power to control what happens with their data.

360-Degree Video: Marketing Without Blind Spots

A couple of years ago, Goldman Sachs made a bold prediction: In 10 years, VR will be bigger than TV, generating about $182 billion compared to $99 billion from TV. While VR headsets are still gaining traction in the public market, something similar has taken off: 360-degree video ads on social media platforms.

360degreecamera

 

When the School of Rock hit Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted to make a splash that would draw patrons to the show. By filming a scene with the cameras in the middle of the room, he provided an immersive experience for potential audience members. The scene was a success. The video generated 1 million views in only three days and sparked a 160% spike in the show’s ticketing website’s traffic.

It’s a concept that works every day. Data from over 700 million 360-degree ads shows 360-degree video ads receive a 46% higher video completion rate and a 14% higher ROI when compared to regular video.

Pulling this off, however, requires a slick strategy.

Secrets to 360-Degree Video

Setting up for a 360-degree video, especially when it’s for a promotion or ad, requires a lot of thought. Even if you only want to use it to give a tour of your new office or to highlight the conference you’re attending, you must be careful.

A few rules to follow:

Keep the tripod out of it—but keep it steady. If you need support for the camera, opt for a simple camera stick instead of a tripod. The tripod will show up in the video and obstruct some of the scene. Sacrificing the tripod doesn’t mean you should sacrifice stability. A jostling video will make viewers sick and turn them away.

Consider the best perspective. A bird’s eye view will put the audience above the action, but it also pulls them away. A regular height view will make them feel like they’re part of it. Meanwhile, an “ant’s eye view” make the action seem larger than life, while also making the viewer feel vulnerable.

Take advantage of human interaction. The School of Rock scene was fun because there was so much happening in all 360-degrees. Find shots that are equally entertaining. For example, a conversation between three colleagues at a conference is a great selection because it makes viewers feel like their part of the action.

Though these rules are good for getting you started, there’s much more to think about when it comes to 360-degree video ads. Have fun but make sure there is a purpose to your shoot. And, if you’ve done some interesting 360-degree videos, share your experiences with us.

tina-miletich
2018/04
Apr 12, 2018 12:17:23 PM
360-Degree Video: Marketing Without Blind Spots

Apr 12, 2018 12:17:23 PM

360-Degree Video: Marketing Without Blind Spots

A couple of years ago, Goldman Sachs made a bold prediction: In 10 years, VR will be bigger than TV, generating about $182 billion compared to $99 billion from TV. While VR headsets are still gaining traction in the public market, something similar has taken off: 360-degree video ads on social...

The Secrets Behind a Digital Brand Presence

You can’t foster a creative digital presence overnight. Gaining traction across the internet requires a multifaceted approach with a detailed maturity model for guidance. What that maturity model looks like will vary depending slightly on the market you’re in, but in general you’ll want to focus on social media, blogs, and advertisement.

mobile-phone-1875813_1920

Social Media Takes Real Work

Some companies will hand off their social media channels to an employee at random, almost as an afterthought. This approach rarely works out well.

That’s why companies have entire teams or agencies managing their accounts. Not only should each profile be completely filled out and updated, each account should post regularly to remain relevant. But even that is easier said than done. Boring, repetitive, or self-interested posts will drive away followers, so posts must be carefully written in order to engage followers.

Companies should also be nimble enough to respond to fans on social media. If someone asks your company a question on Twitter, will the person receive a timely response?

Social media is also a good place to promote your company’s content, especially blogs.

To continue gaining traction on social media, an account manager should regularly review social media stats in order adjust posts for better results.

Blogs Are Worth the Investment for your SEO

Like social media, blogging requires a good deal of time, but the results of this inbound marketing technique can be tremendous, especially when it comes to SEO.

Topics for blogs should be chosen carefully. For example, if you’re a small shoe company, it might not make much sense to blog in order to rank for the long tail keyword “football cleats”; you’d be facing an enormous amount of competition. However, if you were to write about “football cleats in cold and wet weather,” you’d have a much better chance of ranking in organic search results.

Digital Ads Require Careful Research

In addition to time, you may also need to invest hard dollars into your online presence by paying to rank on search engines like Google and Bing. But don’t just throw your money at these services.

Depending on your industry, you may face stiff competition for ranking, which could increase the spend necessary to gain traffic to your website.

After careful keyword research, decide which keywords are best for your company to compete for, then pay for those.

Social Ads Should be Strategic

Like digital ads, social media ads require an investment of time and money. However, done right, the results can be extraordinary.

Changing an ad should be done strategically. For example, when changing an ad you’re testing, only change one aspect at a time. This will help you track which elements of the ad are most successful. Split testing—presenting two ads for the same service or product with a different design—is another great way to determine what your target demographic really likes in order to see a higher ROI.

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tina-miletich
2018/03
Mar 20, 2018 2:02:19 PM
The Secrets Behind a Digital Brand Presence

Mar 20, 2018 2:02:19 PM

The Secrets Behind a Digital Brand Presence

You can’t foster a creative digital presence overnight. Gaining traction across the internet requires a multifaceted approach with a detailed maturity model for guidance. What that maturity model looks like will vary depending slightly on the market you’re in, but in general you’ll want to focus on...

Chatbots: Case Studies for Marketing (Part Two)

In our last blog , we explored the value of chatbots—little computer programs that reliably communicate with customers on your behalf, freeing your Marketing and Customer Service teams to focus on higher-level tasks.

Since these bots are surging in popularity, we’ll review what makes a good bot—and the best ways to create your own:

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The Muppets and Miss Piggy

Despite her ego, you can’t help but feel drawn to Miss Piggy. Back in 2015, Disney promoted The Muppets TV show by developing a Facebook chatbot for Miss Piggy’s Facebook profile. They even cross-promoted through a message from Kermit, who quipped that he’d finally get an hour of peace if she was busy talking to other people.

 This was the perfect opportunity for fans young and old to engage with one of their favorite TV characters, and Disney wrote Miss Piggy’s personality into her responses.

 What Disney did right: It wrote the chatbot to resemble Miss Piggy’s brand. When fans chatted with her, they received the same snark and ego they’re used to seeing her with. They also did a great job of promoting it by playing off the love/hate relationship she and Kermit have. Finally, they launched it in time to promote the real money-maker: the TV show.

Amtrak’s Julie

Amtrak developed its website’s virtual assistant, Julie, back in 2012, and it’s a wonder the company ever got by without her.

 Here’s why: They eventually saw an 800% return on investment. How? For starters, Julie was programmed to help travelers find trips and routes, access boarding information, and book trips. This saved the company $1 million in customer service emails—in one year. By answering 5 million questions a year, Julie sparked 30% more revenue per booking and increased bookings by 25%. Plus, when Julie answers a question, she includes options to upgrade on the next trip, opening the door for an upsell.

What Amtrak did right: Amtrak saw a way to simplify the booking process for its website’s 375,000 daily visitors. Instead of relying on customers to figure out the website’s interface, they provided the option for a chatbot to help each visitor, streamlining the entire process.

KLM on Messenger

KLM is the world’s oldest airline and a big player in Europe. A few years ago, it decided to become a big player in social media as well. KLM added a “Send Message” button to its Facebook page and saw messages increase 40%. To handle the influx, they created an AI chatbot, which they trained to answer more than 60,000 questions. To ensure the bot keeps quality high, its responses are checked by an agent, and a quick survey is submitted at the end of each interaction. Because of the AI, the chatbot gets a little smart each time. The result: high customer satisfaction that continues to get better.

What KLM did right: Priming their chatbot for 60,000 questions required work upfront, but the payoff is immense: KLM’s messenger requires fewer interventions from human agents.

Anymail’s Chatbot Picks Up the Slack

Anymail was a two-person startup, so keeping up with sales and customer inquiries absorbed valuable time. But they noticed something interesting: They received the same handful of questions with each inquiry. To keep up with their customers, they wrote detailed articles to answer each of these questions, then programmed a chatbot to respond to questions by offering the articles. They even took it a step further: When site visitors reach a page, the chatbot delivers a list of question and answers people often ask related to that page. It’s working: 60% of their revenue is thanks to the chatbot, and a third of visitors take advantage of the feature.

 What Anymail did right: The team worked smarter, not harder. They created detailed answers to the most common questions, and even presented these articles before customers had a chance to ask. This cut down on future inquiries, freeing the team to focus on other aspects of the business.

 Want to learn more? Contact HEEDGroup with your questions on how to launch a successful chatbot, or sign up for our newsletter.

 Link to Part One of the series

tina-miletich
2018/03
Mar 6, 2018 8:14:58 PM
Chatbots: Case Studies for Marketing (Part Two)
Digital Marketing, Data driven, Chatbox, Artificial Intelligence, Disruptors, AI, Customer Service

Mar 6, 2018 8:14:58 PM

Chatbots: Case Studies for Marketing (Part Two)

In our last blog , we explored the value of chatbots—little computer programs that reliably communicate with customers on your behalf, freeing your Marketing and Customer Service teams to focus on higher-level tasks.

Chatbots: Marketings Best Friend (Part One)

Through the aid of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, bots are quickly becoming the way of the future for developing more effective sales and marketing tactics. They are easy to program and use, automate business processes, and work wonders for improving the customer service experience. Before implementing bots into your websites and social media pages, it is important to understand just how they work and what they accomplish for your company.

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What Are Chatbots?

Chatbots are software that is easy to build and program with certain actions for them to operate all on their own. Through text conversations with customers, they dive deeper into consumers’ thought processes and use that information to help determine where they are in the buyer’s journey.

Their design offers a more personalized ad structure and softens the sales approach, all while reaching a wider audience. According to Neil Patel Digital, 57% of consumers prefer personalized ads when shopping online, which means chatbots increase your chances of success when selling online. Additionally, humanizing bots by giving them a name or personality makes people feel like they are having a face-to-face conversation with an actual sales representative.

They also allow your business to be more proactive in terms of initiating the conversation with customers. By reaching out to consumers first, it creates a dialogue that may have never happened with a traditional passive approach. This makes consumers feel more comfortable and trusting of your brand, sometimes to the point where they share more sensitive information because of the safe space the bot provides them.

Benefits of Using Chatbots

Conversations exchanged through a chatbot provide a larger engagement capacity. As reported by greengeeks.com, nearly 92 percent of consumers are more satisfied with their experience when using live chat, and two out of three consumers are likely to spend more money with businesses that offer exceptional customer service. Companies that are active on their social media profiles tend to have a larger, more engaged following and chatbots mimic this. By providing quick responses, there is greater potential for the consumer to get what they want when they want it.

Bots can also analyze customer feedback and provide better insights into what consumers are looking for, giving you powerful marketing data. This could replace time-consuming surveys by integrating questions into the conversations happening between chatbots and customers. Furthermore, the information gathered as a result of chatbot interactions can help in restructuring your marketing model to better target the customer’s needs.

You want the buying process to be enjoyable for your customers, and chatbots can make communication with your brand a fun experience. The one-on-one interaction and personalized approach can leave a good, lasting impression. This will pave the way to a stronger bond and allow more time to suggest and share links to increase website visits. Bots can be programmed to encourage customers to visit other relevant pages or blog posts for related products or services.

Chatbots Used Internally

Lastly, chatbots are a great way to keep communication among your marketing and sales teams quick, easy, and concise. According to Rocketbots, the average employee receives 88 emails per day. In the same way, bots are used to communicate with customers, it allows employees to “personalize, target, and connect the relevant content to the right employee at the right time.” When an open dialogue exists between coworkers through chatbots, it fosters a positive environment without the unnecessary clutter of other communications channels, such as email.

To Sum It All Up

Chatbots are an easy and effective tool to add to your marketing and sales strategies. You don’t have to be a technology aficionado to understand their basic programming, they can save you money by providing customer service 24 hours a day, and in some cases, can do 100 percent of the selling for you. To see chatbots in action, read our second blog of this series . Bots are only just the tip of the iceberg, though. For more on the best marketing and sales practices and trends, stay up-to-date on our blog or sign up for our newsletter.

tina-miletich
2018/02
Feb 27, 2018 2:37:13 PM
Chatbots: Marketings Best Friend (Part One)
Digital Marketing, Agency, Chatbox, Artificial Intelligence, New Rules, Disruptors

Feb 27, 2018 2:37:13 PM

Chatbots: Marketings Best Friend (Part One)

Through the aid of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, bots are quickly becoming the way of the future for developing more effective sales and marketing tactics. They are easy to program and use, automate business processes, and work wonders for improving the customer service...

Marketing Rules that Guide a Great Agency

There’s a big difference between a mediocre agency and a great agency: A great marketing agency will deliver much better results. But those results don’t happen accidentally. A great agency follows strict marketing rules as well as a stringent moral compass to deliver excellent results consistently.

Here are the rules they stick to:

1. Listen to what the metrics say.

A great marketing agency carefully tracks metrics to gauge the success of each facet of a new campaign. This requires mapping out the most important KPIs before actions are taken—not after. Starting at the very beginning will give you richer data throughout the process. And, let me share a little secret with you. It’s not 1000 KPIs, it’s a few that latter up to the macro goal for the business.

Similarly, a great agency keeps a close eye on financial spend. If a social ad isn’t performing well, a smart agency will tweak it instead of letting all the money on that campaign run out.

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Following metrics closely requires a great agency to have the tools necessary to track the numbers or at least understand how to take advantage of all the built-in tools accompanying the distribution mechanisms in the market. Marketers need to have a clear understanding of how these tools work and more importantly what the stats mean for the latest campaign.

2. Keep up with the latest trends.

Only two decades ago, advertisements were almost entirely physical or on TV. Thanks to the internet, marketing efforts have transformed—and continue to do so every single day. Because of these rapid evolutions in strategic possibilities, a great marketing agency will suggest the best options based on the latest developments.

Skilled marketers will also watch how each marketing tool evolves over time. For example, Google is constantly tinkering with its SEO formulas. As an example, a great marketing agency keeps up with the latest news from Google to ensure all content is properly optimized. Run if your marketing agency doesn’t know what SEO means for your business. It’s quite rare that any brand on the Internet these days isn’t deriving most of its traffic through Google somehow.

3. Never make assumptions.

Effective marketing efforts leave nothing to chance. Crafting a successful campaign requires preliminary research on many aspects, but especially on the target customer. Great marketers are also great investigators; they dig through data to make informed decisions on how a campaign should be conducted.

Because expert marketers carefully make every decision, their actions are more effective.

4. Know the customer inside and out.

As we said, a great marketing agency understands each business’s customers. Without understanding the customer, it’s very difficult to create effective marketing materials to attract their attention. This also requires knowing where the customers can be reached. For example, pouring all of your money into YouTube videos is futile if your target audience rarely visits YouTube.

Great marketers will review customer data to look for important information like age, gender, location, occupation, and interests in order to promote services or products in a way that rings with the target demographic.

What else do you think makes a great agency? Do you have any thoughts or suggestions you would like to share? We are always learning and that’s another sign, IMHO of a great agency, they are always learning with intense curiosity. 

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tina-miletich
2018/02
Feb 22, 2018 3:31:54 PM
Marketing Rules that Guide a Great Agency
Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing, Agency, Data driven, Customer centric

Feb 22, 2018 3:31:54 PM

Marketing Rules that Guide a Great Agency

There’s a big difference between a mediocre agency and a great agency: A great marketing agency will deliver much better results. But those results don’t happen accidentally. A great agency follows strict marketing rules as well as a stringent moral compass to deliver excellent results consistently.

Why You Should Say No to a "Yes Man"

Have you been questioning lately whether or not your agency is really helping your business? This may be due to several reasons, but one outstanding factor in the industry is the “yes man” syndrome. If your agency is a “yes man” agency, then it’s time for a new agency. 

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What do we mean by a “yes” person or “yes man” agency? It’s when a person, team or agency fails to think of the client or the client’s business goals and says “yes” to everything. Why?

  • They want your approval and believe this will build loyalty.
  • They aren’t as experienced as they said or you thought they were.
  • They want your money.
  • They would rather you come up with the ideas and strategies, rather than themselves, so they feel protected from being blamed.

Let’s begin with wanting your approval and loyalty. Agencies, especially start-up agencies, want more than anything to collect a loyal clientele. Their goal is for you to like them and to create a lasting business relationship, so in their minds, saying yes to everything is an easy way to accomplish this. It’s scary to say no to a new client especially if you are a small start-up agency but you are truly not putting your client and their needs first if you are not strong enough to have a hard conversation about doing the right thing for your client’s business. You must be strong enough to have a real conversation with the Senior Marketers otherwise your business won’t grow and you will only be seen as a “YES” agency. Maybe in the beginning of your client relationship, this makes the client feel great but in the long run this will not bode in your favor forever.

