Becoming an intuitive company

Easy to UnderstandPeople need to know what your company does and how it will benefit them in simple terms!

Everyday, our client services team answers the same questions day in and day out. It is a part of the job. Clients, likewise are looking for answers to questions in a quick, easy-to-understand manner.

Intuitive means ” based on or agreeing with what is known or understood without any proof or evidence” Meriam-Websters

It is something to strive for as a company. The companies that are good at becoming more intuitive are those that ultimately serve their clients the best. However, it isn’t quite that easy. Companies really need to work at becoming more intuitive. Here are some ways to become more intuitive as a company:

Make sure employees have a “good” knowledge of product and service information. Each day, employees should strive to learn more about the products and services they provide clients.

Develop a good FAQ list online and for personal reference. Make sure employees understand how to answer basic client service questions. This is especially true in the summer when employees take vacations and others cover for them. Sometimes, service falls off a bit.

Make sure you keep in contact with your employees through newsletters, social media, client contacts and letters. By staying close to the client, employees will always be able to make sure the company is meeting the clients’ needs.

Continue to develop ways to become a simpler company. Clients’ time is valuable. People want answers right away that are clear and easy to understand.

What other specific items would you add to this list?

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Engage, Equip, Empower

3Es of MarketingThe 3E’s are the new way to market.

I came across this term in  Why Word Of Mouth Marketing IS The Most Important Social Media  by Kimberly Whitler, July 17, 2104

This article is well worth your time to read.

Can you explain the Three E’s in more detail?

Equip—Give them reasons to talk. It can be amazing products, great service, insider knowledge, social elevation, incredible stories, unbelievable facts or even funny disclosures. It’s on you. It really depends on you understanding your consumers and what they like about you and providing whatever it is they need from you. Apple revolutionizes technological devices and delivers amazing products to its consumers, allowing them to naturally raze about the newest iPhone. Another area to excel in and that’s on the rise is social customer service.

Empower—Give consumers different ways to talk and share. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. Help them find ways to share within their circles and find ways to help move their conversations around. Lay’s is an excellent example to highlight how they empowered their fans to “Do Us a Flavor,” and allow consumers to create a new flavor of potato chips to hit store shelves. Over 3.8 million submissions were sent in 2013 making it one of the biggest marketing campaigns for PepsiCo owned Frito-Lay.

Source Why Word Of Mouth Marketing IS The Most Important Social Media  by Kimberly Whitler, July 17, 2104

After looking at these terms more closely, I really believe these terms provide a great outline for marketing into the future.

I really like the topics dealing with Equipping and Empowering. I think the first term, engage is often overused and misunderstood. Basically, you cannot be good at engaging with clients if you do not have the other two parts. (Equip and Empower)

Equip – For me, this concept is tied closely with content marketing and communicating with clients on a regular basis. In order to be a good communicator, you must be able to talk in an interesting way that captures clients and brings them closer to your company.

Empower- We are in a  huge transition right now. Some people like “hard copy” media, others prefer text messages, still others like email. All of us are using different channels to reach our clients. The best approach is when you can start to combine channels to create an ever more powerful message.

What are your thoughts on the the 3 E’s?  Do you agree with these concepts?  What challenges are you currently facing?

I welcome your comments and look forward to diving deeper into these concepts in the near future.

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Coke – Personalizing it’s Brand with Consumers

Coke BrandingPersonalized marketing, (connecting one-on-one)  will be one valuable lesson learned from 2014.

Have you seen the new Coke cans and bottles with people’s name on them.

What a clever way to share a brand and spread the word. If you haven’t seen or heard abou this new promotion check out the video below.

Some lessons to think about.

Viral promotions by going personal
Today, we need to connect with our audience. One way is to call out people by their first name and make that connection. In the beginning I see this promotion going viral in a big way. Keeping it going into the future will be the challenge of the Coke Marketing Team.

Using hashtags – Creating action
I think the use of the hashtag #shareacoke is a great start to keeping the momentum alive on social media sites.  Action hashtags could be the new way to gain followers on socila media.

