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Integrated Marketing


integrated-marketing-puzzle
Using customer intelligence and buyer behavior to your advantage directly drives brand value. Are you using integrated marketing to generate leads and brand awareness across multiple mediums? It becomes easier to increase customer interactions with your brand and influence behavior in different situations of the life cycle curve if you’re swimming in different content streams so to speak.

Nurturing, qualification and decision-making all occurs at very different stages in the buying process. You can drive value to your audience by using a multiple tactic approach, even when your content strategy is similar or messaging stays consistent. Inbound mediums like pay-per-click and SEO can help move your audience from the status quo phase into considering alternatives. Then use brand building mediums like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and SlideShare to guide your audience through the objections and decision making stages.

Research can help close the feedback loop in the ROI phase and translate customer intelligence into your brand. It can also help define the journey a customer goes through to become a passionate promoter of who you are. Ask your marketing team this question: are your tactics cooperating with or impeding the progress your brand?

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Content for SEO


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Google, Bing and Yahoo are all focused on creating a great user experience. To climb the search rankings, you need to keep in mind how relevant your content is directly plays a role in this experience and where you land in the rankings. The process of creating original and quality content is essential to being found, and more importantly, helping search engines and their visitors find you organically as research is conducted.

White papers and web copy should be optimized for SEO. Make sure your copy includes the highest traffic short tail keywords that generate a high volume of searches on a monthly basis. Then reposition your content to Facebook, Twitter, SlideShare and any social site that can help aid your reputation as an authority in your field. Blogs can help you increase your conversions by playing a positive role in information search before the purchase decision occurs.

Paid links are wonderful for increasing traffic as well. Just keep in mind there is a game to be played between increasing your impact and the nuances of site interaction. Watch your bounce rate and click through rate to determine if your content is compelling enough to keep visitors on your site. The value of your usability and readability can also be measured by an increase in new likes or new followers as you measure Return on Influence.

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Joby Semmler is a partner at Eclipse and marketing strategist based in Indianapolis.

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Reasons to Measure Social Media


Social media utilizes resources – Just because your Facebook account is free, that doesn’t mean your available time to do business is.  Your lead management program should be focused and strategic, allocating resources wisely to lead management tools that identify the greatest number of leads.  If your CEO is paying attention, they will recognize inefficiencies that affect the relationship between marketing and sales.  Be prepared in advance to discuss your social media marketing ROI and individual campaign ROI.

Social media analytics are quickly becoming more available – Understanding where you are making marketing mistakes is just as important as creating successful programs.  Campaign management software like NitroMojo can help you measure user engagement, demand creation and social lead nurturing programs at the click of a button.  Lead nurturing programs can quickly be modified through buyer behavior analysis and participating in conversations in real time.

Social media continues to gain momentum – Smaller companies are embracing tactics like blogging and video at a greater rate than larger firms, more than likely due to less legal and logistical hassles with the process.  Competitive advantages can be gained if you build your sales marketing plan with the lead management tools to effectively go head-to-head with the larger companies in your channel.

Social media changes by the minute – The best channel management strategy recognizes what is popular today may not be tomorrow.  Rely on consumer marketing research and customer surveying to predict where your ideal customer is spending their time online.  If you are a retail outlet and you recognize FourSquare is growing rapidly, add incentives into your sales marketing plan for consistent shoppers who become the mayor of your retail locations.  Measure campaign ROI by specific social incentives to compare responsiveness to your everyday walk in traffic.

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Lead scoring increases sales conversions


Lead scoring is the methodology of ranking an incoming consumer inquiry from a marketing event based on critical success factors to closing the sale.  The rules of engagement may change from company to company based on the voice-of-the-customer but they have the same common essence: to best identify where a prospect is in the purchase life cycle, and create urgency for sales teams to contact prospects in order of those who have the most urgent decision making needs.

There are many benefits to scoring incoming leads from customer centric criteria.  First, sales associates have a limited amount of resources and time available at their disposal.  By aiding the sales team’s ability to analyze the best opportunities that are the most likely to result in a sale, marketing management increases positive collaboration between all teams.  In short, when a sales associate believes marketing understands how to drive their business, there is more likelihood they will buy in at a greater rate of speed, directly influencing the success of the program.

Second, a marketing team must maximize their potential to create events that consistently get the best sales associates in front of more customers who are qualified as sales-ready.  This scenario presents the greatest likelihood of growth: leverage the most efficient use of company resources that generates the greatest marketing contribution to sales revenue.  The sales team is a critical asset to marketing resource management: are you helping your team to accurately qualify prospects so they can maximize their time spent selling?

