Monthly Archives: April 2011

Piggyback marketing: The T-Mobile Royal Wedding

In case it’s passed you by, there is the small matter of a Royal Wedding in the UK tomorrow. And in case it passed you by, T-Mobile released a great advertising skit to coincide with it.

A tenuous marketing link, and a break with tradition on this blog, but it’s worth a couple of minutes of your time and a useful example of how to piggyback a major event for your own promotional purposes.

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Five ways to get clients and customers to love you

I wrote a few weeks back about focus and whether businesses spend more time chasing new customers rather than looking after the ones they have. Though new business is the lifeblood of a company so too is turning a one-time transactional customer into a repeat purchaser over the long term and ultimately into an advocate for a brand.

So how do you get customers to make a long term connection. Here’s five tips to get you started.

1. Deliver. Above all get the big things right, first time, every time. Become known for being reliable, your stock will rise and how you are perceived will develop over time.

2. But dont forget the little things. Knowing what makes your customer tick and demonstrating empathy counts. It might be as simple as fitting your reporting in with their reporting cycle, acting as their industry news filter, remembering a birthday or anniversary. Find what works and use it to cement your relationship.

3. Make yourself available. Be contactable at times and using tools that your customer chooses. Even in the best relationships, acknowledge that the guy writing the cheques still has a degree more power and should be treated with that in mind.

4. Play the long game. Regardless of volume and spend, within the available time window, make them feel like the most important client in the world. They may not have the budget and resource now, but they won’t stay in the same job for ever AND word of mouth referral is a powerful thing. Good worthwhile clients, for example, often take their agencies with them.

5. Add value. Depending on how you work, provide snippets of useful information, industry news or a comment a couple of times a week. The benefit to your customer is the gift of insight; the benefit to you is remaining front of mind.

How do you get your customers to love you?

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The wall of knowledge

Kudos to Heidi Munc and Derren Hermann at Nationwide for this inspired piece of creative thinking, reminding us of the simplicity of using the open space we have as a facilitator for collaborative thinking.

I think every business would benefit from having a Wall of Knowledge. What do you think?

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Eight reasons why Facebook IS a place to do business

Last week I wrote a blog post arguing why I felt Facebook was no place for b2b marketers. I seeded it in a number of Linkedin groups and it has developed some interesting debate. (Look up the B2B Social Media and B2B Online groups if you are interested).

The intention was to follow up immediately with this post, but the London Marathon got in the way. So by way of redress, here are EIGHT reasons why Facebook should be considered in your marketing mix:

1. You just can’t argue with the numbers. Scale: 600m registered users. Pace: Reached 150m in 5 years when it took TV 38 years. Removing the ‘interruption’ argument, some of your target customers will be amongst them.

2. Facebook remains quite cool and there is still an early adopter advantage. Few companies in traditional b2b sectors are embracing the business services available, the opportunity to build a brand, develop a hub for all online content, drive the creation of an engaged, opted in community and drive transactional traffic.

3. It is becoming increasingly harder to delineate professional-personal networking. Rather than using Linkedin and Facebook in markedly different ways and with different groups of contacts, a rising number of users are simply removing some of the more contentious material from Facebook and using it for professional purposes too. As engagement with brands, campaigns, viral and video takes off, we’ll inevitably see more b2c, b2b, public sector and media brands make the cross over to Facebook.

4. The tie up with Bing brings social-search closer. Let’s face it there was never going to be an agreement with Google. Facebook and Google are going to battle for Internet domination until one of them wins or until another platform rises to threaten them. There is much antipathy to Google around the world so integrating Bing search within Facebook simultaneously increases the likelihood of several things: more Facebook users around the world, users staying within Facebook longer, social media profiles and activity becoming more relevant to search results.

5. Facebook is viral by design. You want your content to spread, get it on Facebook. If it is any or all of the following – engaging, relevant, believable, accurate, amusing – it will be liked and shared. Having a page on Facebook is increasingly useful as it acts as a community creator and facilitator.

6. Facebook Places will inevitably dominate the location based sector. Though slow to take off, in comparison to the innovators at Foursquare and Gowalla, the resource that Facebook can bring to bear on their location based service, coupled with the attraction that an audience of 600 million provides, means it will become the most widely used platform of its kind.

7. And Facebook Deals will be the catalyst for this development as brands tap into the benefits of offering real-time offers to customers based on their location. Though this is largely restricted to big brand b2c at the moment, I’d expect a raft of b2b brands ranging from professional services, building and construction, IT, telecommunications and others to start to see the benefits of this.