Connecting people of all ages
Too much emphasis is made on connecting with younger generations. People like to see their names on established brands. Why not make the connection across groups instead of trying to always target a specific sector.

Brand Marketing is coming back
Brand marketing is the glue that helps bring traditional and digital marketing together.

What other lessons could you make the case for with respect to this new campaign?

Please consider sharing your thoughts on this topic.

Picture Source | Fdbusiness.com

Getting Recognized in the Market

Brand RecognitionAre you measuring your company brand with respect to recognition?

Getting recognized in the market is really the goal of today’s marketing initiatives. Too often, marketers and executives focus their time and energy on articles like this, Marketers Still Struggling to Get Results from Content Marketing, July 16, 2014.  I know, I often look at articles like this too, but often these type of articles give the same type of summary information that most people know, like “companies need to understand their clients better”.

Whether it is social media, content marketing, B2B marketing, B2C marketing or SEO, it really comes down to companies setting down a plan to become better recognized.

I typically ask the following questions and it helps  lead me to some future projects and priorities.

  • How do I want people to recognize our brand?
    • What should clients see when they see our brand?
    • What type of weaknesses are we aware of that we must improve on.?
    • Where do we rank in our industry?
  • Where do we want our brand to be recognized?
    • Are we planning on attending a national confernece or trade show?
    • What local shows or events should we be looking at to gain more exposure
    • Are there publications or websites that we need to look at more closely.
  • Why do we want our brand to be recognized?
    • Are we going after a “new” market
    • Do we need to reconnect more with our current clients?
    • Are we losing ground to competitors?
  • When do we want our brand to be recognized?
    • Do we need daily interaction and recognition on social media sites?
    • Are we working toward a rebranding or new logo?
    • Is the company merging or acquiring another company?

Marketers and executives need to look at their company brands from a recognition standpoint instead of focusing solely on technology. If you go through the exercise above, you will start to see a better picture of where you want to go with your brand. The results from this exercise will help make better decisions in the areas of content marketing, social media and search marketing. In fact, you may see some combintation of approaches ocurring. This is always a good thing!

Getting recognized today by clients, advocates and potential clients is extremely important and it is a daily process that needs monitoring and implementation of new, fresh ideas.

Start getting recognized more today!

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Productivity is Trending

ProductivityI talked about productivity a few weeks ago and how no one wants to talk about it.  Productivity – The topic no one wants to talk about

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe, some companies are getting the message and are taking it very seriously.

Did you see Microsoft CEO’s Satya Nadella’s email to his employees?

Here is a brief statement on why productivity was one of the “highlights” of his message.

…Productive people and organizations are the primary drivers of individual fulfillment and economic growth and we need to do everything to make the experiences and platforms that enable this ubiquitous. We will think of every user as a potential “dual user” – people who will use technology for their work or school and also deeply use it in their personal digital life. They strive to get stuff done with technology, demanding new cloud-powered applications, extensively using time and calendar management, advanced expression, collaboration, meeting, search and research services, all with better security and privacy control. Microsoft will push into all corners of the globe to empower every individual as a dual user – starting with the soon to be 3 billion people with Internet-connected devices. And we will do so with a platform mindset. Developers and partners will thrive by creatively extending Microsoft experiences for every individual and business on the planet…

Source: Satya Nadella Memo,  July 10, 2014

Productivity will be the talk of many companies in 2014. It is important that companies look for ways to become more innovative in the way they serve their clients.

The more I look at marketing programs and client service, the more I come back to this term, productivity.  I keep reflecting back on the post I wrote regarding Southwest Airlines and Tom Peter’s comments about how we must take care of our external clients, but also take care of our internal clients. The internal clients need the most up-to-date tools and resources in order for them to service client needs. This simple fact cannot be ignored.

It appears Satya Nadella is also taking this last part very seriously too.