In some cases, the company is not as experienced as they might’ve first pitched to you. They just don’t have the experience to make big decisions on your behalf. Also, due to their less mature stature, they rely on agreeing with everything you say or suggest because they don’t know how to push the edges for you or come up with new creative strategies. It’s obvious that this is a recipe for disaster. When you notice the red flags of an inexperienced agency, start thinking about your “plan B.”

A desire for money may be the biggest reason agencies are classified as a “yes man” agency. They will say yes to anything, not so much so that your business will grow, but because they are concerned about meeting their own expenses. Watch for signs when an agency stops talking about value and the benefits that your company will achieve with a given strategy or tactic. Instead, they will be over indexing on the dollars they need to cover their services. Your agency should always be talking and thinking about you and not them.

Another reason why agencies will consistently say yes is because they would rather you be held accountable for decisions or actions made on behalf of the company. This is a way for the agency to hide behind you and protect themselves. Although saying no may be uncomfortable at times, suggesting new ideas can be beneficial. This type of forward thinking can be a catalyst to new and improved changes. If an agency is always agreeing with a business or client, it is less likely that the company will evolve through new outside ideas.

If any of these situations sound familiar to you, it’s time to start an agency review. Remember a “yes man” may seem positive, but as my mother always cautioned us as children, “too much laughing always leads to crying.”

If you found this blog helpful, subscribe to our newsletter below and keep up with the latest marketing trends.

tina-miletich
2018/02
Feb 8, 2018 3:25:22 PM
Why You Should Say No to a
Strategic Growth, Marketing, Digital Marketing

Feb 8, 2018 3:25:22 PM

Why You Should Say No to a "Yes Man"

Have you been questioning lately whether or not your agency is really helping your business? This may be due to several reasons, but one outstanding factor in the industry is the “yes man” syndrome. If your agency is a “yes man” agency, then it’s time for a new agency. 

How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of our “How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 1” series.

The modern marketing landscape is more complex than ever. It’s a place where CMOs and marketing professionals must balance a huge variety of skills all while managing customers across a multitude of channels. Let’s dive into a few more reasons why it’s harder than ever to be a marketer: 

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 Data-driven marketing is key

Today there are an increasing number of tools to predict consumer behavior.  These tools can track everything from ad clicks to email opens to times spent on web pages. Access to these numbers have turned marketing into a science, which means data insights must inform all decisions and marketers have less of an excuse for not knowing what your customers want.

While this sounds like it should make the job of a marketer easier, it’s putting pressure on marketing and communications teams to make wise and effective decisions based on a plethora of data. This requires highly analytical teams that are able to draw valuable insights.

Creativity in Marketing is shifting

Creativity used to be a nebulous term in the marketing world. Traditionally, the quality of a piece of content or a campaign was the measure of successful creativity. These traditional campaigns took weeks or months to develop and were typically guided by subjective instinct.

This has changed drastically in today’s technology-driven business landscape. The measure of creative success is the value of the output, whether that’s awareness, leads, or sales. To this point, creativity is less subjective because it is backed by data.

Additionally, it requires working with customers to weave their experiences with creative efforts. This means that marketers must focus on the entire customer experience from start to end -- including the product, the buying experience, customer support, etc.

CMOs need more skills

There has been a shift in the skills needed for companies to compete and succeed. With digital, social, and mobile media, and big data rising, CMOs have had new job roles thrust on them. Adaptation is key and can ultimately define a company’s success. Some new skills CMOs must possess in the modern business landscape include:

  • A focus on statistics and data analytics and how they can be used to drive change.
  • An ability to quickly assess new platforms and technologies.
  • A deep understanding of the digital marketing space, such as search, design, eCommerce, user experience, and social media.
  • Content creation and community management skills.

Read our blog to learn about more skills CMOs need to succeed.

While marketing is definitely - getting more complex. This complexity is helping the adaptable and skilled Marketing teams capitalize on the change by targeting consumers more directly with more relevance.

tina-miletich
2018/01
Jan 31, 2018 9:00:00 AM
How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2
Creativity, CMO Skills, Business Insights, Marketing Data

Jan 31, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of our “How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 1” series.

How Complicated is Marketing These Days?- Part 1

Developing plans and strategies for marketing today is more challenging than it has ever been. Today’s marketing professionals must be experts in everything from analytics, data modeling, consumer behavior, and technology all the way through more artful elements such as campaign creativity and design.

complicated

 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the elements that have contributed to the marketing landscape: 

Consumers have more power

Consumers today expect to have a different relationship with brands and businesses than in decades before. Customers have increasing access to information, which means they have become more discerning perhaps more skeptical but certainly less loyal.

 Because of this, traditional selling doesn't work anymore. Companies’ practices are under increased scrutiny, forcing marketers to be totally transparent in communications. Not only this, but social media has given consumers a voice and they expect a two-way dialogue, meaning that responses and solutions to problems need to be faster and more personalized.

 Additionally, with the emergence of ecommerce, customers’ purchasing behavior is more global which is providing them with greater access to lower cost channels. This has ultimately put pressure on marketers to develop new ways to deliver value.

 Fast-paced

Today’s marketing landscape is moving faster than ever before. The rise of the Internet and, hence, the shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing has played a big role. Before the Internet, companies could take their time developing magazine or TV ads. But today’s marketing needs to be current. The rapid pace of technological developments of forcing marketers to decrease time to market for new products in order to keep up with competition.

 In order to keep up in this fast-paced environment and keep customers happy, more and more marketers are using marketing automation to streamline CRM tasks and workflows. Marketing automation focuses on the scheduling, segmentation, and tracking of marketing campaigns – keeping marketers tied to a constant pulse of what the customer desires leading to the need to communicate personally in the real-time.

 Technology

One of the biggest catalysts of change for marketing professionals has been technology. Today’s marketers must manage more technology than ever before. The CMO is no longer just the executive with brand concerns around flashy ad campaigns. Rather, they are leaders who must be conversant with emerging technologies.

 The wide variety of marketing channels available, spanning from social networks to distribution platforms like YouTube, offers more options than ever to reach consumers. Consumers are also impacted by technological changes in marketing. They’re targeted by more ads than ever before, often with higher relevance to their interests due to the huge amount of data they share.

 With this, marketers must be able to develop and manage strategies for reaching customers through each channel. Good advertising no longer means just delivering the right message in a compelling way; it also means delivering the message in the way that audiences prefer to receive it. Luckily, martech (aka, Marketing Technology) systems are making it easier for marketers to manage relationships with customers and, ultimately, this can enable a competitive advantage. That is if you know how to use the technology.

 As consumers have become more sophisticated and the landscape more crowded, developing plans and strategies for marketing today is the most challenging it has ever been. Check back soon for part 2 of How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2

tina-miletich
2018/01
Jan 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM
How Complicated is Marketing These Days?- Part 1
Marketing, Business Insights, Marketing Technology, Consumers

Jan 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How Complicated is Marketing These Days?- Part 1

Developing plans and strategies for marketing today is more challenging than it has ever been. Today’s marketing professionals must be experts in everything from analytics, data modeling, consumer behavior, and technology all the way through more artful elements such as campaign creativity and...

5 Skills Today's CMOs Must Have

It’s not easy to be today’s CMOs. With the advancement of technology and expanding engagement channels, the role of a CMO is evolving at a quicker pace than ever before. And, couple that with the fact they are increasingly more responsible for carrying the weight of the annual revenue goals. CMOs that fail to adapt and prosper will most likely be passed up by more nimble competitors in the market.

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Here are a few of the most essential skills CMOs will need to ensure the success of their brand as they forge into the future:  

  1. Leverages technology

In 2011, there were only about 150 marketing technology solutions available to businesses. In 2012, that number more than doubled, and in 2014, it nearly tripled to 1,000. Today, there are over 3,500 different tools available to marketers. It’s likely we’ll continue to see this number grow exponentially especially as today’s customers adopt more ways to engage with brands.

Moreover, as our technology-driven society shifts the marketing landscape, a successful CMO is no longer the person with the big vision to develop flashy ad campaigns. Instead, the CMO of the future must be the executive who’s conversant in technology. CMOs that understand emerging technologies -- specifically communication tools and of course marketing tech and data tools -- will be the ones that stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Understands the creative process

Today, design is a creative process that spans entire organizations, driven by the desire to better understand and meet consumer needs. More organizations are adopting design thinking processes in creating product and services that engage with their customers.  And every interaction is a brand experience -- owned by marketing and ultimately the CMO. In order to reach consumers, modern CMOs must understand how design can influence consumer behavior and how it fits into the overall marketing brand and business strategy. When a creative vision and business strategy are seamlessly aligned, design can transform a business, giving brands the ability to maintain relevance and vitality in a time where change is constant.

  1. Collaborates with the entire organization

Businesses that isolate marketing from their other teams risk building a company of fragmented goals and ideas. A CMO must work with other departments in order to maintain brand consistency and fulfill revenue goals. Whether it’s working with the accounting department to set budgets,  compiling and analyzing data with engineers, or working with the sales team to build up the pipeline, a successful CMO is one that can have authentic and frequent interactions across the entire enterprise. This, in turn, helps create a seamless and valuable customer experience. I recently talked with a new CMO who inherited a Marketing team who he said didn’t know the company revenue goals for the year when queried. This CMO in his exasperation was explaining to me ‘how could the team seriously claim to be working arm-in-am with sales if they truly couldn’t even recite the annual target.’

  1. Guides company strategy

Profit follows companies that understand and capitalize on customer behavior. Therefore, the CMO -- increasingly, being the person in an organization that holds the key to consumer behavior -- should have major influence in the company’s strategy. Furthermore, marketing in an age where driving powerful customer experiences is paramount to success is catapulting the CMO to new levels of importance.

  1. Data-driven

To succeed, CMOs of the future must be as much a quant as they are a creative thinker. With the focus shifting away from push marketing to pull marketing, CMOs must demonstrate they can be predictable revenue drivers with highly optimized budgets. For this to be possible, initiatives must be backed by critical data. Establishing metrics-driven marketing creates the right focus on driving value through better customer engagement.

Whether creating a brand identity based in design or wielding powerful martech, future CMOs must be comfortable with change and be able to capitalize on it. In the ever-changing marketing landscape, CMOs must not take for granted that what's working today will work tomorrow leaving them obsolete.

tina-miletich
2018/01
Jan 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM
5 Skills Today's CMOs Must Have
Understanding Data, CMO Strategies, Creative Process, CMO Skills, Collaboration

Jan 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM

5 Skills Today's CMOs Must Have

It’s not easy to be today’s CMOs. With the advancement of technology and expanding engagement channels, the role of a CMO is evolving at a quicker pace than ever before. And, couple that with the fact they are increasingly more responsible for carrying the weight of the annual revenue goals. CMOs...

The Outside CMO: How Can An On-Demand & Contracted CMO Help Your Business Grow and Thrive?

Your business’s marketing plan is a map to guide you toward your goals. Without executive marketing talent to help you create that map, you’ve likely experienced a number of challenges that are holding you back from achieving those goals.

35ed586b-321e-4f38-9eab-515078cbcbc1.jpg

Businesses that lack strong marketing leadership put themselves at risk to lose sales and revenue. Because your priorities may be on other things, marketing your business takes a backseat. Poor planning and execution can ultimately leave your business vulnerable -- whether it’s being outpaced by your competitors, not positioning yourself strategically in the market, failing to resonate with your customers, etc.

However, if you know you need experienced marketing leadership, but you’re not quite ready for a full-time in-house resource, the outside Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can help. A seasoned marketing executive can provide startups and SMBs the vital leadership and execution that will result in successful marketing programs, guiding your business toward its long-term goals.

Why would a company want to hire an outside CMO?

Here are a few ways businesses can benefit from on-demand executive marketing talent:

  1. Immediate Impact on a Strategic Level

Outside CMOs bring a career’s worth of experience and a fresh perspective to the table, from which they can immediately begin developing a strategic plan to organize available resources at your business. Their broad-based and on-demand perspective allows Outside CMOs to provide best practices for:

  • Marketing strategy formulation,
  • Development of positioning and messaging for your brand,
  • Market segmentation,
  • Customer acquisition and sales pipeline development,
  • Establishment of performance metrics,
  • Selection of vendors for specialized tasks,
  • Implementation, management, and coordination of marketing initiatives and efforts, and much more.

While members of your team focus on specific projects, an Outside CMO is able to focus on bringing all of these pieces together to create a cohesive strategy that drives your business’s success in the market.

  1. Widen the Talent Pool

C-level executives come from a wide variety of industries, educational backgrounds, and job experiences. And finding the right one that understands your business is imperative to your success.

Widening the talent pool outside of your physical area by utilizing an Outside CMO yields more personnel options and a wider range of expertise. You’re able to pull in talent from around the world and find the person that fits your business’s unique needs.

  1. Convenient and Cost-Effective

With an Outside CMO, you’ll avoid the hassle of bringing on or replacing an in-house CMO -- which means you’ll avoid hiring delays, turnover, long-term commitments, relocation costs, and more. All of these extra hurdles are not only inconvenient, but can also add up in the form of lost money to your business.

Outside CMOs bring impactful experience and expertise especially concerning digital transformation. Partnering existing marketing strategy with new CMO strategies from outside your organization can significantly impact bottom line without completely deconstructing your marketing practice. For smaller organizations that don’t have a CMO, an Outside CMO provides the business acumen to help you develop a marketing strategy that aligns with their existing business model. Finally, an Outside CMO is beneficial for businesses in the startup or emerging phases who may be running on tighter budgets.

Your businesses success relies on a fine-tuned marketing strategy. Utilizing an Outside CMO allows you to leverage high-level talent in smaller increments of time and budget, while still gaining qualified expertise that will help accelerate your business.

tina-miletich
2017/12
Dec 18, 2017 4:20:19 PM
The Outside CMO: How Can An On-Demand & Contracted CMO Help Your Business Grow and Thrive?
Business Insight, Business Growth, Strategic Growth, Marketing Leadership, CMO Strategies

Dec 18, 2017 4:20:19 PM

The Outside CMO: How Can An On-Demand & Contracted CMO Help Your Business Grow and Thrive?

Your business’s marketing plan is a map to guide you toward your goals. Without executive marketing talent to help you create that map, you’ve likely experienced a number of challenges that are holding you back from achieving those goals.

Where does insight come from and why is it so important to business?

 I recently had an interesting conversation over lunch about being prescient in life and business. After discussing Jeff Bezos’ drone delivery initiative, a very accomplished colleague of mine and leader in his industry was talking about an interview he gave in the late 80's in Fortune Magazine.

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 In the interview he predicted that individuals would soon have the ability to manage trades using their small personal computers while sitting by the pool. In essence, he was describing the self-trading and myriad of other self-wealth management capabilities as well as hand-held computer devices made available to individuals over the last decade.

E-trading led to the birth of a whole new occupation and market: day-trading. However, during this conversation, he did not give himself much credit for being a creative visionary for making this prediction. But if not a visionary during the pre-tech boom, then what? If not visionary, then extremely insightful and perhaps super tuned-in to emerging/potential trends?

So I began to ponder… How is Insight Generated?

This conversation stuck with me. Both Jeff Bezos and my colleague were ahead of their times, that much is clear. But how does one become insightful enough about their surroundings to make predictions as telling as these? Is there a possibility of an insight equation? Here’s where my mind wondered:

  • (Understanding the current state of things) + (Having a pulse and memory of trends) + (Realization of where everyone else is) = Insight Generated

Or maybe it’s

  • (Understanding your own presence) + (Having a pulse and memory of trends) + (Realization of the current environment) = Insight Generated

Let’s try the equation with a simple example of something that gets played out in my house all the time between my two young daughters (9yrs & 7.5 years old):

  • (My mom sees me teasing my little sister, my little sister is starting to cry) + (Last time I teased my little sister, I was scolded and sent to my room until I could learn to play nice) + (My little sister is crying and calling for mom; my mom is busy making dinner and her phone is ringing) = I am going to be sent to my room.

The point here is that insight generation depends on your ability to collect, organize and retain data, generate a variety of analytic models from that data, and then analyze the generated models themselves.

The example above is truly simple and really isn’t insight, it’s understanding cause and effect of your own actions.

Let’s think about something a little more innovative than my children sparring…

  • (The SONY walkman allows individuals to enjoy music personally anywhere) + (Digital Technologies are advancing into a more connected, handheld device world) + (Human expectations around immediate entertainment satisfaction is growing) = IPod

And, along with the IPod came the entire evolution of the music industry.