8. Facebook offers highly targeted, low cost PPC advertising. Though it has been reported the costs are rising sharply, and the argument continues as to the overall effectiveness, Facebook advertising delivers in terms of reach, cost per impression and cost per click.

There are many more good reasons, and I’m sure there are scores of companies large and small, operating in mass market and the niche who will claim success in this area.

But what is your experience? Have you built a community from scratch? Developed your reach? Made a sale even?

Image: Learnaboutus.com

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Ten reasons why Facebook is no place to do business

Social media, as you must know by now, is not just Facebook. Yet, it is the first platform discussed when businesses discuss their social media options. This might seem provocative, but if you’re in b2b marketing, consider these ten compelling reasons why Facebook  is no place for you to do serious business right now.

1. Facebook was conceived as a social network, not a business network. Think about your own use. Do you use it to source new products, services and suppliers or catch up with friends and family, share photos and video and ‘like’ the occasional link?

2. Just because there are 600m users, it doesn’t mean they are the slightest bit interested in what you have to say to them. See point one. Your brand messages and communications interrupt them whilst doing something else at a time when they have in all likelihood switched out of work mode.

3. Businesses using Facebook in ways that add real value are the exception rather than the rule.

4. Many businesses still outlaw Facebook use during work hours and on work hardware. It is seen as distracting, time wasting and risky. And far from being blurred (as some commentators suggest), there is a case to suggest that the divide between professional and personal networking is wider than ever.

5. Facebook had a great opportunity to create a powerful social-search platform but opted for a tie-up with Bing rather than Google. Google dominates search where Facebook dominates social. This has to be seen as an opportunity lost because Facebook probably wanted to dominate online, rather than offer a truly global service with customer experience at its heart.

6. It gets worse. There are no real SEO benefits. Having a profile might help you in the rankings but all site content is locked behind password access.

7. Facebook Places and Facebook Deals (the company’s take on innovative online players like Foursquare and Groupon) are inevitably b2c and retail high street focused. How will the immediacy of making a passing purchase in b2c translate to the slower, multi-stakeholder influenced b2b buying decision? Arguably not well and not very quickly either.

8. Highly targeted, low cost pay per click advertising might appear attractive, but if you’re not paying a lot for your clickthroughs, it suggests aren’t getting many. And if the news is correct, the cost of Facebook advertising is about to soar.

9. Websites remain the primary platform of choice for companies and brands to inform and engage customers. Throughout all stages of research, shortlisting and selection of suppliers, websites rank highest in all information resources. And doesn’t it seem a little absurd to send people to a Facebook page which then presumably wants to send them back again?

10. Ultimately, I think if you want to use Facebook for business you have to be a business falling into one of two categories. A hyper-local business operating in a clearly definable geography with a compelling retail USP which can use a friend network as word of mouth is one. Another is a significant b2b brand which, like a Blackberry, can draw on the brand cache of a consumer market and engage thousands of people. For everything in between, you might be disrupting people in their downtime and risking your long term reputation.

But that’s just my view, and the landscape is changing daily. What’s your experience?

Image: Bizmarkblog.com

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The trouble with lead generation

I caught up on the activity in some of my Linkedin groups tonight and one thing seemed to stick out. In most marketing groups there are threads talking about ‘lead generation’ – how to do it, where to go, who to target, what tools to use.

Everyone seems to be looking for leads.

It’s no surprise given the current, seemingly never ending squeeze in the economy. But, in the pursuit of glamourous new customers and clients, I wonder if some of us are taking our eye of the assets we already have?

Supporting not selling

What about the loyalty you’ve built up from customers that already pay for your products and services? What if you looked at new, different or innovative ways to add value to what they do? This isn’t about selling more; it’s about responding to challenges presented and offering support in dealing with them.

I don’t know the academic statistics, but from experience, it takes a lot more effort to find, convince, pitch, win and keep a new client happy than it does to keep an existing one happy.

Protect and defend

But it doesn’t stop us trying. We need the pipeline of new people to talk to, new problems to test our creative mettle on and the diversity of new sectors and applications to tailor solutions for. But we also need to focus more  on what we have, what we have worked hard to build up. We need to protect and defend what we have by making it as difficult as possible for a competitor to usurp us.

Maybe therein lies the reason lead generation is so hard, so time and resource heavy and ultimately quite risky – as the companies we’re targeting are already locked into other suppliers.

So, what are you doing to make sure this isn’t going to happen to you?

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Was Social Media World Forum worth the money?

Well, it was my first poll on Linkedin so maybe I didn’t promote it well enough (proves I don’t yet know it all!) But even in a tiny sample group I think it throws up some interesting feedback.

If you attended, what do you think?