In order to deliver the experiences our customers need for the mobile-first and cloud-first world, we will modernize our engineering processes to be customer-obsessed, data-driven, speed-oriented and quality-focused. We will be more effective in predicting and understanding what our customers need and more nimble in adjusting to information we get from the market. We will streamline the engineering process and reduce the amount of time and energy it takes to get things done. You can expect to have fewer processes but more focused and measurable outcomes. You will see fewer people get involved in decisions and more emphasis on accountability. Further, you will see investments in two new or combined functions: Data and Applied Science and Software Engineering. Each engineering group will have Data and Applied Science resources that will focus on measurable outcomes for our products and predictive analysis of market trends, which will allow us to innovate more effectively. Software Engineering will evolve so that information can travel more quickly, with fewer breakpoints between the envisioning of a product or service and a quality delivery to customers. In making these changes we are getting closer to the customer and pushing more accountability throughout the organization.

Source: Satya Nadella Memo,  July 10, 2014

The memo is a great reminder for all managers and executives to read and reflect on with respect to their own company direction. Take a minute and read this recent memo and see if there is any application for your company.

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Keeping your brand sustainable

Slim-Fast ComebackDo you ever wonder if people still recognize your company brand?

I read this article regarding an iconic brand and it really made me think some more about this topic.

Can a new owner fatten up Slim-Fast?

The article really made me think about some of the services our company currently sells and how they have been around for 20-30 years. Now our company’s brand name is not quite at the level of Slim Fast, but that should not be a reason to look closer at what these services offer our clients and look for ways to maximize their value.

Right now, the consumer is very confused when it comes to brands. Today, brands are traded like baseball cards between different companies. In addition, many products only change their outside packaging and never really update the quality of their product or service.

As the owner of your company brand it is good to be reminded of these type of examples and to constantly look for ways to market your products and company brand so it can have a sustained value into the future.

If you purchased the Slim Fast brand, what would you change in order to increase more awareness?
How can you apply this information to your own company brand?

Remember this commercial from the 1990’s?

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Creating Reports for Your Clients

Marketing ReportsToday, the focus is on “big data” or keeping up with mobile technology.

Companies are popping up everywhere with the latest developments in technology. Consumers are being hit with new promotions like the following:

  • Control your heating and air with this app from your phone.
  • Have all your soil data and finances delivered straight to your tractor.
  • Install voice-activated lighting for your home.
  • Know where your kids are at all times with this location app

By continuing to market technology, many of us might be missing the real benefit from all of this technology. That benefit is…

REPORTS

It sounds simple, but I really feel it is the missing link and one that I am looking at closely. Companies are going to have to do a better job of taking data and passing it to the buyers of their products and services. You are starting to see examples of this output in a variety of industries:

  • New nutritional food labels – Right now the consumer has to determine if the food content meets his/her dietary needs. A simpler, cleaner label would accomplish this task and help people gain knowledge in this area.
  • Online banking- Consumers can make decisions and setup payment processes on their schedule from the convenience of their phone.
  • Cover – (New) iphone/android app that allows people to put go to a restaurant and  make payment on their food without being interrupted by the serving staff. This app is only available in New York and San Francisco, but it really

As you can see, if you make processes simple and reporting of information is cleaner, technology can help drive this process.

MARKETING

Marketing fits nicely into this picture. It is time for marketing departments to not only develop communications, but also create reports to help people in their decsion-making process. In many ways, selling data may be a better option then the specific product or service. Amazon is one of the best companies at addressing this need. Amazon does the following:

  • Provides product/service information
  • Provides easy access online and one-click buying
  • Provides follow-up email information based on your recent purchases
  • Provides feedback from other buyers
  • Offers everyone the opportunity to share their feedback regarding the product.
  • Gives higher-end clients perks like free shipping.
  • Gives information regarding the author or service provider

In the end, Amazon provides its clients with a virtual report on many different levels. People can go to the site and gather a lot of information in a short period of time and make decisions on their time.

Where is your company at with respect to this model? What would it take for your company to offer this type of information?

This model may not be suitable for all industries, but it does provide a framework of putting the decision-maker in control and how critical it is that decision-making information be given to people in a simple and easy-accesible format.

Something to think about!

Picture Source:  PixelPerfectDigital.com

Advocate Building

Advocate BuildingIn the last three years, I have really looked at this whole issue of advocate building.