So why should we care about insights? And, why is this important in the Marketing world? Huge amounts of data are being captured every second. If you can make sense of this data as it applies to your business, you’ll be able to act upon it. Hard-earned insights that are as actionable as possible are primed to drive value for your organization. And ultimately, this is how businesses set themselves apart from the competition.

I’m curious! Do you have an insight equation you’d like to share?

tina-miletich
2017/12
Dec 11, 2017 4:57:37 PM
Where does insight come from and why is it so important to business?
Business Insight, Understanding Data, Creativity, Insights, Creative Formula, Marketing Insights, Customer Data

Dec 11, 2017 4:57:37 PM

Where does insight come from and why is it so important to business?

 I recently had an interesting conversation over lunch about being prescient in life and business. After discussing Jeff Bezos’ drone delivery initiative, a very accomplished colleague of mine and leader in his industry was talking about an interview he gave in the late 80's in Fortune Magazine.

Admitting You’re the Idiot is the First Step...

After years of trying desperately to hide it… I finally admit that I’m the idiot, and I’m okay with it. Yes, really. Let me explain.

questioning.jpg

I recently had a familiar conversation with someone who was trying to understand what I do. Once again I found myself woefully unprepared for such a conversation. I often find it difficult to explain that I help organizations solve problems -- usually brought on by technological advances -- ones that they haven’t put into practice for their org but find their customers adopting first.

Also, let me explain that I am not a technologist, I’ve been a Creative Director, a CEO and a CMO but I still have a hard time defining what it is I do exactly. One friend coined me as a “Creative Strategist” but I tell everyone, I am a Marketer with lots of digital know-how, oh hell, let’s be honest, sometimes, I tell people I am Creative Director. Marketing works most of the time because this is a catchall for all the areas we may find ourselves when helping clients.  

I walked away from this conversation frustrated with myself. Before I go on, don’t worry, this is not a self-help post. The truth of the matter is that my job is always being redefined as new technology enters into the consumer space. Being a strategic and creative marketer means that I walk a fine line between creativity, product development, and data-driven business  planning.

What is a creative and strategic marketer?

There’s quite a few of us out there and we provide help to organizations, big and small. The help we provide covers understanding how the brand is going to be consumed by current and potential customers. In this instance the consumption of the brand usually means not only what we consider traditional branding activities but also what is coined as User Experience -- and that has everything to do with how customers are appreciating not only a brand’s software interface but also all the way to how they are receiving marketing messaging through digital communication channels.   

So, what makes me the idiot?

While I started in the creative world, I now find myself working with all sorts of businesses to solve all different types of problems. So, what makes me the idiot besides the obvious?

I often encounter problems I have never solved before and have no idea how to solve. In the business world, things are evolving so quickly around technology that new problems are emerging every second of every day. And this is precisely why I’m okay with being a self-proclaimed  idiot.

While businesses can easily identify threats of disruption, I like to focus on the upside of disruption. That is, how can I answer the call to action around change and realize the benefits that could boost a brand. I admit to not always having the answers to new problems that arise for my clients. I hope you guys aren’t reading this now! However, this forces innovation, and this is what it means to be a creative and a strategist. Here’s how it works:

Preparing to understand the problem

Being a successful strategic marketer often requires seeking out the people you need from the various domains that will help you completely understand the problem at hand including always starting with the customer. Once you assemble the resources necessary to understand the problem fully (and this could include operations, tech, sales, finance, etc), the work of gathering and synthesizing information and data points to eliminate or solve the problem begins.

Empower innovation

It is easy to identify that threats come from new sources: digital, changing consumer behaviors, and competition from unexpected places. But often businesses make the mistake of looking at the problem from a limited point of view, and therefore try to apply an old solution to overcome a new problem.

By thinking from the market, technical, customer, and competitive perspectives and melding information from each into an overall understanding, you are able to see a fresh perspective and develop new answers.

Marketing in an Age of Change

Marketing has changed so much in the last 20 years. While marketing was never easy, technology has made it a whole lot tougher. What used to be a matter of identifying needs and communicating benefits now requires businesses to build immersive experiences that engage consumers from cradle to grave. That means businesses must seamlessly integrate a whole new range of skills and capabilities. I like to believe the future is bright and I tell the junior staff members that all the time especially as we humans continue to develop new technology and ways of interacting.

Thank you for helping me sort out what it is I do…  but please if you see me on the street, don’t yell out that’s the idiot.  Keep questioning the norm, look at problems from new angles and enjoy the ride we humans are on...

tina-miletich
2017/12
Dec 5, 2017 10:09:38 AM
Admitting You’re the Idiot is the First Step...
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Creative, Strategy, Creative Thinking, Marketing Strategy

Dec 5, 2017 10:09:38 AM

Admitting You’re the Idiot is the First Step...

After years of trying desperately to hide it… I finally admit that I’m the idiot, and I’m okay with it. Yes, really. Let me explain.

It’s a New Age and Marketing Has a New Face.

In globalizing markets, businesses can no longer survive and thrive as siloed organizations, where marketing stands apart from sales. The two must work hand-in-hand, with marketing virtually obsessing about learning everything possible about customers, then—and this is the key point—leveraging that data by passing it on to sales in a smooth, consistent and real-time way.

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This is the Age of the Customer. Customers are exposed to marketing constantly, in multiple formats and on multiple devices. It’s critical that a marketing organization have access to the skills and tools to rise above the noise, understand customers intimately, and pass on that understanding to sales in the form of targeted marketing. It’s also the age of one-on-one marketing and constantly changing sales cycles. Marketing campaigns have to be right-on-target, right-on-time and dedicated to passing on highly qualified leads to sales.

That means becoming immersed in Inbound Marketing as much as Outbound Marketing: where marketers are bringing customers to you through the whole ecosystem of digital communications, The Web, Mobile, Social Media or truly anything Internet enabled. It also means having access to the tools to put today’s Relevant Marketing into place. That translates to Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP), the collective name for the class of digital tools that allow you to connect with customers and collect relevant, actionable customer data from a myriad of touch points and pass it on in an usable format to your sales force. But it also requires a guide through the whole digital ecosystem—someone who knows how to navigate the territory—to help you get the information to your sales team before your competition sprints to the finish line ahead of you. 

If you fail to transform your organization into one dedicated to Relevant Marketing, you are apt to leave your sales team Starving in the Wilderness.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 5:07:38 PM
It’s a New Age and Marketing Has a New Face.
Future of Retail, Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction

Jan 8, 2017 5:07:38 PM

It’s a New Age and Marketing Has a New Face.

In globalizing markets, businesses can no longer survive and thrive as siloed organizations, where marketing stands apart from sales. The two must work hand-in-hand, with marketing virtually obsessing about learning everything possible about customers, then—and this is the key point—leveraging that...

Building brand awareness in an age of increasing competition

In the new, global marketplace, it’s more complex—and more important—than ever to build brand awareness. In nearly every industry, competition is fierce and it’s harder than ever to capture your potential customers’ attention. The only way to effectively deal with this challenging situation is to effectively employ a comprehensive program of modern, digital marketing, blended with traditional marketing strategies.

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That, of course, means spreading awareness of new, digital marketing techniques throughout your organization. Business-as-usual is no longer good enough to build brand awareness in a world filled with the noise of countless brand messages telegraphed across myriad forms of media.

On the positive side of the coin, when you are able to rise above the fray and build brand awareness among your perfect customers, one success lead directly to another: demand generation. In turn, you then feed the sales cycle, again leading to increased demand generation. Once this positive cycle is initiated, a business joins the world of modern/global marketing.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 5:02:03 PM
Building brand awareness in an age of increasing competition
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction, User Interface

Jan 8, 2017 5:02:03 PM

Building brand awareness in an age of increasing competition

In the new, global marketplace, it’s more complex—and more important—than ever to build brand awareness. In nearly every industry, competition is fierce and it’s harder than ever to capture your potential customers’ attention. The only way to effectively deal with this challenging situation is to...

Skin Interface Buttons

Expanding the small screen interface with projected skin buttons. Yes, that’s what I said, projected skin buttons. Whaaaaaaat? Think of it this way, smart watches or devices similar to those that we wear and go are typically designed with small screens for our comfort. 

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However, that doesn’t make them easy to interact with. Computing power in these small devices is getting more powerful and we’d like to add more functionality.

O’kaaay, go on... 

And, we all don’t want an iPhone 6 Plus size smart watch strapped to our wrists. But most humans past the age of 5yrs, just like me, suffer from the fat finger syndrome on these small interfaces.

There’s an answer. Researchers: Gierad Laput, Robert Xiao, Xiang ‘Anthony’ Chen, Scott E. Hudson, and Chris Harrison presented their solution to extend small screen user interfaces by demonstrating their technology to project buttons onto your skin from the small wearable device (aka, a watch). The research presented in 2014 proposes extending the watch’s surface by using projections of buttons that control the interface of the device on the wearer’s skin. See the entire research presented here on

Chris Harrison’s website

What does this have to with marketing & customer engagement?

This may be in the camp of technology research now but within a few years, we marketers are going to be concerned with which button the wearer clicked and what they were doing at the moment of the click. Add geo-location and biometrics on-top of that equation and real-time marketing just took on a whole new definition. Gotcha thinking, yet?

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:54:08 PM
Skin Interface Buttons
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction, User Interface

Jan 8, 2017 4:54:08 PM

Skin Interface Buttons

Expanding the small screen interface with projected skin buttons. Yes, that’s what I said, projected skin buttons. Whaaaaaaat? Think of it this way, smart watches or devices similar to those that we wear and go are typically designed with small screens for our comfort. 

Evidence of technology crawling out of the sludge

"I'm not a scientist or a physicist, Mr. Spock..."  

In the original Star Trek episodes, the sliding doors were controlled by a man off-camera. On cue he opened the doors, tugging on a wire threaded through a pulley system. Now, commonplace sensor technology opens doors with ease as someone approaches to enter or leave a building. As our entertainment illusions have advanced from the original Star Trek days, so has our perception of technologies abilities to interpret our human moves and react accordingly. 

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Think Prometheus, Minority Report, Avatar, Iron Man and the latest Star Trek feature films -- all of these show the human interacting with intelligent technology by a swipe of the hand. In return, a 3-D hologram’ish image moves and responds accordingly, just as we might believe technology of the future could behave. In order for the technology in these Sci-Fi movies to react to the human waving their hands around (must have been fun for the actors against the green screen, NOT!), there have to be sophisticated and interpretive sensors built into the technology we witness in our beloved Sci-Fi movies.

Apical, headquartered in London is developing this sophisticated and interpretive human movement software today and they call it Spirit. Spirit detects an individual as they move through a space and analyzes where they are going, where they are looking, for how long, their movements and potentially their emotions being emitted on the face. 

In an interview recently with VentureBeat Michael Tusch, CEO and cofounder of Apical notes that non-smartphone products using the technology, such as sensors [customers and marketers may see this first in retail spaces] may emerge by the end of 2015, and smartphones with this capability will follow sometime in 2016.  

Check out this YouTube video demonstrating the analysis the Spirit technology is completing on passersby in a public space:

 

 

 
tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:47:55 PM
Evidence of technology crawling out of the sludge
Future of Retail, Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction

Jan 8, 2017 4:47:55 PM

Evidence of technology crawling out of the sludge

"I'm not a scientist or a physicist, Mr. Spock..."  

Keeping Demand Generation Going

 It’s not enough just to begin the process of demand generation. You have to be able to sustain it over time. That means it has to become a part of your organizational DNA. To be sure that’s what happens, everyone in your company needs to understand that you are no longer just a software manufacturer or insurance company, you are also a modern marketing organization—in every corner of your business.

demandgeneration_960.jpg


The place to begin this kind of radical transformation is at the very top of an organization. Everyone in your C-suite needs to be committed to driving your marketing machine forward and keeping it fueled with constant support.

Then, moving through the organization, every employee needs a rock-solid understanding of just how important it is to keep the sales cycle nurtured and healthy with growing brand awareness and constant demand generation. In time, a brand awareness/demand generation cycle should begin to perpetuate itself, but constant vigilance is necessary to be sure your program doesn’t go off-track, creating just the opening your competition needs to surge ahead of you in the marketplace. You and your modern-marketing guide will work together to be sure your brand awareness plan stays on-track well into the future.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:26:48 PM
Keeping Demand Generation Going
Demand Management, Marketing Automation, Digital Strategy, Demand Generation

Jan 8, 2017 4:26:48 PM

Keeping Demand Generation Going

 It’s not enough just to begin the process of demand generation. You have to be able to sustain it over time. That means it has to become a part of your organizational DNA. To be sure that’s what happens, everyone in your company needs to understand that you are no longer just a software...

Effectively Integrating Marketing Automation

 As you begin to look at integrating marketing automation into your organization, it’s important to understand just how, when and where to begin the process. The people in your organization need to be prepared for this massive change in mindset from traditional, disjointed marketing techniques to a new, integrated program of marketing that includes marketing automation at its very center.

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The key to successful introduction of this new way of doing business is communication. Be sure you are constantly updating your Marketing and Sales staff about changes being made and letting them know how their roles will change (hopefully for the better). As in any period of change, some preparation is necessary before your business can truly change its personality. Keep in mind that it’s all about communication and that an expert guide can help you successfully plan your trip into the new territory.

Of course, short-term success employing marketing automation and integrating it into your marketing regimen is not enough. You need a plan for long-term success in the ever-changing marketplace. That, of course, means being ready, willing and able to stay ahead of the curve and constantly building an organization dedicated to change and improvement.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:19:42 PM
Effectively Integrating Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation, MAP, Digital Transformation

Jan 8, 2017 4:19:42 PM

Effectively Integrating Marketing Automation

 As you begin to look at integrating marketing automation into your organization, it’s important to understand just how, when and where to begin the process. The people in your organization need to be prepared for this massive change in mindset from traditional, disjointed marketing techniques to a...

The Agency as a Modern Species

Recently, I have been reading a lot of articles about the “new agency.” The term is being used to describe a niche organization that offers expertise in one specific area. These agencies have their place and can provide valuable services in particular circumstances. In fact, I partner with many of these agencies. But it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that, for the most part and over the long term, clients need a full partner that can provide the whole range of services needed to ensure customer engagement. That means a mix of management consulting, branding, creative services, strategy and technical know-how talent. 

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Throughout a career that goes back to the early 90s, I’ve learned how important it is to bring all those services together in one place. While my career has always been rooted in the fact that I’ve been a digital expert from the very beginning, I am really a hired problem solver and have designed my agency around that one simple description. While the designation itself may sound simple, making it work in real-world practice is anything but.

Over the years, I have found that—while others have tried to pigeon-hole me as simply a digital expert—my early and significant expertise in the ever-evolving digital world has been a means to an end: building a career and agency that works as a full-service problem-solver for companies seeking to boost their market engagement and success in the marketplace. I believe we are creating a new species of agency—the problem solver. It’s a chameleon-like animal that changes based on whatever a client’s new problem is. And we know that there will always be new problems brought on by changes in customer behavior and based on responses to technology advancements.

In our problem-solving agency, one moment we are researching and providing business analysis on an operational issue, while the next we are developing a strategy and an infographic to communicate findings and/or suggestions. And, then in the next nanosecond we may be exploring an organization’s customer base and developing engagement plans, a creative look and feel, and even the tone and voice that should be used in brand messaging to elicit the best response. At this very moment, I can point to many different projects at my agency and say that we are working on just as many creative engagement campaigns as we are helping organizations think through how to internally organize their operations and internal talent to be better marketers, salespeople or engagement experts.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the REAL “new agency” is one that is forever adaptable, tapping into specialized talent when needed, and offering a full array of “on the ground” and “30,000 foot visions” to service clients based on their changing and developing new needs because of enhancements in technology.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 2, 2017 4:37:02 PM
The Agency as a Modern Species
Digital Strategy, Outsourced Marketing, Marketing As A Service

Jan 2, 2017 4:37:02 PM

The Agency as a Modern Species

Recently, I have been reading a lot of articles about the “new agency.” The term is being used to describe a niche organization that offers expertise in one specific area. These agencies have their place and can provide valuable services in particular circumstances. In fact, I partner with many of...

HEEDing the Call for the Happy Marriage of Digital/Human Worlds

From: Tina Miletich, Principal, HEED© Group

 

If you’re a science fiction buff you knew the day would come when the line between digital and human intelligence—existence, really—was so thin as to be virtually non-existent. And, as an SF devotee, you also know that there are two possible views of the impact of this disappearing barrier.

One school of thought (think Asimov’s I, Robot) is that the trend will lead to a grab-bag of disasters, eventually leading to a society ruled by non-human intelligence. The other view is that this intimate relationship between human and digital worlds is the path to human enhancement. By using the tremendous—and ever-increasing—digital resources at our fingertips to improve human life, we are making artificial intelligence an extension of human intelligence, not a separate, evil entity bent on our destruction.