Finally, the initial conversion rate of an incoming lead plays a critical role in determining the potential for customer lifetime value.  If a customer views your company as responsive to their needs, there is more likelihood they will purchase from you and have a greater loyalty response to future marketing events.  This directly increases your channel pricing power and allows you to promote at a consistently higher price point instead of using heavy discount programs that reduce margin.  The ability to reduce follow-up marketing costs in retention programs is critical in building customer lifetime value.

When creating your rules, assess purchase decision drivers into a measurable scorecard.  Recognize the sphere of influence the prospect resides in through campaign landing page questions.  Simple behavior questions can also help in the scoring process, such as questions that involve product motives and patronage motives. Anticipate the needs of your target customer and the positive feelings your value proposition must resonate inside of them to initiate a response.  Have a clear call to action that encourages a passive user to inquire about how you solve problems in their world.

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Retention marketing: developing consumer preference into partiality


Developing a consistent dialogue between your brand and consumer is essential to long-term market share growth.  While lead nurturing campaigns create awareness to the market problem your product/service offering can solve, retention programs communicate to existing customers that you are willing to go to any lengths to keep their business.

Strategy efforts that truly enhance customer partiality focus on eliminating available customers from the market, not necessarily eliminating competitors from the marketplace.  Customers are the “air flow” that every business needs: when your tactics eliminate the air your competitor needs to breathe, you end their potential for growth.  How are you using retention marketing to develop preference into partiality?

The main goal of retention research is clear: what kind of marketing programs would it take to make your customer voluntarily take themselves “off the market” and only buy from you?  An effective medium of confirming this connection is to conduct satisfaction outreach with your existing customer database and listen closely to the voice-of-the-customer responses.  Survey responses can help you understand the relevance your value proposition resonates with your existing customers and the consistency your messaging must maintain to hold their attention.

Use a research professional to write your survey questions so that skip patterns are determined in advance to guide the user experience.  Data collected from respondents will give you a clear perspective of the issues you need to resolve before departure occurs.  Promoter customers will confirm core competitive advantages that connect your value proposition to the messaging that develops the greatest potential for success.

Build your strategy by understanding the emotional connection between the research data that connects buyer behavior and purchase intent.  Realize quickly that if your company does not give a comprehensive brand experience that highly exceeds customer expectations, there is minimal potential for creating partiality.  Dialogue with your customer needs to be clear and consistent, and must connect fresh and compelling content in line with the evolving needs of the customer.  Determine the most profitable characteristics of existing customers, including how sync your resources in alignment of when to pursue a customer and when to walk away.

Never lose sight of the perception that how you sell a customer determines how you will serve your customers.  When positioned correctly, loyalty programs offer an influential incentive for the customer to continue participating in your brand experience after first purchase.  This type of tactic can be highly successful when you need to differentiate your product/service offering without sacrificing quality or price.  Consider the highly profitable business traveler: hotel loyalty programs offer an incentive to show partiality for their favorite hotel chain without specifically giving revenue back at the time of purchase.  Traveler incentives are given only after buyer behavior confirms partiality through a revenue stream of earlier purchases.  Airline frequent flyer miles are an example of how status and service is translated into partiality: the illusion of premium beverages at no cost, focused attention on all the details and a brand experience that exceeds expectations goes over very well with millions of travelers.

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Developing a customer lifetime value model


Customer lifetime value (“CLV”) is critical to sustaining a long-term dialogue and relationship with the audience driving your business.  CLV is used as a quantifiable metric, and defines how you measure the “value” of your customer base.  Are you currently segmenting your marketing resources into key performance indicators of acquisition, retention and cross-selling?

A solid CLV strategy can help your business in multiple ways.  It can help you directly increase the accountability of your marketing programs.  Tactics and resources can be properly allocated once the most influential programs that cut churn are discovered through voice-of-the-customer research.  Next, consider the critical problem that lack of retention has on generating revenue.  Analyze customer deflection for a specific time span and research if your value proposition speaks to the benefits that increase response rates and repeat buying.

Recognize the differences between the “awake” phase of the consumer buying cycle and the “awareness” phase.  Someone who is awake to your brand has given you the ability to share in their purchasing power.  This profile may need nurturing, and dropout rates segmented by tactic and messaging helps measure churn.  Understand your process of customer acquisition by recognizing the marketing influence that drives your “awareness” phase audience closest to the buying decision.  E-mail open clicks and landing page conversions can be simple measures to defining the difference between a dialogue that is current and a relationship that is over.

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