"According to Forrester, Customer Experience (CX) leaders outperform the laggards:"
* CX leaders increased their value by 22% over 5 years
* CX laggards’ value declined by 46%
"A recent study from Bloomberg Businessweek revealed:"
* 80% of companies want to get closer to their customers
* Only 20% believe they are doing a good job
* Only 8% of their customers think they do a good job
"Since we were interviewing executives about what they felt contributed to an extraordinary customer experience, we naturally asked what their companies were doing...The specifics varied widely, but there were three areas of commonality:"
1 - Customer Insight
2 - One-to-one Interaction
3 - Execution excellence
Read the article for ideas of how others improve the customers experience:
This is a great piece by Heidi Cohen on why your marketing needs content curation and 12 attributes of a successful curation strategy. This is one of the best articles I've seen on this topic in a very long time.
As I said, I've seen many pieces on curation but if you're like me, everytime I read about this, I always find something new or am reminded of ways I can polish what I'm doing.
Here are some of the highlights.........
At its core, content curation is like a great editor or blogger who brings his unique taste and understanding of his target audience to his selection of the best content for his readers.
As part of your content marketing strategy and by extension your marketing plan, content curation needs objectives that are associated with your business.
As with any social media or content marketing, your audience should be at the heart of your content efforts.
"Curation comes up when people realize that it isn't just about information seeking, it's also about synchronizing a community"
Selected and reviewed by Jan Gordon covering "Curation, Social Business and Beyond"
"Landing pages, in the B2B context, are designed to perform a certain role- converting the traffic that has landed on the page into something more valuable like email addresses,requests for demos or even outright sales."
"An ideal landing page is like a toll gate or a valve, diverting traffic in a fixed direction."
"But since we live in a less than an ideal world most landing pages behave more like a trampoline, bouncing visitors off the page before they have completed the call to action."
Sample landing pages which convert are at the bottom of the article.
"Change, innovation, progress, while these terms should always be associated with the positive, for marketers entrenched in their current methodologies, the future can seem down right scary as the lines blur."
As 2012 comes to a close, the predictions for 2013 emerge. On the top, ~100 CMO's predict the death of push marketing and more customer focused messaging.
Two other topics include:
1. Will marketing be retro and responsive?
2. Is marketing automation taking over?
Read the article for further ideas based on the 2013 predictions in the B2B marketin space.
The year is 2008 and you are in the Financial Services Business.
"How do you turn a quiet, sales-driven organization into a B2B marketing powerhouse?"
"Consider the story of Lincoln Financial Group, a traditionally sales-centric organization... The 106-year-old financial services, insurance, and annuities company..."
"Lincoln Financial had previously conducted research showing that the more people take charge of their lives, including their finances, the better they feel about the direction of their lives."
"While others in the category seemed to be drawn to using fear in their advertising, we felt the time was right to try a new, more optimistic approach."
"...the campaign showcased a video of women of all ages showing how they take charge of their lives and provided educational content to help women do just that. The PR focused on the research results. The Chief Life Officer ads continued the "take charge, optimistic theme," which was reinforced in social media.
"Social listening is an integral part of any effective online marketing team. In order to make progress in the social sphere, B2B businesses need to be aware of the conversations going on around their industry and business."
"Listening in, responding and interacting with prospects, and monitoring the results of social listening and response are essential. With social listening, your business can take its social media efforts to the next level."
"The benefits that come with social listening should be enough to convince your marketing team that this is something worth spending time on. You’ll be able to develop better social marketing strategies while gaining insight into your brand and industry. Using the insights you gain from social listening, you’ll be able to improve the conversation and reputation of your business."
Read the article for ideas around the benefits, insights and excecution needed to take social listening to the next level.
"If you've really done your homework then you should know to avoid jargon that the C-level executive may not know."
"Consultants are always trying to "assist us in managing our third-party spend," whatever that means. It must be something important, because I get two or three calls a week to help me with this problem."
"Maybe if they positioned it from my point of view and used language that I use they would get further in their call." Mike Parrot, VP,Costco
Read the last sentence again and notice two main issues.
1 - Use the customers language
2 - Use their point of view.
Early in the buy-sell cycle, the customer is looking for the "why" they should consider anything new. Sound bites of, "this is what my product can achieve will also not go very far".
Consider this: If you wrap a previous customer success within a story framework that matches the customers marketplace, you can cover both points Parrot desires, language and point of view.