My feet are planted firmly in the second, positive view. My years working in digital/interactive media have made me a human/technology optimist. I’ve seen the myriad ways digital technology has improved our lives, from providing real-time access to news and information, to opening whole new worlds of entertainment, to helping product designers build and market exactly the products their customers need. And I believe we have yet to scratch the surface of the potential of the digital/human intelligence connection.

In fact, I believe that the relationship between humans and digital is true symbiosis. (Merriam Webster’s definition for symbiosis is: “The mutually beneficial living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms.”) As humans have evolved and sought to solve increasingly complex problems facing humankind, digital evolution has kept pace. For example, medical researchers work hand-in-hand with their digital partners to solve intricate medical puzzles and help people struggling with medical issues lead full lives. The human/digital partnership truly helps human be more human. As time goes on, I believe human and digital will evolve together, each driving the other into new territory. By understanding and participating in this process, we can ensure that humankind consistently gains from this relationship.

That’s why I have established HEED© (Human Experience and Engagement via Digital), a consultancy dedicated to helping clients understand and use this digital/human symbiosis to enhance current product offerings and create products perfectly suited to the new all-digital world. We are showing clients how to take the leap and thrive in the new geography.

In Case You Had Any Doubts

The evidence of the disappearing human/digital divide is all around us. In fact, the world is virtually enmeshed in the Internet. (The term Worldwide Web seems more appropriate than ever.) According to recent research from Cisco Systems, “More things are connecting to the Internet than people — over 12.5 billion devices in 2010 alone. Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) predicts some 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020.” The report goes on note just a few examples of how this Internet of Things is expanding exponentially:

  • A Dutch company, Sparked, is producing wireless sensors to be used on cattle. The sensors detect signs of illness or pregnancy in the cattle and send a message to a farmer’s device.
  • Medical device companies are using wireless sensors to monitor cardiac patients and send signs of abnormalities to caregivers.
  • In smart homes and businesses everywhere, devices are conducting ongoing conversations with one another. Let’s say that, in a fully wired smart home, the homeowner gets an email on his smartphone that his first morning meeting has been pushed back 45 minutes, and a traffic report telling him there’s a 20-minute delay due to an accident. The phone resets his alarm for the right time, while sending messages to his coffeemaker and car to start at precisely the right moments.

And, can fully autonomous devices be far away when you consider developments like Google's newest, and soon-to-be-built fleet of self-driving cars, which will be custom-built prototypes with no steering wheels or control pedals. Test vehicles are equipped with rooftop LIDAR systems, with additional sensors located where conventional cars have side-view mirrors. But even more impressively, the vehicles will be programmed to make “decisions” about how to best safeguard their passengers.

Bottom line: Digital devices have begun to reason in a very human way. The next step in evolution for digital is development of an even more human trait: self-awareness. Clearly, development of this trait will dictate a more equal and deepening relationship between the two parties. More than ever, it is clear that our fates are firmly welded together.

 

The Only Remaining Question for Businesses

 

The question is no longer whether businesses should become citizens in the new hybrid world, but when they take the leap. And the answer to that is A.S.A.P. No matter what business you’re in, you can be sure your competitors are seeking the best routes into the new territory. With the proper guidance, any businessperson can learn how to make digital intelligence an ally in creating the perfect products and services for the human/digital world.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 2, 2017 4:15:47 PM
HEEDing the Call for the Happy Marriage of Digital/Human Worlds
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction

Jan 2, 2017 4:15:47 PM

HEEDing the Call for the Happy Marriage of Digital/Human Worlds

From: Tina Miletich, Principal, HEED© Group

 

If you’re a science fiction buff you knew the day would come when the line between digital and human intelligence—existence, really—was so thin as to be virtually non-existent. And, as an SF devotee, you also know that there are two possible views of...

Save Money, Make Secondary Research First
Any product manager, marketer, creative and executive should understand their customer almost as well as they understand themselves.

 

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Through understanding the needs, priorities and concerns of your target audience, you are able to not only design great products for that audience, but you can also develop the appropriate emotionally-appealing messaging that will make them consider your products or services.

Let’s face it understanding your target audience and customers, is key to a successful business. Getting to the core concerns of your audience usually requires Primary and/or Secondary research.

Primary research can take time and a lot of budget to complete and often requires a professional research team for it to be done right. Personally, we love primary research and try to conduct whenever we have the time and budget. This is because there is nothing more beneficial than having a conversation with your target customer or observing your target customers in their environment or try to use your product. You will learn the most when you actually hear the words of what customers need/want from their own mouths.

However, a lot of Small and Medium sized businesses can’t commit the resources to a Primary research project. That’s where secondary research can be beneficial.

We all know how to do secondary research and it’s super cost effective, it just takes the time to do the work and the time to clearly define what information it is that you need to know.

Conducting secondary research is similar to the research that we all learned how to do throughout school – where we were posed a question and had to go to news articles, historical and encyclopedic volumes and statistical databases to form an answer and a thesis.

Doing secondary market research regarding your target audience is the same. You need to learn about the trusted volumes of information and which data you need from them to answer your primary questions that you have about your target audience. These data sources are all now available online either free or through a subscription (we will talk about these in a future post.)

What I do want to outline in this post is how to focus your secondary research so you are being as efficient as possible as a would be researcher. For instance, if you are a marketer and you are given a new “widget” to market. What is the information you must know about your target customer and the widget itself to have a successful marketing campaign.

Here’s what you really need to know: Why would anyone want/need this widget, how much is anyone willing to pay for this widget, and who is the person most likely to buy this widget?

Let’s take each question, one at a time:

        1. Why would anyone want/need this widget?
To answer this question, you need to understand what problem this widget is solving for people.
 
How do you do that?
 
Simply, first, a good marketer would understand what the product does completely. Let’s say that the widget is a blood glucose meter.
 
Second, you need to understand how your widget fits into the category of blood glucose meters. Meaning how does your widget compare to other like products on the market. This research is easy as you can just open an excel sheet or google sheet and make a column comparing different features and functionality of other blood glucose meters on the market.
 
2. How much is anyone willing to pay for this widget?
In that same spreadsheet list out the prices of the other blood glucose meters.
 
Second, you should understand how much it costs to make the widget.
 
Third, you should understand how the customer is going to actually buy the widget, online, in a store, at a dr’s office.
 
3. Who is the person most likely to buy this widget?
Who actually needs a blood glucose meter is your first question to answer this question. Obviously it is for people who need to measure their blood glucose but does that include all people? These are the questions you need to ask yourself and get the answers before developing any marketing plans. 

This is a very simple way of looking at secondary research questions that need to be answered, my point is that you can educate yourself through a little bit of effort about your target customer and for very little money, you can get. It just takes work and the willingness to gather, record, categorize and compare the data that is already available to us through our own efforts.

Get smarter about your product, competitors, and your customers. It will make you a better marketer, executive and/or creative in the end. 

tina-miletich
2020/09
Sep 23, 2020 2:28:39 PM
Save Money, Make Secondary Research First
Digital Strategy, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Advertising Agency

Sep 23, 2020 2:28:39 PM

Save Money, Make Secondary Research First

Any product manager, marketer, creative and executive should understand their customer almost as well as they understand themselves.

 

Why Long - Tailed Keywords are KEY for a Strong Landing Page

I’m glad you guys are back! 

Last week I took you guys through the importance of using long - tailed keywords (link to last week's blog) rather than using short - tailed and broad match keywords, especially if you are working with a smaller paid search budget. 

bench-accounting-C3V88BOoRoM-unsplash

These long - tailed keywords are the keywords that will end up triggering higher-quality traffic for your Google Ads and Bing Advertising strategy. Versus triggering traffic that is just looking for generalized information on the topic area that your product and services fit into. Ultimately, these high-quality users are more likely to convert on your landing page and more likely to eventually become customers. 

So just because you have included these long - tailed keywords in your strategy does not mean your work (and their work) stops here. These long - tailed keywords are pertinent for not only your overall keyword strategy, but also for your ad copy and your landing pages as well.

So why does this even matter?

It matters because not including these long - tailed keywords in your landing page copy, as well as in your ad copy will end up lowering your overall quality score in Google Ads and/or Bing Advertising. The lower your quality score, the less amount of time these search engines algorithms will choose to show your ads over competitors, even if someone searched for an exact term you have included in your strategy. 

Whether these keywords and words that have the same meaning or context as your keywords, (Yes! The search engines are that smart - you can read about the Google Hummingbird update here on Moz), are in the actual landing page copy or in the title of the landing page, you just need to make sure your page content utilizes the actual keywords or very close synonyms to make the page relevant to the search query. Not only is this pertinent to raise your accounts overall ad quality scores, but it provides a synchronized user experience for your potential customers. 

If you guys are still with me, you may be thinking this is a very trivial blog post about something that everyone already knows about. If that’s the case, then more power to you! However, this notion of having everything be synonymous from keyword buy, to ad copy to landing page copy is often overlooked as people who are managing paid search accounts don’t interface or direct the landing page experience in many firms. We have seen it here many times and it usually coincides with two phenomena 1) a lot of unqualified paid search traffic 2) little to no conversions on the landing page.

I’m here to give you a friendly reminder to all you guys and gals out there managing either your own brands account, or for a client - please, please, please make sure all those long - tailed keywords are what you are bidding on in search, your ads and landing pages are all using those keywords or synonyms.

For instance, if you are a marketing team of one or working on a small team, here’s a method I use. To make sure I end up including many, if not all of those long - tailed keywords on my landing pages and my search ads, I do the following - I start with the end in mind. I create the landing page where I want the user to visit from my search ads. Then I use a mini color code for myself and also anyone else on the team that I am working with to quickly reference all the keyword matches. It’s as simple as this: 

Pink Text on Landing Page= Long - Tailed Keywords
Yellow Text on Landing Page = Phrase or Exact Match Keyword 
Purple Text = Text that is not a keyword

Your page would end up looking like this after you color code it, for example:

        Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet:  

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Tempus egestas sed sed risus pretium quam vulputate dignissim suspendisse

Aliquam eleifend mi in nulla posuere sollicitudin. Lorem mollis aliquam ut porttitor. Mi in nulla posuere sollicitudin aliquam ultrices sagittis. 

Ultricies tristique nulla aliquet enim tortor at auctor. Massa sed elementum tempus egestas. At varius vel pharetra vel turpis nunc eget. Egestas purus….

So why is this helpful? It may sound a bit pointless to you, and that is totally fair, you do not have to do this in order to have a successful campaign. 

But I like it and client’s appreciate it too because at a quick glance, you can see right away how many of those keywords (exact, phrase and long-tail) are being included on the page. This is not a scientific process, it’s not complicated, but simply put, it is efficient and tells you what you need to know within a matter of seconds to write extremely relevant ads using the exact match and long-tail keywords as well as which keywords to bid on at the campaign level.

In the end, what you end up with are ads and landing pages that work well together to convert your visitor. And, we all know that higher conversions potentially mean more business.

Paid Search is oftentimes seen as a very convoluted process - but it truly does not have to be. Hopefully this quick little color coding technique can make things just a little easier for you as you start to develop your landing page and PPC strategy. It will allow you to quickly examine your landing page copy to make sure it includes all those long - tailed keywords and phrase/exact match keywords that will carry your campaign to success.

There is so much to Marketing, and it all starts with understanding your target customer, come back next week when we start exploring customer research techniques.

alana-bellinger
2020/09
Sep 15, 2020 4:44:28 PM
Why Long - Tailed Keywords are KEY for a Strong Landing Page
Digital Strategy, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Advertising Agency, Keyword Strategy, Long - Tail Keywords, Quality Scores, Landing Page

Sep 15, 2020 4:44:28 PM

Why Long - Tailed Keywords are KEY for a Strong Landing Page

I’m glad you guys are back! 

Last week I took you guys through the importance of using long - tailed keywords (link to last week's blog) rather than using short - tailed and broad match keywords, especially if you are working with a smaller paid search budget. 

On a Tight Paid Search Budget? Go For Long - Tailed Keywords!

As tempting as it may sound to include tons of broad keywords within your ad groups on either Google Ads or Bing Advertising, if you are on a tight PPC budget this strategy will do nothing for you and will eat away at your budget very quickly.

myriam-jessier-VHXiGXxwOQ4-unsplash

As you know, Google Ads and Bing Advertising gives you the option of including broad, phrase, or exact matches in your keyword strategy. Choosing broad match keywords will give you a boost in general user traffic to your website - but will it be high-quality traffic?

The answer is NO!

So why spend what little money your budget allows for on these types of keywords when it is not going to render you any new customers or positive revenue growth for your company. 

Since you are working with a smaller PPC budget, you want to spend that money to capture users who are searching for very specific terms and phrases related to your product or service. These users are way more likely to convert and turn into customers. How do you do this? You bid on terms and build PPC ads using long-tail keywords that are either phrase or exact matches. 

Once you start employing this highly targeted strategy, at the start, you will see a drop in things like sessions, page views, impressions, conversions, clicks etc. You will feel discouraged at first, which is totally normal. If you stick with this strategy, I promise it will benefit you and your brand in the long run by sending you very specific qualified traffic that is closer to buying than all that general traffic you would get from broad keywords (or otherwise known as short-tail keywords). 

Before you stop reading this blog, and continue on with what you have planned for the day, I want to take you through a real word example. Let’s say you are in the world of selling business software, specifically enterprise resource planning software or ERP software.

First, let’s start with a short - tail keyword, usually a term that is 1 - 2 words, like ERP. According to Google Ads Keyword Planner, this term, on average, has 90,500 searches per month (please remember this may not be exact but is trending information). Now, you may be saying wow, I NEED to include that keyword in my ad groups to drive those 90,500 users to my site - but let me stop you right there. As I mentioned earlier in the blog, short - tail keywords will increase the amount of traffic to your website, but these users are most likely just looking for general information about ERP’s, rather than wanting to actually purchase an ERP.  

Now let’s look at a slightly longer term, like ERP software. This term, on average, has 12,100 searches per month (please remember this may not be exact but is trending information). Okay, so we are certainly getting closer and have whittled that 90,000 down to 12,000 searches but, most, if not all of these searches are again, going to be users who are looking for education about this software. So now what? We go for that long - tailed keyword. 

Alright, now it’s time to look at a long - tailed keyword, a keyword that is generally between 4 - 5 words. The keyword ERP implementation cost estimate has an average of 10 searches per month. Obviously, that is a huge drop from the above 90,000 or 12,000, but these users are obviously in the market to actually purchase an ERP software, or are moving towards this rather than just looking around for general information.

To summarize - short - tail keywords have high search volumes, competition, and cost, whereas long - tail keywords have low search volumes, competition, and cost, but high conversion rates and focus (and who doesn’t want that?!). 

So the next time you are looking over the current keywords you have already included in your paid search strategy, or if you are in the process of adding keywords for the first time, remember to ask yourself this one thing - what type of user will this keyword bring in? Will they be low - caliber and unlikely to convert or will they be of high - quality and more likely to convert? 

In the end, I promise, this one simple strategy will make your small budget go so much further. And last of all, this highly focused strategy will take time to work so please, please, PLEASE do not get discouraged if it takes a few weeks to show positive results.

In my next blog, I’ll cover how your landing page should manage your high - quality traffic. 

Stay tuned for the next HEEDGROUP blog!

 

alana-bellinger
2020/09
Sep 9, 2020 12:49:07 PM
On a Tight Paid Search Budget? Go For Long - Tailed Keywords!
Digital Strategy, Marketing, Digital Marketing, Paid Search, Google Ads, Bing Advertising, Keyword Strategy, Long - Tail Keywords

Sep 9, 2020 12:49:07 PM

On a Tight Paid Search Budget? Go For Long - Tailed Keywords!

As tempting as it may sound to include tons of broad keywords within your ad groups on either Google Ads or Bing Advertising, if you are on a tight PPC budget this strategy will do nothing for you and will eat away at your budget very quickly.

Building a Facilitation Framework to Align and Prioritize Business Goals

Nowadays, with the boom in UX design, one significant way your agency can stand above the rest is by employing a participatory facilitation process that listens, synthesizes, and records documentation to better understand and prioritize not just the business' goals but the user's as well. Below I discuss two techniques for facilitating a UX workshop; the "Alignment and Agreement" and "Awareness Goals" exercises. 

pexels-pixabay-273230

Without veering off into brand culture, a design team must recognize that each designer's personality becomes the proprietary formula for a successful UX workshop. This goes without saying that building a participatory framework is unique to each agency; what works for one will not work for another.  

