Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Empire Strikes Back As Facebook Respond to Adblockers

 
Facebook in response to increasing  usage of ad-blockers has recently flipped a proverbial switch that will now allow the Facebook platform to be able to avoid the effects of the ad blockers. 




Predictably the argument that is being forwarded by the social media giant is that this will give the user more say in which ads they receive and which ads they block. Now this may appear reasonable on the surface except that for most people who block ads, the point is they want to block all ads.


The way the new technology works is that it blocks the ad-bocker's capacity to differentiate between a sponsored or unsponsored post.Facebook will also include new ad preferences which they say will provide consumers more power to select and therefore be able to choose certain brands.
Now again I ask if Facebook really wanted to provide greater control to users would they not respect the fact that all those people have opted not to receive Ads full stop? In the end it's not hard to see why Facebook continue to lose respect amongst users and observers alike. Perhaps these will be the seeds for the possible shift in preference to another single or multiple number of rival alternatives that show more respect for what consumers actually want.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

When Your Customer Satisfaction Exceeds Customer Expectations You Get Wow Factor

I have often tried to impress on my students and clients the fundamental need to be able to inject some Wow factor into your Total Product Offering (TPO) as it's the Wow factor that energises people to talk about things that they have experienced and act.

 A lot is understandably made of the various research data classics such as the TARP data that focuses on the inevitable consequences of customer reactions to their level of dissatisfaction. It is frightening data on two fronts because it shows us both that the vast majority of customers who are dissatisfied will not necessarily complain about it and also that if they remain dissatisfied will usually tell around ten people who in-turn will go out and tell another five each.  OK then the simple message here is don't do the wrong thing by your customers and hopefully you will avoid this.

But as business owners we do not go into business to avoid dissatisfaction. Surely our aim needs to be universally to delight our customers with a consistently high level of customer satisfaction that at very least meets their expectations and hopefully, exceeds them.  To do this of course we need to inject some WOW factor into our product offering to the market.




 The specifics of how you do this will naturally enough depend on what your product is and the market that it operates in. The key point is that in every circumstance there is an existing level of customer expectation that need to be addressed in your promotional campaigns where you verbalise your brand promise which outlines exactly how it will meet the prospects needs.

 Beyond the promotional campaigns and the purchasing comes the actual product usage and experience. This is as Jan Carlson so aptly put it: The moment of truth.

It is here that the additional features and benefits and perhaps value added services kick in to leave the customer surprised and excited about the product, the value that it offers them and the consequences of using it in terms of a better outcome when compared to alternative brands that they may previously have used that did not provide them with any WOW factor.

One of my favourite anecdotes that I like to share on this topic is the story of when I gave a presentation in Portland Victoria which is around a six hour drive from Melbourne. I arrived at around 5 pm to deliver a 4 hour class which went from around 6 to 10pm.

I had driven my own car and noticed when I parked it in the underground car park that it was very dirty from the trip and I thought that the next morning I would have to find a car wash to wash it before making the trip back home or run the risk of being pulled up by the police and fined.
Anyway the night went well and I enjoyed a comfortable night there and the next morning on approaching my car I noticed that it had been washed and a message had been left on my windshield. It read:

“Mr Lima thank you so much for choosing out hotel to stay at whilst in Portland.
We noticed that your car had become dirty from the trip and we took the opportunity to wash it for you at no cost to ensure you have a safe journey once you leave here. We hope you had an enjoyable stay and hope to see you again. Many thanks."
Staff and Management of the Comfort Inn.

Now that's what I call Wow factor.  Do you provide your customers with this type of experience?
If the answer is no, not yet, then start now.  Do something to make people feel good about you and give them a reason for them to spread the gospel of you and your brand.
So until next time, good luck and good marketing.
Regards
Daniele

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Potential For Strategic Alliances

Yesterday during a workshop the opportunity that strategic alliances present to businesses was again raised during discussion within the group. Put simply a well thought out Strategic Alliance (SA) is the most underutilised business strategy and this is especially true for SME's that somehow have this unspoken belief that every business needs to go it alone to be successful. Of course nothing can be further from the truth and all we need to do is to look at how the larger companies do it to see what amazing benefits a strong SA provides for all parties involved.