A note of caution, stories need to resonate and be worded to match the title of the person you are calling on, not just the industry/market.
A phrase by Nancy Duarte is important while building stories:
"By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, you set up a conflict that needs to be resolved." http://youtu.be/UfQF3DXG-S4
A good story does not start with success or sound bites or symptoms, it starts with a business challenge. In the above example by Parrot, third part spend is a symptom. He wants to know the business challenge a product or service can help him resolve based on his position.
"When's the best time to tweet? How can you find more relevant people to follow? Want to track your tweets and retweets?"
"While Twitter.com is a good place to start and dashboards such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck help you organize your stream, to get the most from Twitter you need to look outside the box."
"Here are 10 Twitter tools—some mainstays and some newcomers—that will give you greater insight into your network, find new people to connect with and more."
Would it help to have a tool which reviews only your followers and based on their usage of Twitter, advises you the best times to tweet? Or perhaps you want to view followers by selectable categories, (not just timelines) and/or the georgraphic coverage.
"Google+ also plays a major role in search engine optimization (SEO) by making it easier for marketers to show up in search results—yet another reason to include Google+ in your social media strategy."
"Here are five simple ways to give your business an almost immediate boost using Google+."
The article covers how to better use the About Page, Google+ Events, frequency of posting and optiimizing for search, setting up your Google authorship, and finding relevant users and engaging with them.
"Is social media frustrating? If you’re like most B2B marketers, you’re doing the north-south nod about now."
"The way we marketers most often use social media...lacks quantifiable metrics...And re-tweets or likes are not measures of quality leads or sales."
"In the same way that we measure traditional email marketing, by conversions, not opens or clicks, the clearest evidence your social media activity is benefiting your business is to share content that results in conversions on your website."
The article covers how to test quality content on the big 4 social sites and measure the results to choose which ones which will work the best for your company.
And as the author Kevin reminds us: "The content you share should be informative and problem-solving… without pushing your brand."
"You can use social media from desktops, iPads and iPhones, no matter where you are. Tweeting is the new texting and Google+ is gaining traction as its registered users now number over 400 million.
Social media marketing cannot be ignored. It is the marketing of the people. Marketing has been democratized. It is “native marketing” that requires no payment to third party channels (such as TV or radio) to promote your business. All you need is the content and the followers on your own social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, to distribute and share your brand message with and of course some marketing tools, skills and resources.
Yet, there is a danger.
That danger is that other marketing strategies, skills and basics are forgotten or ignored in the glare of social media’s buzz and popularity.
There is one very core marketing tactic that should be woven into every part of your digital marketing. It is boring, it can be technical but it is essential: SEO".
"I have to admit, this is shockingly simple, no secret wisdom. What is even more shocking, though, is this: most companies get it wrong. And in the age of the digital customer, these simple qualities have become more critical than ever." Dr. Volker G. Hildebrand, SAP
"...need to engage our prospects directly, using what we learn from finding and listening to them on the social web. What platforms they use, how active they are and what they're talking about, sharing and creating. This then informs our content marketing strategy and how we look to convert these prospects into leads."
This is the what to do, which is on mark. The "how" to engage is burried within your marketing messages. Do your messages resonate with what you hear via social listening and engagement? If not, it is possible the content being used is about the product, not the customers needs.
As marketing, we are not the hero's in the story, the customer is. Our role is to help them create a vision of a solution based on value by first relating to and discussing their needs.
Here is an example of how one company turned the customers into the hero and used the power of story to build trust and higher engagement.
"As social media has become an important channel of daily communication, engaging with customers socially should be the next step for brands. Tom Kelly, CEO of Moxie Software, says,
"Social media is another communication channel and should be supported just like email and the phone."
This comment by Tom Kelly makes sense and is part of the reason I scooped this article. Most of the article reads more like a promotion for Social CRM. Yet towards the bottom IBM points out more then 50% of consumers do not even consider intereacting with businesses via social.
Perhaps this begs the question, what is the % in the B2B space? Odds are it is lower. This does not mean to turn a blind eye towards social media tools, however, it does mean to go in eyes wide open.
Read the article with a "grain of salt" for ideas in the B2B space for Social CRM and keep an open mind "if" your customers are already using social media tools to discover and begun evaluations to satisfy their needs.
"Marketing is about facilitating more closed business, and ultimately grow the company. When asked, most midsized and B2B companies will tell you that they are “doing content marketing.”