Many companies in the past were  focused solely on those clients who brought in the most money.  This is a dangerous attitude to have. In today’s world every customer is important to some degree. Ask a company who provided poor service that ultimately cost them in a social media post.

Building an advocate network is a great way to build your brand in a way that people know about your company and are always interested in learning more.  Word-of-mouth is coming back in a big way. You see people talking about brands in online chats, social media sites, community events, trade shows and conferences.

The definition of advocate usually includes words like “support”, “recommend” or “promote”

Social media sites have done a disservice to this term by labeling these people followers. People want to be an advocate of great companies. The tough part for companies is to recognize these people and treat them as advocates more so than followers. Here are some examples of how you can encourage advocates of your company

  • Offer an advocate some company property: pen with company logo, shirt with company logo
  • Give an advocate some marketing materials like price list, annual report
  • Offer your advocates a tour. Many local business networking groups and organizations enjoy company tours and once they get a look at your company, they will tell others.
  • Connect with your business vendors through outside groups and organizations.

Finally – Start promoting your personal brand more. This is the step that most people overlook. I talk about my company, Midwest Laboratories on a regular basis with other marketing professionals and executives in the community. It lets people know who you are and helps people associate a person’s name with a company brand.

Take it to another level and connect your personal brand with people on Linkedin. I use Linkedin, exclusively for connecting with clients and advocates. It shows that I want our connection to stay professional and by participating on a regular basis, I will keep in touch with these people.

Stop trying to build your follower counts and look at building your network of advocates. There is a big difference.
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Going to Market Everyday

Market Place MarketingOver the past 10 years, I have seen a huge shift in the way companies need to approach their markets. It used to be that markeitng teams spent weeks and months on a big campaign to promote a new product or service. All os the pieces were in place and once the project was implemented, companies monitored the situation and followed the campaign to determine how successful the campaign would be.

Today, the marketing culture has changed. Social media is a big part of this. I would also add that mobile and “instant news” is also a contributing factor.

Everyday, when I first step inside the companys’ front doors I ask myself what type of clients will we be in contact today. I ask myself the following questions:

  • Are we serving our current clients’ needs?
  • Are we answering client questions in a timely manner?
  • Are we able to get our final deliverables to the clients?
  • Are there any issues preventing us from achieving results?
  • What items are happening locally and nationally that could affect our business?
  • What is our competition up to?
  • Are employees being taken care of at our company?
  • Are we receiving payment for our services?

It is an everyday job? All of these items have an effect on the way we do business.

What I am learning from the above questions is that people in other organizations are also asking these same questions. My role as a marketer is to insure that I have a good understanding of what is happening around me both inside the company and outside the company. Just like a person who sets up a booth at an open market, I, too, must be able to meet with clients on a daily basis. Our clients deserve this, and the business culture is demanding that we interact daily with our clients.

Do you prepare yourself to go to market each day? I would welcome your comments and additions to how you get prepared each day.

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Productivity – The topic no one talks about

ProductivityWhy are’nt more people talking about productivity?

People in marketing talk about analytics, social media, press releases, advertisements.

Many executivtes talk about how busy they are. Busy is an over-used word which means they are filling time doing some type of activity.

It is time for marketers to talk about productivity. Productivity can be measured in a number of ways:

  • Total Sales
  • Total client inquiries addressed
  • New Accounts opened daily, monthly, annually
  • New Product(s)/Service(s) introduced
  • Projects (Started/Completed)

These metrics show results of our work. They can be basis by which to measure productivity.

Market and Sell  Your Companys’ Productivity – Most people miss out on this important concept.

Today, I am seeing way too many people talking about being busy and doing ok. When people ask me how things are going, I talk in specifics: sales are up, volume of work has increased over the past few months and continues to remin high.  We have several projects we are working on to keep up with our current production capacity.

This type of information is the way to sell your company to someone. Any sales or marketing person can talk about business and what is the glamour in talking about how busy a person is. Do you connect to people who  are busy? I want to know more, but sadly many people do not know how to talk about productivity.