When deciding how much time you should take to complete the workshop anywhere between 1 to 2.5 days is perfect; otherwise, we get into a state of information overload and analysis paralysis. Try to keep your flow light and power through. 

A basic framework should touch on the following points: 
1. Goals
2. Questions
3. Processes

 Understanding the current state of the business via a Kick-off Call  

Although a kick-off call isn't necessarily the first step to creating a facilitation framework for UX Workshops, it should be noted that it is the initial step in not only establishing rapport between the agency and business but also understanding how designs should communicate to its user base and where to reach them from a strategic marketing perspective. This phase usually happens a week or two before the workshop. 
 
Your team should have ample time to go through the exhaustive research findings and feel confident and competent to hold a conversation with your client on their industry.  

A quick note on humility and collaboration: You don't need to know everything, that's why we are collaborating, but you do need to understand enough to not lose yourself within the conversation. When in doubt, always ask for clarification.  

Alignment and Agreement Exercise 

The Alignment and Agreement exercise defines what each stakeholder and designer hopes to get out of the session. It also answers if everyone is in agreement with what you want to get out of the workshop. Below is an overview of the exercise.  

Write down all stakeholder names, including yourself. 

Remember that your agency and co-works are buying into this product and service as well. There is no better way to feel more invested in your client's work than by putting yourself in their shoes. 

Set a timer for 5 mins  

Use your better judgment. If there is a room of 20 people work with a partner and add time on the clock. The time should not allow anyone to ruminate over these items. We are looking for instinctive feedback.   

Ask everyone: What do you hope to get out of this session?  

Each individual should state at least 3 items. Stick to one word or phrase, no repetitive statements. The reason for that is that repetitive statements create a false sense of alignment. 

Ask each individual to prioritize just one item of desired outcomes.  

Finally, write each word/phrase into a singular goal. 

Treat it like a mad lib: The goal is to fill in the blank 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

Awareness Goals Exercise 

The Awareness Goals Exercise utilizes a varying form of the Carver Method, a system developed by the U.S. military to assess threats. The goal is to determine what assets should be applied to neutralize a threat.  

In design, we are considering the time, effort, and willpower to accomplish any task; for example, how will audiences hear about our product or service? Regardless of what question is asked, you are already narrowing your scope of focus.  

On your product of choice, create a grid with 5 columns, one for each: tasks, desirability, attainability, resources, and timeframe. This exercise focuses on gaining rapid consensus while working with the entire group. After we have a healthy list of tasks marked out, we will apply values to each of the columns and add them up. Below is a more detailed description of the practice. 

Set your timer to 5 minutes per segment for a total of 25 minutes. 

Ask your workshop participants what tasks do we need to focus on to make users aware of our product and jot those down  

Generalize the tasks to more mechanical functions such as referrals, sponsorships, cloud storage, SEM/SEO or mechanical parts of the application itself, etc. 

Go through each touchpoint and assign a value of 1 - 10:  

 Desirability This is the wish-fulfillment area; what do you desire to see         completed?  

 Attainability How do-able is it? 

 Resources How effectively can we complete the task with the               information/tools/resources available? Are there gaps in our knowledge,   and  can we  proceed without it anyway? Remember not to go too deep   into  the minutia of each task.

The final touchpoint in this exercise is exclusive to the time it will take to complete the task. The amount of days it will take to complete becomes the value we will add to our other touchpoints. Generally, the amount of time it takes for a team to work through any task is as follows: 

Short-Term - 30 Days
Medium- Term - 60 Days
Long-Term - 90 Days

Once all the values have been attributed to each column, we add them up. The sum serves as a tie-breaker between various short, medium, or long-term tasks.  

By the end of this group exercise, you will have a list of priorities that facilitates brand awareness and provides a clear roadmap to success.  

katlyn-carrion
2020/09
Sep 1, 2020 11:48:07 AM
Building a Facilitation Framework to Align and Prioritize Business Goals
Marketing, UX Design, Design, Advertising Agency, UX Workshop

Sep 1, 2020 11:48:07 AM

Building a Facilitation Framework to Align and Prioritize Business Goals

Nowadays, with the boom in UX design, one significant way your agency can stand above the rest is by employing a participatory facilitation process that listens, synthesizes, and records documentation to better understand and prioritize not just the business' goals but the user's as well. Below I...

To PPC or Not To PPC?

To PPC or Not To PPC really is and should be a question on a company's mind. On average, there are 40,000 search queries per second equating to 3.5 billion search queries a day and 1.2 trillion a year. With that being said, you would think the answer would be a simple yes, why would we not include PPC in our marketing efforts - but like anything in life, nothing is ever simple. 

pexels-photo-461077

There are many questions one should ask whether PPC is the way to go for their company, but one of the first questions is, "do we have the budget to not only compete against competitors but can we do it effectively? 

As you probably guessed, within the PPC sphere exists an extremely competitive ring. If you are a SMB, you are going to be competing against companies that have a much larger monthly budget than yours, some are even as high as $100,000 and above. For instance, can your $1,000 - $5,000 a month budget go against these top guns and actually provide results for your brand? It can, but your approach to how you run your PPC strategy must be different. 

Working with a small budget to generate paid search leads cannot be your only lead - generation tactic. You must have a full marketing and lead - generation machine firing on all cylinders. Meaning, other lead - gen efforts must be in place and running at the same time as PPC such as a landing page strategy on your website for campaigns, social media, perhaps content syndication, and a highly targeted linkedin strategy. We also cannot forget about email strategy. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of these strategies, not to worry! These are all topics we will be going into more detail on in future blog posts so stay tuned. 

You should also have to have an extremely focused and targeted keyword strategy, a topic we will dive into in a later blog post. 

So should you use PPC? The answer is yes, but if you are working with a smaller budget, you must make sure you have other lead - gen and marketing efforts in place that work alongside your PPC strategy to support your overall business goals.



alana-bellinger
2020/08
Aug 21, 2020 2:38:49 PM
To PPC or Not To PPC?
Marketing, Digital Marketing, Paid Search, Google Ads, Bing Advertising

Aug 21, 2020 2:38:49 PM

To PPC or Not To PPC?

To PPC or Not To PPC really is and should be a question on a company's mind. On average, there are 40,000 search queries per second equating to 3.5 billion search queries a day and 1.2 trillion a year. With that being said, you would think the answer would be a simple yes, why would we not include...

Assigning content a value? Here's a simple auditing tactic.

Historically, one of the best ways for marketers to generate leads online was to create gated content. You’d write useful, compelling content in the form of white papers and ebooks, and people would give you their contact information in return.

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However, the pendulum is swinging. With so much open content available online, competing gated content is taking a hit. Consumers don’t want to give up an email address for something they can get for “free.”

This leads us to an important question: Do we continue to gate content, which shortens the lead acquisition process, or do we leave it open for the whole world to access for free?

Like most things in business, the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis.

What’s More Important: A Name in the Database, or Web Traffic?

Your answer to that question is a good starting point. If you’re after web traffic, leave the content ungated. If you want leads, you should gate it.

But you should also take into account your business model and sales journey. Consider this: If you manufacture satellites, you likely have a long sales process requiring multiple conversations and negotiations. That could be a good indicator that gated content is a better fit.

If you’re selling fidget spinners, however, it’s a different story. Your customers know exactly what they want, can get it anywhere, and likely have no interest in fidget spinner-related content that requires them to give up their personal information.

Market research can also help you decide. If your fellow satellite manufacturers feature a number of blogs on how satellites operate in space, that’s a good indicator you shouldn’t gate similar content. Why would anyone “buy” it with their email address from you if they can get it for free? Conversely, if everyone is gating a certain piece of content, you could stand out by turning the information into blogs.

The truth: A Name in the Database and Web Traffic are both important!

At HEEDGroup, we help our clients conduct a content audit and ascribe value to the different pieces of content bucketing them into 3 categories: Low Value, Medium Value, and High Value.

LOW Value Content

The content classified as low value content is content that is easily accessible anywhere. This is content that you provide as a convenience but it doesn’t necessarily differentiate your brand/organization as an expert on a specific topic. We call this Free content or content that is not gated.

MEDIUM Value Content

The Medium value content, is content that is brand building and may even be high quality content that you paid to have it created for your organization: videos, white papers, checklists, etc. These pieces of content may be your loss leaders as they tend to drive or increase traffic to your site through social and search. These can still be industry specific research reports covered by you or your competitors but the difference in Medium Value Content is that it is not widely available and it should contain your position or stance on the topic covered in the asset. As mentioned before these are the brand building and traffic generating content assets you make available on your website.

HIGH Value Content

The next bucket of content is High Value content that should always be gated. This High Value gated content is content that only your company can provide your prospects and customers. This is usually educational content (whether it’s a cost analysis of a certain solution or a specific How-To for solving an industry solution that only your company provides). The point here is that, only you can provide this content. This content should be shared on your high traffic’d web pages and should be downloadable from a gated landing page for tracking purposes.

There’s another level of content strategy that you should research and we will probably cover it here on our blog too. And, that is content aligned to the buyer's journey. This approach requires more details and analysis before implementing. As a first step, try our HEEDGroup approach of Low, Medium and High content categorization.



tina-miletich
2018/08
Aug 6, 2018 5:37:28 PM
Assigning content a value? Here's a simple auditing tactic.
Marketing, Content Audit, Content Marketing

Aug 6, 2018 5:37:28 PM

Assigning content a value? Here's a simple auditing tactic.

Historically, one of the best ways for marketers to generate leads online was to create gated content. You’d write useful, compelling content in the form of white papers and ebooks, and people would give you their contact information in return.

GDPR Is Coming This Month: What Marketers Need to Know

Big news for marketers, regardless of where they’re located: On May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect. The GDPR is designed to protect the private data of EU citizens while giving them the power to control what happens with their data.

gdpr-3285252_1280

Failure to comply could result in serious penalties. For the most serious grievances, companies can be fined €20 million (about $24.5 million) or 4% of yearly revenue—whichever is higher.

Even if you operate out of the United States, the GDPR could still impact your company, as it covers any entity processing the personal data on anyone living in the European Union. Because of this, simply having a website that collects consumer data could open you up to GDPR regulations.

With so much on the line, it’s crucial marketers all over the world understand the basics of GDPR. 

GDPR’s Requirements for Marketers

The GDPR will change how many of us operate. The biggest changes will surround consent, data security, and customer access to data.

Consent is King

Under the new GDPR rules, anytime you want to collect or use a customer’s data for a specific purpose, you need consent. If you want to track their behavior on a website, you need consent. If you’d like to email a monthly newsletter, you need consent. If you want to share their data with a subsidiary, you need consent.

While you can receive this consent upfront, your request and explanation should be in simple language so that anyone can understand exactly how the data will be used. Similarly, you can only use it for the purposes you’ve outlined. If you collect an email address for the purpose of your monthly email blast, you can’t hand it off to a subsidiary to use in their email blasts—unless you clearly explain that intention upfront.

In addition, GDPR forbids asking for more than what’s essential for the task you intend to complete. Going back to our newsletter example: If you’re collecting email addresses for a newsletter, you shouldn’t also ask for phone numbers; they’re not needed for email blasts. With this in mind, you should review all content currently on your website. Check the fields you ask customers to complete. Ensure you’re not requesting anything unnecessary for your intended tasks.

Protection and Privacy

As its name suggests, the General Data Protection Regulation wants consumer data to be protected. The GDPR requires that all systems used to store customer data should have protections built right into them; IT departments can’t just put up protections on the outside.

Marketers should work closely with IT to ensure all customer data is secure from tampering. In addition, all marketers should adhere to cyber security best practices.

Similarly, you must keep your databases maintained. If the relationship with a customer is terminated, you should get rid of their data.

Finally, customers must be notified quickly if there’s a data breach. GPDR requires companies to notify customers of data breaches within 72 hours of learning about the breach.

Citizens Have a Right to Data

At any time, an EU citizen has the right to know if his or her data is being used, and what it is being used for. If an individual calls in with a question, he or she should be answered within a reasonable timeframe.

Because of this, data must be store efficiently and properly indexed so that a customer’s name can be quickly searched.

EU citizens also have the right to be forgotten. At a customer’s request, his or her data can be permanently erased from your system.

tina-miletich
2018/05
May 18, 2018 12:30:53 PM
GDPR Is Coming This Month: What Marketers Need to Know
Business Insight, Insights, Marketing Data

May 18, 2018 12:30:53 PM

GDPR Is Coming This Month: What Marketers Need to Know

Big news for marketers, regardless of where they’re located: On May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect. The GDPR is designed to protect the private data of EU citizens while giving them the power to control what happens with their data.

360-Degree Video: Marketing Without Blind Spots

A couple of years ago, Goldman Sachs made a bold prediction: In 10 years, VR will be bigger than TV, generating about $182 billion compared to $99 billion from TV. While VR headsets are still gaining traction in the public market, something similar has taken off: 360-degree video ads on social media platforms.

360degreecamera

 

When the School of Rock hit Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted to make a splash that would draw patrons to the show. By filming a scene with the cameras in the middle of the room, he provided an immersive experience for potential audience members. The scene was a success. The video generated 1 million views in only three days and sparked a 160% spike in the show’s ticketing website’s traffic.

It’s a concept that works every day. Data from over 700 million 360-degree ads shows 360-degree video ads receive a 46% higher video completion rate and a 14% higher ROI when compared to regular video.

Pulling this off, however, requires a slick strategy.

Secrets to 360-Degree Video

Setting up for a 360-degree video, especially when it’s for a promotion or ad, requires a lot of thought. Even if you only want to use it to give a tour of your new office or to highlight the conference you’re attending, you must be careful.

A few rules to follow:

Keep the tripod out of it—but keep it steady. If you need support for the camera, opt for a simple camera stick instead of a tripod. The tripod will show up in the video and obstruct some of the scene. Sacrificing the tripod doesn’t mean you should sacrifice stability. A jostling video will make viewers sick and turn them away.

Consider the best perspective. A bird’s eye view will put the audience above the action, but it also pulls them away. A regular height view will make them feel like they’re part of it. Meanwhile, an “ant’s eye view” make the action seem larger than life, while also making the viewer feel vulnerable.

Take advantage of human interaction. The School of Rock scene was fun because there was so much happening in all 360-degrees. Find shots that are equally entertaining. For example, a conversation between three colleagues at a conference is a great selection because it makes viewers feel like their part of the action.

Though these rules are good for getting you started, there’s much more to think about when it comes to 360-degree video ads. Have fun but make sure there is a purpose to your shoot. And, if you’ve done some interesting 360-degree videos, share your experiences with us.

tina-miletich
2018/04
Apr 12, 2018 12:17:23 PM
360-Degree Video: Marketing Without Blind Spots

Apr 12, 2018 12:17:23 PM

360-Degree Video: Marketing Without Blind Spots

A couple of years ago, Goldman Sachs made a bold prediction: In 10 years, VR will be bigger than TV, generating about $182 billion compared to $99 billion from TV. While VR headsets are still gaining traction in the public market, something similar has taken off: 360-degree video ads on social...

The Secrets Behind a Digital Brand Presence

You can’t foster a creative digital presence overnight. Gaining traction across the internet requires a multifaceted approach with a detailed maturity model for guidance. What that maturity model looks like will vary depending slightly on the market you’re in, but in general you’ll want to focus on social media, blogs, and advertisement.

mobile-phone-1875813_1920

Social Media Takes Real Work

Some companies will hand off their social media channels to an employee at random, almost as an afterthought. This approach rarely works out well.

That’s why companies have entire teams or agencies managing their accounts. Not only should each profile be completely filled out and updated, each account should post regularly to remain relevant. But even that is easier said than done. Boring, repetitive, or self-interested posts will drive away followers, so posts must be carefully written in order to engage followers.

Companies should also be nimble enough to respond to fans on social media. If someone asks your company a question on Twitter, will the person receive a timely response?

Social media is also a good place to promote your company’s content, especially blogs.

To continue gaining traction on social media, an account manager should regularly review social media stats in order adjust posts for better results.

Blogs Are Worth the Investment for your SEO

Like social media, blogging requires a good deal of time, but the results of this inbound marketing technique can be tremendous, especially when it comes to SEO.

Topics for blogs should be chosen carefully. For example, if you’re a small shoe company, it might not make much sense to blog in order to rank for the long tail keyword “football cleats”; you’d be facing an enormous amount of competition. However, if you were to write about “football cleats in cold and wet weather,” you’d have a much better chance of ranking in organic search results.

Digital Ads Require Careful Research

In addition to time, you may also need to invest hard dollars into your online presence by paying to rank on search engines like Google and Bing. But don’t just throw your money at these services.