However, often when you look at their social channels and company blog the content they create seems highly unlikely to help increase demand generation."
"The reason that the majority of marketing content is an #Epicfail can be explained by the lack of vision and imagination that too many marketing professionals and their empty suit senior managers sadly share."
Bill says the key is to keep the content focus on solving your customer’s problem. Customer’s don’t care about your product. They care about how they can make more money, do their job better, or grow their business."
"Online lead generation can help your B2B business make more sales. According to Hubspot, the cost of a lead generated through inbound marketing is 62% lower than the cost of a traditional lead garnered from events like trade shows, direct mail, cold calling, TV, and print."
"...we are living in a highly digital world, so how can you optimize your lead generation techniques on the web?"
The article covers 4 main areas with ideas of how to help improve your lead generation and nurturing programs.
The article does not cover measurements around leads, yet one simple trick is to consider:
It is not about the quantity of likes, shares or leads you generate. It is all about the quantity of "Sales Ready" Leads achieved based on the company resources expended. This presumes you already differentiate a marketing lead from a sales ready lead.
"If you’re only developing content with consumption in mind, you’re missing a huge opportunity to keep momentum going as prospective buyers move through the buying cycle."
How often have you repeated a "good story" you heard? Now compare this to how often you forward something you read as "content about a product or service". Content is over rated in the marketing world, however, if you wrap solid information about how to "use your products and services within the power of story to satisfy the customers needs", the odds go up it will resonate and be shared.
Read on for Karen Dietz's ideas around this article.
I've said this before -- biz storytelling is about engagement, not simply broadcasting messages. This is the first article I've found that actually tries to break down the different types of conversations you want your biz stories to spark or serve.
I disagree with the distinction between dialogue and conversation. I think a better distinction to make is between messaging and conversation. And stories are often shared within a conversation. Conversations are not necessarily storytelling. So that is my nit-pick for today.
I really wish the author, Stephanie Tilton, would have included examples for each type of conversation mentioned. She tries to explain the different conversations but I need examples this morning in order to get ideas for how to apply her advice. Or maybe I'm just too tired this morning!
So there are 2 lessons here -- 1) target your storytelling to the conversations you want to promote and help along; and 2) make sure when you write content you give examples so you don't make it so hard for your readers to apply your insights.
I also really like the point the author makes about shifting from talking to listening, and shifting to serial storytelling in your business. OK -- I'm heading into the kitchen for some more coffee!
The CEO Scenario: Your company is launching a new product or service and trains the entire sales organization in a day long meeting. (The next week your salespeople start calling on buyers and customers.)
Assume you video tape three different sales people attempting to sell your new offering to the same title within the same vertical channel.
If you were to review the tapes, would you be able to determine:
1. If the same product/service was being sold?
2. If the salespeople even worked for the same company?
The presentation explores how the best of breed are aligning their sales and marketing methods to create the best buying experience, which begins with a common language. Part of the common language for sales and marketing personnel are their stories which need to include:
*Who I Represent
*The Customer Stories and How We Help
*Who I Am
One of the better ways to avoid the CEO scenario referenced above is to arm sales and marketing on new product and service launches with "how we help" stories.
Customers are not focused on features and benefits in the beginning of the buyers journey. Help them create a vision of a solution based on value to satisfy their particular needs. This is built on "how" your product and/or service helps them satisfy their needs encapsulated within a story which resonates with the title and vertical industry being called on.
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"Too many B2B companies are flat out failing at social media marketing. It isn’t their fault. This isn’t an attack on the companies. Heck, they are at least brave enough to give it a shot."
"Instead this is an explanation for why a new marketing channel has been slow to grow in the B2B space. This shouldn’t be news to anyone though. Email marketing has been around for decades and many companies still don’t have that mystery figured out yet."
"Instead of placing blame, let’s diagnose the reasons B2B companies aren’t seeing success with social media."
The article covers 10 areas to evaluate your own B2B social media marketing channels. Including lack of proper content, haven't used paid social search, focus on lead generation, management support, right data, and website designs.
Reading between the lines, it appears B2B social media is the "step child" in many marketing plans. If proper metrics are not in place to "inspect what you expect" to support the overall sales and marketing plans. How does upper management and/or others in the company get behind the B2B social media marketing channels of your company.
Read the full article for ideas around improving any of your B2B social media channels.