Productivity can be a huge selling point to a potential client. People want to be a part of a growing company, one that is meeting client needs and is continually improving processes to meet those needs.

If you are a marketing professional and you do not have any idea about your companys’ productivity, you need to find out and look for ways to incorporate productivity into your conversation.

Summary

The next time someone asks you how things are going at your company make sure you talk about your companys’ productivity. I guarantee you that people will look at you a lot differently and will ask for more.

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Are you confusing Google?

Google UpdatesAre you frustrated with your Google Search Rankings? Are you resisting the changes which Google is proposing? Maybe it’s time to take a close look at your own sites and see why your current actions may be confusing to Google.  (Just a Thought)

If you take a hard look at your sites, you will be faced with the facts that Google is pushing you to change the way your sites are viewed on Google and it may be time for some chagnes. These changes are difficult and time-consuming, but I hope others can benefit from the information I am shairng in this post.

Here are some of the changes I have made in 2014.

  • Deleted a number of complimentary websites that link to our company site.
    • From 2007 – 2012, it was cool to have domain names that were associated with keyword search terms and Google used to recognize these sites.
    • Today, these sites were getting few hits if any and most had dropped down from their previous first page positions.
    • Google wants your company site and trusted content authors. Make sure your content is recognized on main sites and leave the rest behind unless most of your traffic comes from Bing or Yahoo.
  • Deleted curreent Google+ Company Page and installed new Google+ Company Page
    • This was a tough change for me. I lost a number of subscribers. I introduced a company page when they were first available, the problem in the last few months is that Google wanted to integrate Google Places, Google+ Company Page and YouTube together. I initially fought this move, but decided it would be in my best interest to follow Google and make sure I did not have duplicate content.
    • Google wants companies to be a part of Google My Business
  • Deleted Company YouTube Account
    • Another tough change. Google wants to integrate YouTube with Google+.
    • Build your YouTube Channel through your Google+ Company Page so the two are integrated.
  • Google Authorship – Very important  part of this whole process
    • Make sure your sites are associated with a specific person who is in charge of content for the site.
    • If you are a content marketer, consider writing for your company and for yourself. (Google will recognize you)
    • Google+ is gaining traction.  Do you have the new mobile app, “My Business” – rich with analytics – ties Google Analytics and Google+ together.
  • Google Webmaster Tools  – Invest some time and resolve issues with your site.
    • I wasn’t aware of how important this step was. Clean up your site and make sure your sites are mobile friendly. (Can’t ignore this any longer.

These changes are tought ones to make, but in the end, what is your goal. If your goal is to be in organic search, you need to make these changes. Google has made a number of things confusing by issuing new applications over the past few years, but now, Google is reeling back and integrating its applications together. I am not agreeing with all of these changes, but ultimately I want our company to be easily found on Google and by making this critical decision to follow the Google Roadmap, I believe I will be able to have our site readily indexed and in the end, it will be a win-win for our company.

I welcome your comments and let me know of other steps you have taken with respect to this topic

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Southwest Airlines – A good 4th of July Comparison

July 4, 2014Southwest Airlines“If you wish to put the customer first, then you must put the person who serves the customer more  first” (No typo) – Tom Peters

As you celebrate the 4th of July, take time and reflect on those people who took it upon themselves to come together to serve a larger client, (the future residents of the United States). We need to reflect on the actions these men and women took in standing up for their freedon and how they came together to establish this great country. If you need a bit of a refresher, watch this short video presentation.

I am a huge Tom Peters fan and I never get tired of his books and presentations. I took some time a week ago and listened to some of his previous writings (audible books) Pursuit of Wow!, ReImagine.  The concepts in those publications still hold value today. The best thing I like about Tom  is that he is willing to change his perspective on different topics and he is always looking to learn more and improve.

Take a minute and listen to this most recent presentation on Southwest Airlines and how Sothwest services not only its clients, but its own employees. It is a great story of how a great company continues to make a difference in a world where other airlines flounder and are always fighting an uphill battle.

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Have a Great 4th of July Celebration.