Depending on your industry, you may face stiff competition for ranking, which could increase the spend necessary to gain traffic to your website.

After careful keyword research, decide which keywords are best for your company to compete for, then pay for those.

Social Ads Should be Strategic

Like digital ads, social media ads require an investment of time and money. However, done right, the results can be extraordinary.

Changing an ad should be done strategically. For example, when changing an ad you’re testing, only change one aspect at a time. This will help you track which elements of the ad are most successful. Split testing—presenting two ads for the same service or product with a different design—is another great way to determine what your target demographic really likes in order to see a higher ROI.

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tina-miletich
2018/03
Mar 20, 2018 2:02:19 PM
The Secrets Behind a Digital Brand Presence

Mar 20, 2018 2:02:19 PM

The Secrets Behind a Digital Brand Presence

You can’t foster a creative digital presence overnight. Gaining traction across the internet requires a multifaceted approach with a detailed maturity model for guidance. What that maturity model looks like will vary depending slightly on the market you’re in, but in general you’ll want to focus on...

Chatbots: Case Studies for Marketing (Part Two)

In our last blog , we explored the value of chatbots—little computer programs that reliably communicate with customers on your behalf, freeing your Marketing and Customer Service teams to focus on higher-level tasks.

Since these bots are surging in popularity, we’ll review what makes a good bot—and the best ways to create your own:

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The Muppets and Miss Piggy

Despite her ego, you can’t help but feel drawn to Miss Piggy. Back in 2015, Disney promoted The Muppets TV show by developing a Facebook chatbot for Miss Piggy’s Facebook profile. They even cross-promoted through a message from Kermit, who quipped that he’d finally get an hour of peace if she was busy talking to other people.

 This was the perfect opportunity for fans young and old to engage with one of their favorite TV characters, and Disney wrote Miss Piggy’s personality into her responses.

 What Disney did right: It wrote the chatbot to resemble Miss Piggy’s brand. When fans chatted with her, they received the same snark and ego they’re used to seeing her with. They also did a great job of promoting it by playing off the love/hate relationship she and Kermit have. Finally, they launched it in time to promote the real money-maker: the TV show.

Amtrak’s Julie

Amtrak developed its website’s virtual assistant, Julie, back in 2012, and it’s a wonder the company ever got by without her.

 Here’s why: They eventually saw an 800% return on investment. How? For starters, Julie was programmed to help travelers find trips and routes, access boarding information, and book trips. This saved the company $1 million in customer service emails—in one year. By answering 5 million questions a year, Julie sparked 30% more revenue per booking and increased bookings by 25%. Plus, when Julie answers a question, she includes options to upgrade on the next trip, opening the door for an upsell.

What Amtrak did right: Amtrak saw a way to simplify the booking process for its website’s 375,000 daily visitors. Instead of relying on customers to figure out the website’s interface, they provided the option for a chatbot to help each visitor, streamlining the entire process.

KLM on Messenger

KLM is the world’s oldest airline and a big player in Europe. A few years ago, it decided to become a big player in social media as well. KLM added a “Send Message” button to its Facebook page and saw messages increase 40%. To handle the influx, they created an AI chatbot, which they trained to answer more than 60,000 questions. To ensure the bot keeps quality high, its responses are checked by an agent, and a quick survey is submitted at the end of each interaction. Because of the AI, the chatbot gets a little smart each time. The result: high customer satisfaction that continues to get better.

What KLM did right: Priming their chatbot for 60,000 questions required work upfront, but the payoff is immense: KLM’s messenger requires fewer interventions from human agents.

Anymail’s Chatbot Picks Up the Slack

Anymail was a two-person startup, so keeping up with sales and customer inquiries absorbed valuable time. But they noticed something interesting: They received the same handful of questions with each inquiry. To keep up with their customers, they wrote detailed articles to answer each of these questions, then programmed a chatbot to respond to questions by offering the articles. They even took it a step further: When site visitors reach a page, the chatbot delivers a list of question and answers people often ask related to that page. It’s working: 60% of their revenue is thanks to the chatbot, and a third of visitors take advantage of the feature.

 What Anymail did right: The team worked smarter, not harder. They created detailed answers to the most common questions, and even presented these articles before customers had a chance to ask. This cut down on future inquiries, freeing the team to focus on other aspects of the business.

 Want to learn more? Contact HEEDGroup with your questions on how to launch a successful chatbot, or sign up for our newsletter.

 Link to Part One of the series

tina-miletich
2018/03
Mar 6, 2018 8:14:58 PM
Chatbots: Case Studies for Marketing (Part Two)
Digital Marketing, Data driven, Chatbox, Artificial Intelligence, Disruptors, AI, Customer Service

Mar 6, 2018 8:14:58 PM

Chatbots: Case Studies for Marketing (Part Two)

In our last blog , we explored the value of chatbots—little computer programs that reliably communicate with customers on your behalf, freeing your Marketing and Customer Service teams to focus on higher-level tasks.

Chatbots: Marketings Best Friend (Part One)

Through the aid of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, bots are quickly becoming the way of the future for developing more effective sales and marketing tactics. They are easy to program and use, automate business processes, and work wonders for improving the customer service experience. Before implementing bots into your websites and social media pages, it is important to understand just how they work and what they accomplish for your company.

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What Are Chatbots?

Chatbots are software that is easy to build and program with certain actions for them to operate all on their own. Through text conversations with customers, they dive deeper into consumers’ thought processes and use that information to help determine where they are in the buyer’s journey.

Their design offers a more personalized ad structure and softens the sales approach, all while reaching a wider audience. According to Neil Patel Digital, 57% of consumers prefer personalized ads when shopping online, which means chatbots increase your chances of success when selling online. Additionally, humanizing bots by giving them a name or personality makes people feel like they are having a face-to-face conversation with an actual sales representative.

They also allow your business to be more proactive in terms of initiating the conversation with customers. By reaching out to consumers first, it creates a dialogue that may have never happened with a traditional passive approach. This makes consumers feel more comfortable and trusting of your brand, sometimes to the point where they share more sensitive information because of the safe space the bot provides them.

Benefits of Using Chatbots

Conversations exchanged through a chatbot provide a larger engagement capacity. As reported by greengeeks.com, nearly 92 percent of consumers are more satisfied with their experience when using live chat, and two out of three consumers are likely to spend more money with businesses that offer exceptional customer service. Companies that are active on their social media profiles tend to have a larger, more engaged following and chatbots mimic this. By providing quick responses, there is greater potential for the consumer to get what they want when they want it.

Bots can also analyze customer feedback and provide better insights into what consumers are looking for, giving you powerful marketing data. This could replace time-consuming surveys by integrating questions into the conversations happening between chatbots and customers. Furthermore, the information gathered as a result of chatbot interactions can help in restructuring your marketing model to better target the customer’s needs.

You want the buying process to be enjoyable for your customers, and chatbots can make communication with your brand a fun experience. The one-on-one interaction and personalized approach can leave a good, lasting impression. This will pave the way to a stronger bond and allow more time to suggest and share links to increase website visits. Bots can be programmed to encourage customers to visit other relevant pages or blog posts for related products or services.

Chatbots Used Internally

Lastly, chatbots are a great way to keep communication among your marketing and sales teams quick, easy, and concise. According to Rocketbots, the average employee receives 88 emails per day. In the same way, bots are used to communicate with customers, it allows employees to “personalize, target, and connect the relevant content to the right employee at the right time.” When an open dialogue exists between coworkers through chatbots, it fosters a positive environment without the unnecessary clutter of other communications channels, such as email.

To Sum It All Up

Chatbots are an easy and effective tool to add to your marketing and sales strategies. You don’t have to be a technology aficionado to understand their basic programming, they can save you money by providing customer service 24 hours a day, and in some cases, can do 100 percent of the selling for you. To see chatbots in action, read our second blog of this series . Bots are only just the tip of the iceberg, though. For more on the best marketing and sales practices and trends, stay up-to-date on our blog or sign up for our newsletter.

tina-miletich
2018/02
Feb 27, 2018 2:37:13 PM
Chatbots: Marketings Best Friend (Part One)
Digital Marketing, Agency, Chatbox, Artificial Intelligence, New Rules, Disruptors

Feb 27, 2018 2:37:13 PM

Chatbots: Marketings Best Friend (Part One)

Through the aid of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, bots are quickly becoming the way of the future for developing more effective sales and marketing tactics. They are easy to program and use, automate business processes, and work wonders for improving the customer service...

Marketing Rules that Guide a Great Agency

There’s a big difference between a mediocre agency and a great agency: A great marketing agency will deliver much better results. But those results don’t happen accidentally. A great agency follows strict marketing rules as well as a stringent moral compass to deliver excellent results consistently.

Here are the rules they stick to:

1. Listen to what the metrics say.

A great marketing agency carefully tracks metrics to gauge the success of each facet of a new campaign. This requires mapping out the most important KPIs before actions are taken—not after. Starting at the very beginning will give you richer data throughout the process. And, let me share a little secret with you. It’s not 1000 KPIs, it’s a few that latter up to the macro goal for the business.

Similarly, a great agency keeps a close eye on financial spend. If a social ad isn’t performing well, a smart agency will tweak it instead of letting all the money on that campaign run out.

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Following metrics closely requires a great agency to have the tools necessary to track the numbers or at least understand how to take advantage of all the built-in tools accompanying the distribution mechanisms in the market. Marketers need to have a clear understanding of how these tools work and more importantly what the stats mean for the latest campaign.

2. Keep up with the latest trends.

Only two decades ago, advertisements were almost entirely physical or on TV. Thanks to the internet, marketing efforts have transformed—and continue to do so every single day. Because of these rapid evolutions in strategic possibilities, a great marketing agency will suggest the best options based on the latest developments.

Skilled marketers will also watch how each marketing tool evolves over time. For example, Google is constantly tinkering with its SEO formulas. As an example, a great marketing agency keeps up with the latest news from Google to ensure all content is properly optimized. Run if your marketing agency doesn’t know what SEO means for your business. It’s quite rare that any brand on the Internet these days isn’t deriving most of its traffic through Google somehow.

3. Never make assumptions.

Effective marketing efforts leave nothing to chance. Crafting a successful campaign requires preliminary research on many aspects, but especially on the target customer. Great marketers are also great investigators; they dig through data to make informed decisions on how a campaign should be conducted.

Because expert marketers carefully make every decision, their actions are more effective.

4. Know the customer inside and out.

As we said, a great marketing agency understands each business’s customers. Without understanding the customer, it’s very difficult to create effective marketing materials to attract their attention. This also requires knowing where the customers can be reached. For example, pouring all of your money into YouTube videos is futile if your target audience rarely visits YouTube.

Great marketers will review customer data to look for important information like age, gender, location, occupation, and interests in order to promote services or products in a way that rings with the target demographic.

What else do you think makes a great agency? Do you have any thoughts or suggestions you would like to share? We are always learning and that’s another sign, IMHO of a great agency, they are always learning with intense curiosity. 

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tina-miletich
2018/02
Feb 22, 2018 3:31:54 PM
Marketing Rules that Guide a Great Agency
Marketing Strategy, Digital Marketing, Agency, Data driven, Customer centric

Feb 22, 2018 3:31:54 PM

Marketing Rules that Guide a Great Agency

There’s a big difference between a mediocre agency and a great agency: A great marketing agency will deliver much better results. But those results don’t happen accidentally. A great agency follows strict marketing rules as well as a stringent moral compass to deliver excellent results consistently.

Why You Should Say No to a "Yes Man"

Have you been questioning lately whether or not your agency is really helping your business? This may be due to several reasons, but one outstanding factor in the industry is the “yes man” syndrome. If your agency is a “yes man” agency, then it’s time for a new agency. 

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What do we mean by a “yes” person or “yes man” agency? It’s when a person, team or agency fails to think of the client or the client’s business goals and says “yes” to everything. Why?

  • They want your approval and believe this will build loyalty.
  • They aren’t as experienced as they said or you thought they were.
  • They want your money.
  • They would rather you come up with the ideas and strategies, rather than themselves, so they feel protected from being blamed.

Let’s begin with wanting your approval and loyalty. Agencies, especially start-up agencies, want more than anything to collect a loyal clientele. Their goal is for you to like them and to create a lasting business relationship, so in their minds, saying yes to everything is an easy way to accomplish this. It’s scary to say no to a new client especially if you are a small start-up agency but you are truly not putting your client and their needs first if you are not strong enough to have a hard conversation about doing the right thing for your client’s business. You must be strong enough to have a real conversation with the Senior Marketers otherwise your business won’t grow and you will only be seen as a “YES” agency. Maybe in the beginning of your client relationship, this makes the client feel great but in the long run this will not bode in your favor forever.

In some cases, the company is not as experienced as they might’ve first pitched to you. They just don’t have the experience to make big decisions on your behalf. Also, due to their less mature stature, they rely on agreeing with everything you say or suggest because they don’t know how to push the edges for you or come up with new creative strategies. It’s obvious that this is a recipe for disaster. When you notice the red flags of an inexperienced agency, start thinking about your “plan B.”

A desire for money may be the biggest reason agencies are classified as a “yes man” agency. They will say yes to anything, not so much so that your business will grow, but because they are concerned about meeting their own expenses. Watch for signs when an agency stops talking about value and the benefits that your company will achieve with a given strategy or tactic. Instead, they will be over indexing on the dollars they need to cover their services. Your agency should always be talking and thinking about you and not them.

Another reason why agencies will consistently say yes is because they would rather you be held accountable for decisions or actions made on behalf of the company. This is a way for the agency to hide behind you and protect themselves. Although saying no may be uncomfortable at times, suggesting new ideas can be beneficial. This type of forward thinking can be a catalyst to new and improved changes. If an agency is always agreeing with a business or client, it is less likely that the company will evolve through new outside ideas.

If any of these situations sound familiar to you, it’s time to start an agency review. Remember a “yes man” may seem positive, but as my mother always cautioned us as children, “too much laughing always leads to crying.”

If you found this blog helpful, subscribe to our newsletter below and keep up with the latest marketing trends.

tina-miletich
2018/02
Feb 8, 2018 3:25:22 PM
Why You Should Say No to a
Strategic Growth, Marketing, Digital Marketing

Feb 8, 2018 3:25:22 PM

Why You Should Say No to a "Yes Man"

Have you been questioning lately whether or not your agency is really helping your business? This may be due to several reasons, but one outstanding factor in the industry is the “yes man” syndrome. If your agency is a “yes man” agency, then it’s time for a new agency. 

How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of our “How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 1” series.

The modern marketing landscape is more complex than ever. It’s a place where CMOs and marketing professionals must balance a huge variety of skills all while managing customers across a multitude of channels. Let’s dive into a few more reasons why it’s harder than ever to be a marketer: 

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 Data-driven marketing is key

Today there are an increasing number of tools to predict consumer behavior.  These tools can track everything from ad clicks to email opens to times spent on web pages. Access to these numbers have turned marketing into a science, which means data insights must inform all decisions and marketers have less of an excuse for not knowing what your customers want.

While this sounds like it should make the job of a marketer easier, it’s putting pressure on marketing and communications teams to make wise and effective decisions based on a plethora of data. This requires highly analytical teams that are able to draw valuable insights.

Creativity in Marketing is shifting

Creativity used to be a nebulous term in the marketing world. Traditionally, the quality of a piece of content or a campaign was the measure of successful creativity. These traditional campaigns took weeks or months to develop and were typically guided by subjective instinct.

This has changed drastically in today’s technology-driven business landscape. The measure of creative success is the value of the output, whether that’s awareness, leads, or sales. To this point, creativity is less subjective because it is backed by data.

Additionally, it requires working with customers to weave their experiences with creative efforts. This means that marketers must focus on the entire customer experience from start to end -- including the product, the buying experience, customer support, etc.

CMOs need more skills

There has been a shift in the skills needed for companies to compete and succeed. With digital, social, and mobile media, and big data rising, CMOs have had new job roles thrust on them. Adaptation is key and can ultimately define a company’s success. Some new skills CMOs must possess in the modern business landscape include:

  • A focus on statistics and data analytics and how they can be used to drive change.
  • An ability to quickly assess new platforms and technologies.
  • A deep understanding of the digital marketing space, such as search, design, eCommerce, user experience, and social media.
  • Content creation and community management skills.

Read our blog to learn about more skills CMOs need to succeed.

While marketing is definitely - getting more complex. This complexity is helping the adaptable and skilled Marketing teams capitalize on the change by targeting consumers more directly with more relevance.

tina-miletich
2018/01
Jan 31, 2018 9:00:00 AM
How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2
Creativity, CMO Skills, Business Insights, Marketing Data

Jan 31, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of our “How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 1” series.

