On Our Minds...

  • Digital is Everything but is Everything Digital?

    The statistics are tantalizing:

    • 2.5 Billion People are Online
    • 1.8 Billion are on Social Networks
    • There are 6.5 Billion Mobile Subscriptions globally.. more
    • 2.5 Billion People are Online
    • 1.8 Billion are on Social Networks
    • There are 6.5 Billion Mobile Subscriptions globally
    • Top Social Networks added 135 Million users in 2013
    • Facebook now has 1.184 Billion Users
    • North America has 81% Internet Penetration
    • Internet advertising will make up 25% of the entire ad market by 2015

    Most compelling is that we have never had more or better information about our customers than now. Every purchase, preference and potential next move of our prospects can be gathered, tracked and mined in ways that were unheard of as recently as 5 years ago. We know who they are, what and when they will buy, and we have the opportunity to develop their loyalty in deeper and more interesting ways. We also have unprecedented access to why they leave.

    The digital growth statistics are endless. If you add to the list the recent findings that 86% of today’s audiences now skip TV ads and 44% direct mail never gets opened, the death knell of traditional mediums seems to have sounded.

    Or has it?

    An effective marketing strategy will always be guided by the demographics of a company’s target audience and business objectives - never by a single medium or trend. For some firms with larger marketing budgets, investments in print, television, radio, direct mail and billboards will remain staples that work in the long term when closely aligned with their brand and product positioning.

    That said, what Digital has become is the great advertising equalizer between large established companies and smaller firms with limited resources. By leveling the playing field, Digital marketing continues to force traditional mediums to rethink their value proposition.

    That, in fact, may be the best news of all. If Digital isn’t everything, it is large on the landscape, ensuring that marketing spend is delivering tangible ROI through an integrated mix of high-impact relevant strategies.

  • MARKETINGSPEAK made clear to the C-Suite

    A 2011 report by the Fournaise Marketing Group reported that 77% of CEOS feel that marketing professionals talk too much about brand and the art of marketing yet do not link these aspects back to the company’s bottom line. Unfortunately, we agree. Soft metrics like brand awareness, web clicks, impressions, organic search rankings and reach are important – but only to the extent that they quantifiably connect to hard metrics like pipeline, revenue, and profit. It’s essential for consultants and in-house marketing teams to start to tie strategy for .. more

    A 2011 report by the Fournaise Marketing Group reported that 77% of CEOS feel that marketing professionals talk too much about brand and the art of marketing yet do not link these aspects back to the company’s bottom line. Unfortunately, we agree. Soft metrics like brand awareness, web clicks, impressions, organic search rankings and reach are important – but only to the extent that they quantifiably connect to hard metrics like pipeline, revenue, and profit.

    It’s essential for consultants and in-house marketing teams to start to tie strategy to revenue generation and build credibility towards achieving measurable ROI, impacting lead flow/conversion and developing new customer retention strategies.

    Fortunately, we now have a growing number of digital resources that provide meaningful analytics and speak the same quantitative language as the CEO and CFO. These tools are evolving but are a big step toward providing a framework that synchronizes company objectives and tracks performance.

    Dashboards and data, however are only as powerful as their relevance to the challenge at hand, and this is where the business conversation between marketing and C-suite executives has to be crystal clear. Revenue, sales earnings, and market valuation are the cornerstones of accountability and where the conversation has to be.

    Marketers don’t have to be analysts but they must have enough knowledge about a client’s business and KPIs to do a deeper dive into measurable targets. We need to present the facts, the methodology of strategy and the wider market and client trends that inform forecasting and tracking.

    Some of this is science, but the fact is that measuring outcomes still entails both art and science, innovation followed by realistic execution and creativity that is wed to results.

    At all stages, however, a marketing team must speak in the business terms that resonate with C-suite executives, embrace new forms of measurement and in doing so, provide a greater sense of value for CEOs and their leadership teams.

  • What customers want: We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

    Remember the "seller's" or "landlord's" market? Capital flowed, products or space were scarce, demand was high and pricing was on solid ground. It was a happy moment in the economic cycle that industries enjoyed, knowing that leaner times would come - once again.
    Supply vs. demand – companies either had the upper hand or waited it out while customers temporarily called the shots but stuck with them if their products or space were adequate and their service touch points.. more

    Remember the "seller's" or "landlord's" market? Capital flowed, products or space were scarce, demand was high and pricing was on solid ground. It was a happy moment in the economic cycle that industries enjoyed, knowing that leaner times would come - once again.
    Supply vs. demand – companies either had the upper hand or waited it out while customers temporarily called the shots but stuck with them if their products or space were adequate and their service touch points were reasonably successful.

    The digital explosion looked like it was going to extend that party. Companies now had more information about their customers than they dreamed possible. Armed with an increasingly 360° view of clients, it looked like the mystery of snagging and keeping customers was finally being unlocked in a big way. At last, companies had a permanent competitive edge that would keep them in the driver’s seat.

    That is, until they didn't.

    The digital age opened the vault to a vast array of customer information. That information, however, comes at a price now set by the consumer: You get my data if you use it to enhance my experience with you in new and consistently better ways than your competition.

    And what does that mean exactly? One thing it means is that traditional methods like price, distribution, product feature and amenities simply aren’t enough. The digital age has put consumers in control with a stronger voice, more information at their fingertips and a lower cost of switching loyalty. Obtaining and retaining customers is becoming the new frontier of innovation.

    Studies are showing that 87% of customers will never go back to an organization after a negative experience. They also show that acquiring a new customer can cost up to 5 times as much as retaining a current customer, and that a 2% increase in client retention can have the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10 per cent. And yet, additional studies have shown that only 26% of companies have a well-developed strategy in place for truly improving the experience of customers throughout their lifecycle.

    Whether the solutions lie in creating a meaningful experience of community, segmenting services or simply listening to clients and letting them define the aspiration, the opportunities are endless. The challenge will be to let go of the cyclical mindset and embrace earned loyalty as a standard in good markets and bad. The old models just don’t apply.

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