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Writing for the Future | Content Marketing

Online Internet Marketing.So much emphasis is placed on accessing the latest news. Our kids witness this in the way they text their friends and interating with sites like Instagram and Twitter.

In the workplace, marketing teams are asked to have a presence on social media sites, but the last few years have really showed that more and more people are broadcasting information regarding the news or retweeting the latest news.

My advice, don’t get caught up in a dialogue about the news.  Write from the standpoint of your experience and…

Find a way to write sustainable content

Too many times as a blogger, I think like a news writer who wants to create new, exciting information that is focused on the most current trends. This type of writing can be done, but it is very hard to maintain. I have found that if I pick “niche” topics  and create a deeper understanding of those topics, I am actually adding tremendous value to my readers.

The tricky part is keeping a mindset that uses information from the past and builds on it to create something that is dynamic.

How to write for the future

The best approach I have found, is to review some of the blog posts that I have written that have been received very favorably. I look for similarities with respect to these blog posts and start to see patterns. With these patterns, I am able to build on these topics. At my company, we have some seasonal testing which occurs at the same time every year for a period of a few weeks. During this time, I really try to write content that will bring out my knowledge by tying old concepts with new concepts. The combination of these concepts creates a concept that people can really relate to.

I have also looked at analytics in a whole new way. I am more interested in the types of articles that are being accessed and read versus the day-to-day readership. Through this process I am learning the following:

  • Great content has more value over time and can be sustainable if it is written on a blog site that you can control
  • Building search organically has always been my goal.  Combine this with sustainability and you will not need to purchase pay-per-click advertising
  • 1 – 3 years is typically the amount of sustainability I can expect. I have been blogging for 6 years.
  • Writing for the future will keep your content in line with all the future Google Panda Updates. (It will also help you improve your writing)

Finally

Write material from your heart. I can’t say it any simpler. If you write from your experiences and you share those experiences with others, you will get noticed and you be adding tremendous value for your readers.

 

 

 

Branding – The New Marketing

Branding ManagementIf you are a marketer, you really want to check out this must read article, “It’s the End of ‘Marketing’ As We Know It at Procter & Gamble” by Jack Neff

I had some time last week to reflect on wehre I wanted to go with marketing. I really think this article looks at the concept of “Branding” and where all of us need to go with respect to our own brand management initiatives.

I really like how brand mangement has been broken down.

Brand Management at P&G now encompasses four functions — including, of course, brand management (formerly known as marketing), consumer and marketing knowledge (a.k.a. market research), communications (known as public relations at some companies and up until a couple of years ago as external relations at P&G), and design (known as design pretty much everywhere, except where it’s called visual brand identity and such). Source  “It’s the End of ‘Marketing’ As We Know It at Procter & Gamble” by Jack Neff

Brand Management

It realy does come down to what you want your company to be known for and what your company stands for.  I have talked about this concept in previous posts. (The Importance of Brand Management)

Consumer and Marketing Knowledge

In this age of “Big Data”, how well do we really know our clients and are we doing all we can to understand their wants and needs. (Big Data Management)

Communications

Communications is more then public relations. It is all about building a presence in the market on a regular basis. (Comunications)

Design

How to bring all of these concetps together through design (Integrating Design and Media)

Branding will be a major topic of discussion for the future as Mr. Neff has stated in the article referenced above.

What type of thoughts do you have after reading his article?

Do you agree with these concepts?

Midyear Marketing Observations for 2014

2014 Marketing ReportAs we reach the halfway point of 2014, I think it is good to reflect on some of the things I have discovered and learned in 2014 and what I need to focus on the rest or the year.

Some Observations On Various Marketing Topics

Mobile Apps

Build simple, functional apps. If you can give your clients an app that is easy to use, with no instructions you will have a winner on your hands. The hardest part is getting the word out about your app for people to download.

Blogging

Blogging is the key to making social media work as well as content markting. It is the glue that holds things together. Continue to stay focused on writing about information pertinent to your readers. If you stray from your core ideas, your readers will to. Create a following and don’t be so concerned about huge numbers of followers.