How Complicated is Marketing These Days?- Part 1

Developing plans and strategies for marketing today is more challenging than it has ever been. Today’s marketing professionals must be experts in everything from analytics, data modeling, consumer behavior, and technology all the way through more artful elements such as campaign creativity and design.

complicated

 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the elements that have contributed to the marketing landscape: 

Consumers have more power

Consumers today expect to have a different relationship with brands and businesses than in decades before. Customers have increasing access to information, which means they have become more discerning perhaps more skeptical but certainly less loyal.

 Because of this, traditional selling doesn't work anymore. Companies’ practices are under increased scrutiny, forcing marketers to be totally transparent in communications. Not only this, but social media has given consumers a voice and they expect a two-way dialogue, meaning that responses and solutions to problems need to be faster and more personalized.

 Additionally, with the emergence of ecommerce, customers’ purchasing behavior is more global which is providing them with greater access to lower cost channels. This has ultimately put pressure on marketers to develop new ways to deliver value.

 Fast-paced

Today’s marketing landscape is moving faster than ever before. The rise of the Internet and, hence, the shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing has played a big role. Before the Internet, companies could take their time developing magazine or TV ads. But today’s marketing needs to be current. The rapid pace of technological developments of forcing marketers to decrease time to market for new products in order to keep up with competition.

 In order to keep up in this fast-paced environment and keep customers happy, more and more marketers are using marketing automation to streamline CRM tasks and workflows. Marketing automation focuses on the scheduling, segmentation, and tracking of marketing campaigns – keeping marketers tied to a constant pulse of what the customer desires leading to the need to communicate personally in the real-time.

 Technology

One of the biggest catalysts of change for marketing professionals has been technology. Today’s marketers must manage more technology than ever before. The CMO is no longer just the executive with brand concerns around flashy ad campaigns. Rather, they are leaders who must be conversant with emerging technologies.

 The wide variety of marketing channels available, spanning from social networks to distribution platforms like YouTube, offers more options than ever to reach consumers. Consumers are also impacted by technological changes in marketing. They’re targeted by more ads than ever before, often with higher relevance to their interests due to the huge amount of data they share.

 With this, marketers must be able to develop and manage strategies for reaching customers through each channel. Good advertising no longer means just delivering the right message in a compelling way; it also means delivering the message in the way that audiences prefer to receive it. Luckily, martech (aka, Marketing Technology) systems are making it easier for marketers to manage relationships with customers and, ultimately, this can enable a competitive advantage. That is if you know how to use the technology.

 As consumers have become more sophisticated and the landscape more crowded, developing plans and strategies for marketing today is the most challenging it has ever been. Check back soon for part 2 of How Complicated is Marketing These Days? Part 2

tina-miletich
2018/01
Jan 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM
How Complicated is Marketing These Days?- Part 1
Marketing, Business Insights, Marketing Technology, Consumers

Jan 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How Complicated is Marketing These Days?- Part 1

Developing plans and strategies for marketing today is more challenging than it has ever been. Today’s marketing professionals must be experts in everything from analytics, data modeling, consumer behavior, and technology all the way through more artful elements such as campaign creativity and...

5 Skills Today's CMOs Must Have

It’s not easy to be today’s CMOs. With the advancement of technology and expanding engagement channels, the role of a CMO is evolving at a quicker pace than ever before. And, couple that with the fact they are increasingly more responsible for carrying the weight of the annual revenue goals. CMOs that fail to adapt and prosper will most likely be passed up by more nimble competitors in the market.

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Here are a few of the most essential skills CMOs will need to ensure the success of their brand as they forge into the future:  

  1. Leverages technology

In 2011, there were only about 150 marketing technology solutions available to businesses. In 2012, that number more than doubled, and in 2014, it nearly tripled to 1,000. Today, there are over 3,500 different tools available to marketers. It’s likely we’ll continue to see this number grow exponentially especially as today’s customers adopt more ways to engage with brands.

Moreover, as our technology-driven society shifts the marketing landscape, a successful CMO is no longer the person with the big vision to develop flashy ad campaigns. Instead, the CMO of the future must be the executive who’s conversant in technology. CMOs that understand emerging technologies -- specifically communication tools and of course marketing tech and data tools -- will be the ones that stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Understands the creative process

Today, design is a creative process that spans entire organizations, driven by the desire to better understand and meet consumer needs. More organizations are adopting design thinking processes in creating product and services that engage with their customers.  And every interaction is a brand experience -- owned by marketing and ultimately the CMO. In order to reach consumers, modern CMOs must understand how design can influence consumer behavior and how it fits into the overall marketing brand and business strategy. When a creative vision and business strategy are seamlessly aligned, design can transform a business, giving brands the ability to maintain relevance and vitality in a time where change is constant.

  1. Collaborates with the entire organization

Businesses that isolate marketing from their other teams risk building a company of fragmented goals and ideas. A CMO must work with other departments in order to maintain brand consistency and fulfill revenue goals. Whether it’s working with the accounting department to set budgets,  compiling and analyzing data with engineers, or working with the sales team to build up the pipeline, a successful CMO is one that can have authentic and frequent interactions across the entire enterprise. This, in turn, helps create a seamless and valuable customer experience. I recently talked with a new CMO who inherited a Marketing team who he said didn’t know the company revenue goals for the year when queried. This CMO in his exasperation was explaining to me ‘how could the team seriously claim to be working arm-in-am with sales if they truly couldn’t even recite the annual target.’

  1. Guides company strategy

Profit follows companies that understand and capitalize on customer behavior. Therefore, the CMO -- increasingly, being the person in an organization that holds the key to consumer behavior -- should have major influence in the company’s strategy. Furthermore, marketing in an age where driving powerful customer experiences is paramount to success is catapulting the CMO to new levels of importance.

  1. Data-driven

To succeed, CMOs of the future must be as much a quant as they are a creative thinker. With the focus shifting away from push marketing to pull marketing, CMOs must demonstrate they can be predictable revenue drivers with highly optimized budgets. For this to be possible, initiatives must be backed by critical data. Establishing metrics-driven marketing creates the right focus on driving value through better customer engagement.

Whether creating a brand identity based in design or wielding powerful martech, future CMOs must be comfortable with change and be able to capitalize on it. In the ever-changing marketing landscape, CMOs must not take for granted that what's working today will work tomorrow leaving them obsolete.

tina-miletich
2018/01
Jan 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM
5 Skills Today's CMOs Must Have
Understanding Data, CMO Strategies, Creative Process, CMO Skills, Collaboration

Jan 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM

5 Skills Today's CMOs Must Have

It’s not easy to be today’s CMOs. With the advancement of technology and expanding engagement channels, the role of a CMO is evolving at a quicker pace than ever before. And, couple that with the fact they are increasingly more responsible for carrying the weight of the annual revenue goals. CMOs...

The Outside CMO: How Can An On-Demand & Contracted CMO Help Your Business Grow and Thrive?

Your business’s marketing plan is a map to guide you toward your goals. Without executive marketing talent to help you create that map, you’ve likely experienced a number of challenges that are holding you back from achieving those goals.

35ed586b-321e-4f38-9eab-515078cbcbc1.jpg

Businesses that lack strong marketing leadership put themselves at risk to lose sales and revenue. Because your priorities may be on other things, marketing your business takes a backseat. Poor planning and execution can ultimately leave your business vulnerable -- whether it’s being outpaced by your competitors, not positioning yourself strategically in the market, failing to resonate with your customers, etc.

However, if you know you need experienced marketing leadership, but you’re not quite ready for a full-time in-house resource, the outside Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) can help. A seasoned marketing executive can provide startups and SMBs the vital leadership and execution that will result in successful marketing programs, guiding your business toward its long-term goals.

Why would a company want to hire an outside CMO?

Here are a few ways businesses can benefit from on-demand executive marketing talent:

  1. Immediate Impact on a Strategic Level

Outside CMOs bring a career’s worth of experience and a fresh perspective to the table, from which they can immediately begin developing a strategic plan to organize available resources at your business. Their broad-based and on-demand perspective allows Outside CMOs to provide best practices for:

  • Marketing strategy formulation,
  • Development of positioning and messaging for your brand,
  • Market segmentation,
  • Customer acquisition and sales pipeline development,
  • Establishment of performance metrics,
  • Selection of vendors for specialized tasks,
  • Implementation, management, and coordination of marketing initiatives and efforts, and much more.

While members of your team focus on specific projects, an Outside CMO is able to focus on bringing all of these pieces together to create a cohesive strategy that drives your business’s success in the market.

  1. Widen the Talent Pool

C-level executives come from a wide variety of industries, educational backgrounds, and job experiences. And finding the right one that understands your business is imperative to your success.

Widening the talent pool outside of your physical area by utilizing an Outside CMO yields more personnel options and a wider range of expertise. You’re able to pull in talent from around the world and find the person that fits your business’s unique needs.

  1. Convenient and Cost-Effective

With an Outside CMO, you’ll avoid the hassle of bringing on or replacing an in-house CMO -- which means you’ll avoid hiring delays, turnover, long-term commitments, relocation costs, and more. All of these extra hurdles are not only inconvenient, but can also add up in the form of lost money to your business.

Outside CMOs bring impactful experience and expertise especially concerning digital transformation. Partnering existing marketing strategy with new CMO strategies from outside your organization can significantly impact bottom line without completely deconstructing your marketing practice. For smaller organizations that don’t have a CMO, an Outside CMO provides the business acumen to help you develop a marketing strategy that aligns with their existing business model. Finally, an Outside CMO is beneficial for businesses in the startup or emerging phases who may be running on tighter budgets.

Your businesses success relies on a fine-tuned marketing strategy. Utilizing an Outside CMO allows you to leverage high-level talent in smaller increments of time and budget, while still gaining qualified expertise that will help accelerate your business.

tina-miletich
2017/12
Dec 18, 2017 4:20:19 PM
The Outside CMO: How Can An On-Demand & Contracted CMO Help Your Business Grow and Thrive?
Business Insight, Business Growth, Strategic Growth, Marketing Leadership, CMO Strategies

Dec 18, 2017 4:20:19 PM

The Outside CMO: How Can An On-Demand & Contracted CMO Help Your Business Grow and Thrive?

Your business’s marketing plan is a map to guide you toward your goals. Without executive marketing talent to help you create that map, you’ve likely experienced a number of challenges that are holding you back from achieving those goals.

Where does insight come from and why is it so important to business?

 I recently had an interesting conversation over lunch about being prescient in life and business. After discussing Jeff Bezos’ drone delivery initiative, a very accomplished colleague of mine and leader in his industry was talking about an interview he gave in the late 80's in Fortune Magazine.

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 In the interview he predicted that individuals would soon have the ability to manage trades using their small personal computers while sitting by the pool. In essence, he was describing the self-trading and myriad of other self-wealth management capabilities as well as hand-held computer devices made available to individuals over the last decade.

E-trading led to the birth of a whole new occupation and market: day-trading. However, during this conversation, he did not give himself much credit for being a creative visionary for making this prediction. But if not a visionary during the pre-tech boom, then what? If not visionary, then extremely insightful and perhaps super tuned-in to emerging/potential trends?

So I began to ponder… How is Insight Generated?

This conversation stuck with me. Both Jeff Bezos and my colleague were ahead of their times, that much is clear. But how does one become insightful enough about their surroundings to make predictions as telling as these? Is there a possibility of an insight equation? Here’s where my mind wondered:

  • (Understanding the current state of things) + (Having a pulse and memory of trends) + (Realization of where everyone else is) = Insight Generated

Or maybe it’s

  • (Understanding your own presence) + (Having a pulse and memory of trends) + (Realization of the current environment) = Insight Generated

Let’s try the equation with a simple example of something that gets played out in my house all the time between my two young daughters (9yrs & 7.5 years old):

  • (My mom sees me teasing my little sister, my little sister is starting to cry) + (Last time I teased my little sister, I was scolded and sent to my room until I could learn to play nice) + (My little sister is crying and calling for mom; my mom is busy making dinner and her phone is ringing) = I am going to be sent to my room.

The point here is that insight generation depends on your ability to collect, organize and retain data, generate a variety of analytic models from that data, and then analyze the generated models themselves.

The example above is truly simple and really isn’t insight, it’s understanding cause and effect of your own actions.

Let’s think about something a little more innovative than my children sparring…

  • (The SONY walkman allows individuals to enjoy music personally anywhere) + (Digital Technologies are advancing into a more connected, handheld device world) + (Human expectations around immediate entertainment satisfaction is growing) = IPod

And, along with the IPod came the entire evolution of the music industry.

So why should we care about insights? And, why is this important in the Marketing world? Huge amounts of data are being captured every second. If you can make sense of this data as it applies to your business, you’ll be able to act upon it. Hard-earned insights that are as actionable as possible are primed to drive value for your organization. And ultimately, this is how businesses set themselves apart from the competition.

I’m curious! Do you have an insight equation you’d like to share?

tina-miletich
2017/12
Dec 11, 2017 4:57:37 PM
Where does insight come from and why is it so important to business?
Business Insight, Understanding Data, Creativity, Insights, Creative Formula, Marketing Insights, Customer Data

Dec 11, 2017 4:57:37 PM

Where does insight come from and why is it so important to business?

 I recently had an interesting conversation over lunch about being prescient in life and business. After discussing Jeff Bezos’ drone delivery initiative, a very accomplished colleague of mine and leader in his industry was talking about an interview he gave in the late 80's in Fortune Magazine.

Admitting You’re the Idiot is the First Step...

After years of trying desperately to hide it… I finally admit that I’m the idiot, and I’m okay with it. Yes, really. Let me explain.

questioning.jpg

I recently had a familiar conversation with someone who was trying to understand what I do. Once again I found myself woefully unprepared for such a conversation. I often find it difficult to explain that I help organizations solve problems -- usually brought on by technological advances -- ones that they haven’t put into practice for their org but find their customers adopting first.

Also, let me explain that I am not a technologist, I’ve been a Creative Director, a CEO and a CMO but I still have a hard time defining what it is I do exactly. One friend coined me as a “Creative Strategist” but I tell everyone, I am a Marketer with lots of digital know-how, oh hell, let’s be honest, sometimes, I tell people I am Creative Director. Marketing works most of the time because this is a catchall for all the areas we may find ourselves when helping clients.  

I walked away from this conversation frustrated with myself. Before I go on, don’t worry, this is not a self-help post. The truth of the matter is that my job is always being redefined as new technology enters into the consumer space. Being a strategic and creative marketer means that I walk a fine line between creativity, product development, and data-driven business  planning.

What is a creative and strategic marketer?

There’s quite a few of us out there and we provide help to organizations, big and small. The help we provide covers understanding how the brand is going to be consumed by current and potential customers. In this instance the consumption of the brand usually means not only what we consider traditional branding activities but also what is coined as User Experience -- and that has everything to do with how customers are appreciating not only a brand’s software interface but also all the way to how they are receiving marketing messaging through digital communication channels.   

So, what makes me the idiot?

While I started in the creative world, I now find myself working with all sorts of businesses to solve all different types of problems. So, what makes me the idiot besides the obvious?

I often encounter problems I have never solved before and have no idea how to solve. In the business world, things are evolving so quickly around technology that new problems are emerging every second of every day. And this is precisely why I’m okay with being a self-proclaimed  idiot.

While businesses can easily identify threats of disruption, I like to focus on the upside of disruption. That is, how can I answer the call to action around change and realize the benefits that could boost a brand. I admit to not always having the answers to new problems that arise for my clients. I hope you guys aren’t reading this now! However, this forces innovation, and this is what it means to be a creative and a strategist. Here’s how it works:

Preparing to understand the problem

Being a successful strategic marketer often requires seeking out the people you need from the various domains that will help you completely understand the problem at hand including always starting with the customer. Once you assemble the resources necessary to understand the problem fully (and this could include operations, tech, sales, finance, etc), the work of gathering and synthesizing information and data points to eliminate or solve the problem begins.

Empower innovation

It is easy to identify that threats come from new sources: digital, changing consumer behaviors, and competition from unexpected places. But often businesses make the mistake of looking at the problem from a limited point of view, and therefore try to apply an old solution to overcome a new problem.

By thinking from the market, technical, customer, and competitive perspectives and melding information from each into an overall understanding, you are able to see a fresh perspective and develop new answers.

Marketing in an Age of Change

Marketing has changed so much in the last 20 years. While marketing was never easy, technology has made it a whole lot tougher. What used to be a matter of identifying needs and communicating benefits now requires businesses to build immersive experiences that engage consumers from cradle to grave. That means businesses must seamlessly integrate a whole new range of skills and capabilities. I like to believe the future is bright and I tell the junior staff members that all the time especially as we humans continue to develop new technology and ways of interacting.