Content Marketing

People are still trying to define this concept. For me it is content that is written for a particular audience and posted on a regular basis. The only way content marketing works is if it is done on a consistent basis. There is no such thing as producing only quality content. If this is your goal, I am sure you end up with 1 or 2 articles a month. If you post regularly, 3-5 days a week, you will have good days and bad days. Overall, your writing will get better.

Twitter

Twitter is news and more news. I engage some, but I do not go crazy. It is more of a communication channel for me. Company profiles are becoming more acceptable. Sharing pictures is also a key to sustaining growth.  Have a presence, but don’t spend hours and hours trying to reach people. People are reading tweets quickly and moving on. Marketers should follow suit and do the same.

Facebook

Facebook continues to bring in great analytics and new updates to pages. Facebook is still a place for friends. Also, group communication thrives here for schools, churches and organizations. I read some of the posts that my friends write about and I use it as a place to screen contacts. Be careful what you post here.

Branding

Branding is coming back in a big way. I think social media, content marketing and other terms will revert back to branding. How can we make our brands more relevant in a world of distactions and so much information. I will be looking at branding a lot for the rest of 2014.

Google Search

Google has implemented some new changes in the past few weeks for companies. Google is forcing companies to have one id for GooglePlus, YouTube, GooglePlaces, GoogleMaps. Check out GoogleMyBusiness.com and learn more. Also, Google Authorship is taking off again, I am noticing better organic search in the past month. I have made some changes, but I think Google is making even more changes.

Managing Websites

Make sure your websites are up to date. Old, out of date sites are quickly becoming obsolete. If you have a site over a year old that hasn’t been updated, you might want to consider starting over if you are serious about people finding you. In addition, it appears domain names may be relevent as far as search results go. Following this last item a little closer.

Managing Social Media

I still contend that the best people to use social media are executives. Executives need to be closer to clients and people enjoy following executives who are active on social media sites.

Tradeshows

Are still great places to reconnect with clients and find new clients. Bring your business card. Make sure you have printed materials.  Make sure you really check out the tradeshow agenda closely. Floor times are getting squeezed. Also, consider presenting. Presenting companies usually have more of a following than representatives in a booth.

Linkedin

Daily updates are the way to go if you want to stay connected with your contacts. Also, when you make a change to your profile that information is communicated to your connections.  Followers to our company page are growing at a very slow rate, but the right people are finding our company there.

Online Client Inquiries

Here is a metric that I use on a regular basis. People are hopefully doing their research and finding our company online. I like to receive 10 – 13 inquiries a day. 90% of the people who post questions to our website will conduct business with us.

Big Data

This topic is still relatively new. I look for some new type of  CRM system to come on the market which will help capture data in a more efficient manner. For now, I focus on certain data that I find useful about clients and I continue to stay in touch with the market.

Client Service

This area is really the key to a successful marketing promotion. This is vital for continued sucess in the future.  Don’t underestimate the power of great service to clients.

A Few More Personal Thoughts…

Getting Rejuvenated 

Use your vacation time and spend it with your family. Do something completely out of the ordinary. Enjoy the time you have away from work.

Put Your Smartphone on the Shelf

Put your smartphone away for a day. Try it and see if you can go a whole day without looking at it.

Develop Some New Ideas this Summer

Read a book this summer or visit a local company or area of town and try to develop some new ideas for your business.

Exercise more

Make time to work out stress. We spend too much time in front of computer screens and sitting. Get out, go for a walk. Find time to workout and sweat.

Summary

What type of observations have you made from your work in 2014?
Please share your observations and thoughts. I would be curious how others feel about these particular topics. Thanks again for reading this long blog post!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Smartphone Culture – You need to embrace it!

smartphone cultureThis past weekend, I attended a couple of College World Series Games and the games were very exciting games. (low scoring, dramatic finishes). What really struck me though were the fans. The fan experience is not only the game, the scoreboard and the food, but the little device that almost 50-60% of the fans were holding in their hands.

People cannot get enough of their phones. People are constantly texting, tweeting, reading, taking selfies, sharing information on Facebook and more.

You cannot go any place without seeing someone looking at their smartphone. It really is a sign of our current culture. Everyone is starved for the latest news, post and picture. We used to think people were spending too much time in front of the television. Smartphones are quickly becoming the new television.

Disconnecting is becoming harder and harder for people. Could you go a day without your smartphone?

The missing part in all of this is live, human interaction.

This is where your business comes in. People want to be served more than ever.  People are becoming increasingly self-serving because their  smartphone provides them with data from companies, conversations and pictures.  When people call your company, they are making comments like the following:

  • Where can I find that information on your website? (Really prefer mobile sites over traditional websites)
  • I could not find where to go with respect to price on your site (Used to Amazon and eBay sites)
  • Is there an email address of someone I could work with (Easier to send Email than call)
  • What is the address of your company? (Needed for Google Maps)

Client Service Difference

The differential you can provide is to be the expert and answer their questions directly. Some companies do not  have “live” client service help. If you want to make a difference today, you need live people who have knowledge of the company’s products and services.

More Transparency

Companies need to evaluate their websites and make sure their sites are mobile friendly.  This information as listed above helps people find information they are seeking and puts the power in the hands of the consumer.

Have a Presence Online

Social media is here. People like to connect with people they see on a regular basis. You do not need to go crazy here and spend all of your time engaging, but you need to give people a reason to stay in contact with you. It really is that simple.

Summary

Start looking at your company information from the standpoint of  a person who holds the keys in the palm of their hands.  How are you going to get your message to people who are finding all of their information on their mobile devices.   Put yourself in their place and see for yourself if your company information is easy to follow on mobile devices or not.

photo credit: gholzer via photopin cc

 

 

Fast-Paced Marketing

virtual pixel sign internet icons conceptEveryday I come to work, I am not sure what the day will bring. I actually enjoy the fact that our phones are constantly ringing and that email questions are received. People want answers and responses quickly.  People want answers, updates on products/services and ultimately want results.

Items posted on social media sites have a very short shelf life and many times are not read or responded to.  However, marketers work these platforms hoping to connect with people and create some information to share with others.

Tradeshows have limited hours for showcasing products, as a result companies try to reach as many people as they can.

Marketers need to create information that can resonate longer. This is why the content marketing component is so critical. Information contained on blogs and website updates can remain in place for a long time. As a result, this information remains accessible and searchable.

This is why business cards still have a place as well as brochures and handouts. This type of printed information is great for people to have as a reference or reminder. It will not be there forever, but it has the chance of resonating more than a tweet or Facebook Post.

The name of the game is speed, but it is important to have information available in all types of formats to help keep a sustainable presence.

Don’t get caught-up in falling for the paperless society. If you are totally paperless and you are relying only on social media, how will people find you or know anything about you. Make sure you keep your marketing focus on the long-term and always strive to create a sustainable presence!

 

Are you in the market or watching from the outside?

MarketingEveryday there are new opportunities awaiting companies. People are making decisions faster than ever. With information at their disposal, they can quickly formulate an opinion based on information they find online. The internet has become a network of vast information. Each day, more and more content is being added.

As marketers, we must be in tune with what is happening. We have been told over and over, we need to know where are clients are and make sure we are finding them. I am not so sure that this message holds true in 2014.

I am seeing a faster shift…  A shift where marketers must be visible more…  It is one of being consistent in the marketplace rather than trying to watch and analyze the market.

Here are some ways to be in the market:

  • Make sure your name is tied to a company group email.  info@company_name.com  – – You will see what type of questions people are asking. You might discover a potential market.
  • Talk to your client service staff everyday. What types of questions are they dealing with?
  • Monitor activity on social media and share information from your blog site or other helpful information.
  • Get involved with your own company blog and social media teams. You will learn a lot.
  • Attend a specific industry conference. See how other companies are marketing and reaching their clients.
  • Use Google Alerts to help you monitor information regarding key words.

Getting directly involved is the best approach to maximizing your marketing efforts! Where are you spending most of your time?

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net