Thank you for helping me sort out what it is I do…  but please if you see me on the street, don’t yell out that’s the idiot.  Keep questioning the norm, look at problems from new angles and enjoy the ride we humans are on...

tina-miletich
2017/12
Dec 5, 2017 10:09:38 AM
Admitting You’re the Idiot is the First Step...
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Creative, Strategy, Creative Thinking, Marketing Strategy

Dec 5, 2017 10:09:38 AM

Admitting You’re the Idiot is the First Step...

After years of trying desperately to hide it… I finally admit that I’m the idiot, and I’m okay with it. Yes, really. Let me explain.

It’s a New Age and Marketing Has a New Face.

In globalizing markets, businesses can no longer survive and thrive as siloed organizations, where marketing stands apart from sales. The two must work hand-in-hand, with marketing virtually obsessing about learning everything possible about customers, then—and this is the key point—leveraging that data by passing it on to sales in a smooth, consistent and real-time way.

newage.jpg


This is the Age of the Customer. Customers are exposed to marketing constantly, in multiple formats and on multiple devices. It’s critical that a marketing organization have access to the skills and tools to rise above the noise, understand customers intimately, and pass on that understanding to sales in the form of targeted marketing. It’s also the age of one-on-one marketing and constantly changing sales cycles. Marketing campaigns have to be right-on-target, right-on-time and dedicated to passing on highly qualified leads to sales.

That means becoming immersed in Inbound Marketing as much as Outbound Marketing: where marketers are bringing customers to you through the whole ecosystem of digital communications, The Web, Mobile, Social Media or truly anything Internet enabled. It also means having access to the tools to put today’s Relevant Marketing into place. That translates to Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP), the collective name for the class of digital tools that allow you to connect with customers and collect relevant, actionable customer data from a myriad of touch points and pass it on in an usable format to your sales force. But it also requires a guide through the whole digital ecosystem—someone who knows how to navigate the territory—to help you get the information to your sales team before your competition sprints to the finish line ahead of you. 

If you fail to transform your organization into one dedicated to Relevant Marketing, you are apt to leave your sales team Starving in the Wilderness.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 5:07:38 PM
It’s a New Age and Marketing Has a New Face.
Future of Retail, Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction

Jan 8, 2017 5:07:38 PM

It’s a New Age and Marketing Has a New Face.

In globalizing markets, businesses can no longer survive and thrive as siloed organizations, where marketing stands apart from sales. The two must work hand-in-hand, with marketing virtually obsessing about learning everything possible about customers, then—and this is the key point—leveraging that...

Building brand awareness in an age of increasing competition

In the new, global marketplace, it’s more complex—and more important—than ever to build brand awareness. In nearly every industry, competition is fierce and it’s harder than ever to capture your potential customers’ attention. The only way to effectively deal with this challenging situation is to effectively employ a comprehensive program of modern, digital marketing, blended with traditional marketing strategies.

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That, of course, means spreading awareness of new, digital marketing techniques throughout your organization. Business-as-usual is no longer good enough to build brand awareness in a world filled with the noise of countless brand messages telegraphed across myriad forms of media.

On the positive side of the coin, when you are able to rise above the fray and build brand awareness among your perfect customers, one success lead directly to another: demand generation. In turn, you then feed the sales cycle, again leading to increased demand generation. Once this positive cycle is initiated, a business joins the world of modern/global marketing.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 5:02:03 PM
Building brand awareness in an age of increasing competition
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction, User Interface

Jan 8, 2017 5:02:03 PM

Building brand awareness in an age of increasing competition

In the new, global marketplace, it’s more complex—and more important—than ever to build brand awareness. In nearly every industry, competition is fierce and it’s harder than ever to capture your potential customers’ attention. The only way to effectively deal with this challenging situation is to...

Skin Interface Buttons

Expanding the small screen interface with projected skin buttons. Yes, that’s what I said, projected skin buttons. Whaaaaaaat? Think of it this way, smart watches or devices similar to those that we wear and go are typically designed with small screens for our comfort. 

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However, that doesn’t make them easy to interact with. Computing power in these small devices is getting more powerful and we’d like to add more functionality.

O’kaaay, go on... 

And, we all don’t want an iPhone 6 Plus size smart watch strapped to our wrists. But most humans past the age of 5yrs, just like me, suffer from the fat finger syndrome on these small interfaces.

There’s an answer. Researchers: Gierad Laput, Robert Xiao, Xiang ‘Anthony’ Chen, Scott E. Hudson, and Chris Harrison presented their solution to extend small screen user interfaces by demonstrating their technology to project buttons onto your skin from the small wearable device (aka, a watch). The research presented in 2014 proposes extending the watch’s surface by using projections of buttons that control the interface of the device on the wearer’s skin. See the entire research presented here on

Chris Harrison’s website

What does this have to with marketing & customer engagement?

This may be in the camp of technology research now but within a few years, we marketers are going to be concerned with which button the wearer clicked and what they were doing at the moment of the click. Add geo-location and biometrics on-top of that equation and real-time marketing just took on a whole new definition. Gotcha thinking, yet?

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:54:08 PM
Skin Interface Buttons
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction, User Interface

Jan 8, 2017 4:54:08 PM

Skin Interface Buttons

Expanding the small screen interface with projected skin buttons. Yes, that’s what I said, projected skin buttons. Whaaaaaaat? Think of it this way, smart watches or devices similar to those that we wear and go are typically designed with small screens for our comfort. 

Evidence of technology crawling out of the sludge

"I'm not a scientist or a physicist, Mr. Spock..."  

In the original Star Trek episodes, the sliding doors were controlled by a man off-camera. On cue he opened the doors, tugging on a wire threaded through a pulley system. Now, commonplace sensor technology opens doors with ease as someone approaches to enter or leave a building. As our entertainment illusions have advanced from the original Star Trek days, so has our perception of technologies abilities to interpret our human moves and react accordingly. 

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Think Prometheus, Minority Report, Avatar, Iron Man and the latest Star Trek feature films -- all of these show the human interacting with intelligent technology by a swipe of the hand. In return, a 3-D hologram’ish image moves and responds accordingly, just as we might believe technology of the future could behave. In order for the technology in these Sci-Fi movies to react to the human waving their hands around (must have been fun for the actors against the green screen, NOT!), there have to be sophisticated and interpretive sensors built into the technology we witness in our beloved Sci-Fi movies.

Apical, headquartered in London is developing this sophisticated and interpretive human movement software today and they call it Spirit. Spirit detects an individual as they move through a space and analyzes where they are going, where they are looking, for how long, their movements and potentially their emotions being emitted on the face. 

In an interview recently with VentureBeat Michael Tusch, CEO and cofounder of Apical notes that non-smartphone products using the technology, such as sensors [customers and marketers may see this first in retail spaces] may emerge by the end of 2015, and smartphones with this capability will follow sometime in 2016.  

Check out this YouTube video demonstrating the analysis the Spirit technology is completing on passersby in a public space:

 

 

 
tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:47:55 PM
Evidence of technology crawling out of the sludge
Future of Retail, Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction

Jan 8, 2017 4:47:55 PM

Evidence of technology crawling out of the sludge

"I'm not a scientist or a physicist, Mr. Spock..."  

Keeping Demand Generation Going

 It’s not enough just to begin the process of demand generation. You have to be able to sustain it over time. That means it has to become a part of your organizational DNA. To be sure that’s what happens, everyone in your company needs to understand that you are no longer just a software manufacturer or insurance company, you are also a modern marketing organization—in every corner of your business.

demandgeneration_960.jpg


The place to begin this kind of radical transformation is at the very top of an organization. Everyone in your C-suite needs to be committed to driving your marketing machine forward and keeping it fueled with constant support.

Then, moving through the organization, every employee needs a rock-solid understanding of just how important it is to keep the sales cycle nurtured and healthy with growing brand awareness and constant demand generation. In time, a brand awareness/demand generation cycle should begin to perpetuate itself, but constant vigilance is necessary to be sure your program doesn’t go off-track, creating just the opening your competition needs to surge ahead of you in the marketplace. You and your modern-marketing guide will work together to be sure your brand awareness plan stays on-track well into the future.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:26:48 PM
Keeping Demand Generation Going
Demand Management, Marketing Automation, Digital Strategy, Demand Generation

Jan 8, 2017 4:26:48 PM

Keeping Demand Generation Going

 It’s not enough just to begin the process of demand generation. You have to be able to sustain it over time. That means it has to become a part of your organizational DNA. To be sure that’s what happens, everyone in your company needs to understand that you are no longer just a software...

Effectively Integrating Marketing Automation

 As you begin to look at integrating marketing automation into your organization, it’s important to understand just how, when and where to begin the process. The people in your organization need to be prepared for this massive change in mindset from traditional, disjointed marketing techniques to a new, integrated program of marketing that includes marketing automation at its very center.

integrating_960.jpg


The key to successful introduction of this new way of doing business is communication. Be sure you are constantly updating your Marketing and Sales staff about changes being made and letting them know how their roles will change (hopefully for the better). As in any period of change, some preparation is necessary before your business can truly change its personality. Keep in mind that it’s all about communication and that an expert guide can help you successfully plan your trip into the new territory.

Of course, short-term success employing marketing automation and integrating it into your marketing regimen is not enough. You need a plan for long-term success in the ever-changing marketplace. That, of course, means being ready, willing and able to stay ahead of the curve and constantly building an organization dedicated to change and improvement.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 8, 2017 4:19:42 PM
Effectively Integrating Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation, MAP, Digital Transformation

Jan 8, 2017 4:19:42 PM

Effectively Integrating Marketing Automation

 As you begin to look at integrating marketing automation into your organization, it’s important to understand just how, when and where to begin the process. The people in your organization need to be prepared for this massive change in mindset from traditional, disjointed marketing techniques to a...

The Agency as a Modern Species

Recently, I have been reading a lot of articles about the “new agency.” The term is being used to describe a niche organization that offers expertise in one specific area. These agencies have their place and can provide valuable services in particular circumstances. In fact, I partner with many of these agencies. But it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that, for the most part and over the long term, clients need a full partner that can provide the whole range of services needed to ensure customer engagement. That means a mix of management consulting, branding, creative services, strategy and technical know-how talent. 

DNA_article3_960.jpg

Throughout a career that goes back to the early 90s, I’ve learned how important it is to bring all those services together in one place. While my career has always been rooted in the fact that I’ve been a digital expert from the very beginning, I am really a hired problem solver and have designed my agency around that one simple description. While the designation itself may sound simple, making it work in real-world practice is anything but.

Over the years, I have found that—while others have tried to pigeon-hole me as simply a digital expert—my early and significant expertise in the ever-evolving digital world has been a means to an end: building a career and agency that works as a full-service problem-solver for companies seeking to boost their market engagement and success in the marketplace. I believe we are creating a new species of agency—the problem solver. It’s a chameleon-like animal that changes based on whatever a client’s new problem is. And we know that there will always be new problems brought on by changes in customer behavior and based on responses to technology advancements.

In our problem-solving agency, one moment we are researching and providing business analysis on an operational issue, while the next we are developing a strategy and an infographic to communicate findings and/or suggestions. And, then in the next nanosecond we may be exploring an organization’s customer base and developing engagement plans, a creative look and feel, and even the tone and voice that should be used in brand messaging to elicit the best response. At this very moment, I can point to many different projects at my agency and say that we are working on just as many creative engagement campaigns as we are helping organizations think through how to internally organize their operations and internal talent to be better marketers, salespeople or engagement experts.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the REAL “new agency” is one that is forever adaptable, tapping into specialized talent when needed, and offering a full array of “on the ground” and “30,000 foot visions” to service clients based on their changing and developing new needs because of enhancements in technology.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 2, 2017 4:37:02 PM
The Agency as a Modern Species
Digital Strategy, Outsourced Marketing, Marketing As A Service

Jan 2, 2017 4:37:02 PM

The Agency as a Modern Species

Recently, I have been reading a lot of articles about the “new agency.” The term is being used to describe a niche organization that offers expertise in one specific area. These agencies have their place and can provide valuable services in particular circumstances. In fact, I partner with many of...

HEEDing the Call for the Happy Marriage of Digital/Human Worlds

From: Tina Miletich, Principal, HEED© Group

 

If you’re a science fiction buff you knew the day would come when the line between digital and human intelligence—existence, really—was so thin as to be virtually non-existent. And, as an SF devotee, you also know that there are two possible views of the impact of this disappearing barrier.

One school of thought (think Asimov’s I, Robot) is that the trend will lead to a grab-bag of disasters, eventually leading to a society ruled by non-human intelligence. The other view is that this intimate relationship between human and digital worlds is the path to human enhancement. By using the tremendous—and ever-increasing—digital resources at our fingertips to improve human life, we are making artificial intelligence an extension of human intelligence, not a separate, evil entity bent on our destruction.

My feet are planted firmly in the second, positive view. My years working in digital/interactive media have made me a human/technology optimist. I’ve seen the myriad ways digital technology has improved our lives, from providing real-time access to news and information, to opening whole new worlds of entertainment, to helping product designers build and market exactly the products their customers need. And I believe we have yet to scratch the surface of the potential of the digital/human intelligence connection.

In fact, I believe that the relationship between humans and digital is true symbiosis. (Merriam Webster’s definition for symbiosis is: “The mutually beneficial living together in more or less intimate association or close union of two dissimilar organisms.”) As humans have evolved and sought to solve increasingly complex problems facing humankind, digital evolution has kept pace. For example, medical researchers work hand-in-hand with their digital partners to solve intricate medical puzzles and help people struggling with medical issues lead full lives. The human/digital partnership truly helps human be more human. As time goes on, I believe human and digital will evolve together, each driving the other into new territory. By understanding and participating in this process, we can ensure that humankind consistently gains from this relationship.

That’s why I have established HEED© (Human Experience and Engagement via Digital), a consultancy dedicated to helping clients understand and use this digital/human symbiosis to enhance current product offerings and create products perfectly suited to the new all-digital world. We are showing clients how to take the leap and thrive in the new geography.

In Case You Had Any Doubts

The evidence of the disappearing human/digital divide is all around us. In fact, the world is virtually enmeshed in the Internet. (The term Worldwide Web seems more appropriate than ever.) According to recent research from Cisco Systems, “More things are connecting to the Internet than people — over 12.5 billion devices in 2010 alone. Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) predicts some 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020.” The report goes on note just a few examples of how this Internet of Things is expanding exponentially:

  • A Dutch company, Sparked, is producing wireless sensors to be used on cattle. The sensors detect signs of illness or pregnancy in the cattle and send a message to a farmer’s device.
  • Medical device companies are using wireless sensors to monitor cardiac patients and send signs of abnormalities to caregivers.
  • In smart homes and businesses everywhere, devices are conducting ongoing conversations with one another. Let’s say that, in a fully wired smart home, the homeowner gets an email on his smartphone that his first morning meeting has been pushed back 45 minutes, and a traffic report telling him there’s a 20-minute delay due to an accident. The phone resets his alarm for the right time, while sending messages to his coffeemaker and car to start at precisely the right moments.

And, can fully autonomous devices be far away when you consider developments like Google's newest, and soon-to-be-built fleet of self-driving cars, which will be custom-built prototypes with no steering wheels or control pedals. Test vehicles are equipped with rooftop LIDAR systems, with additional sensors located where conventional cars have side-view mirrors. But even more impressively, the vehicles will be programmed to make “decisions” about how to best safeguard their passengers.

Bottom line: Digital devices have begun to reason in a very human way. The next step in evolution for digital is development of an even more human trait: self-awareness. Clearly, development of this trait will dictate a more equal and deepening relationship between the two parties. More than ever, it is clear that our fates are firmly welded together.

 

The Only Remaining Question for Businesses

 

The question is no longer whether businesses should become citizens in the new hybrid world, but when they take the leap. And the answer to that is A.S.A.P. No matter what business you’re in, you can be sure your competitors are seeking the best routes into the new territory. With the proper guidance, any businessperson can learn how to make digital intelligence an ally in creating the perfect products and services for the human/digital world.

tina-miletich
2017/01
Jan 2, 2017 4:15:47 PM
HEEDing the Call for the Happy Marriage of Digital/Human Worlds
Digital Transformation, Digital Strategy, Human Computer Interaction

Jan 2, 2017 4:15:47 PM

HEEDing the Call for the Happy Marriage of Digital/Human Worlds

From: Tina Miletich, Principal, HEED© Group

 

If you’re a science fiction buff you knew the day would come when the line between digital and human intelligence—existence, really—was so thin as to be virtually non-existent. And, as an SF devotee, you also know that there are two possible views of...

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