Just the other day I was involved in a discussion on this very issue and discussed with a colleague the wonderful example of the global strategic alliance that has been formed between: McDonald's, Village Cinemas and Pixar Movies Animation Studios.
What wonderful simplicity when you think of who the target audience is for all three of these businesses that you realise that they are for a large part, the same group.
I really don't suppose for a minute that we should be surprised that when business heavy weights like these organisations mentioned the result will be good, given their resources and marketing talent.
But the simple truth is that and businesses or organisations can do it with a little thought.
The first question that needs to be asked is what other quality organisations out there, already  target my target market and may already have well established good will, market expertise and professional networks already set up.
The second question you need to ask is which of these organisations from question 1, can I approach that are complimentary but not competitive with what my business or organisation does?
Finally what am I willing to offer and what would I like those other businesses to offer the same market in any co-marketing campaigns between us. Here you literally have a blank canvas and are only limited by your own imagination and creativity.

In the case of the example above the specifics are well known with movie merchandising available at the restaurants and access to McDonald's vouchers when you buy movie tickets, and so on.

 In marketing I believe that this tool works so well because the businesses leverage and support each other’s efforts.  It is a classic win-win scenario and one that should be very appealing to SME's everywhere.
So go to it and start thinking about who you could approach to form such an alliance with.
And until next time, good luck and good marketing.

Regards,
Daniele.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Putting Together An Effective Dashboard For Your Busines


 Increasing Complexity


As the scope of social media continues to expand and the type of marketing platforms seem to have no limits, it becomes increasingly important to focus on your stated social media and overall marketing objectives to determine how well (or otherwise) our key performance indicators (KPI's) are being met over time for each platform. To be able to answer this with confidence you need to do a couple of key things. 



Firstly you need to be clear about what it is we want to be able to measure from its existing point (i.e. baseline reading) moving forward and why these measures are the key ones for you.  If you focus on the wrong measures, then even if they are properly assessed, the result will provide little useful data for the business.

Secondly and almost as almost as important is the way the metrics will be displayed. Too often, managers are inundated and overwhelmed by copious amounts of raw data making it difficult to focus clearly on the key data points and trends that really matter and provide the basis for true insight and future decision making.

For this reason it is wise to set up a simple, efficient and practical dashboard that will provide management with facts and figures designed to update and provide this added understanding into what has transpired.

There are I'm pleased to say various existing providers of Dashboard templates and resources available. Some are free and some will cost you some money.

Possible Providers

 iGoogle (www.google.com/ig) and MyYahoo (http://my.yahoo.com) both for example provide free tools for the respective Google and Yahoo home pages.

For Twitter, Hootsuite (www.hootsuite.com) provides a dashboard specifically for the brief Twitter messages.

Specifically for social media you have free dashboard services such as: paid versions from suppliers such as: UberVU (www.ubervu.com)

Regardless of whether you opt for the free service or pay a little more for the one of the paid options, the point is simply that you need to be starting to get your structure set up so that all valuable information is routinely gathered, analysed, seen and understood by the business.

Additional Training Resources

Naturally to learn more about any aspect of Social or Digital Media marketing click on to this link:
http://www.victorianchamber.com.au/business-solutions/training/course

And so until next time, good marketing and good luck. 

Regards,
Daniele.





Thursday, June 30, 2016

LinkedIn Purchased By Microsoft

Big Fish Continue To Swallowed By Bigger Fish

 On June 13 this year Microsoft announced that it was buying the world's per-eminent professional networking site LinkedIn for a massive US$26.2 Billion. This extraordinary move occurring just five years after LinkedIn itself went public back in May 2011 and more than doubled its share price on the first day of trading.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft  Realigned To Business

This acquisition is certainly  consistent with the direction that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is taking the company as it continues to position itself as providing value for businesses with existing products such as Microsoft Dynamics (CRM), Microsoft Office (Office Programs), Skype (V.O.I.P) and Nokia (Mobile Manufacturer). And now LinkedIn which is again totally positioned as the most recognisable and  frequented site of its type globally.

 

Over 430 Million Users

Currently estimates have LinkedIn users at over the  430 Million mark and this infusion of names will be perfectly aligned to the ongoing positioning and tactical program development that Microsoft has been pursuing in recent years.


 Time Will Tell

The synergy between Microsoft and LinkedIn is obvious and may in time present a great boon for both companies given the complimentary nature of their respective core competencies and certainly with half its share price having lost half its value in a two week period in February this year due to poorer than expected revenue generation, this is a good time for Microsoft to take this sizable risk.

 Needs Based Solutions

But potential is one thing and results another. Microsoft has already written off the more than $7.6 Billion dollars for Nokia a year later and little change and innovation has occurred with Skype since it was acquired. For this to work Microsoft will need to better understand the customer business need here and develop more precise needs based tools that by definition will provide better fit, differentiation and ultimately value.

Additional Training Resources

Naturally to learn more about any aspect of Social or Digital Media marketing click on to this link:
http://www.victorianchamber.com.au/business-solutions/training/course

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.
Regards,
Daniele.  




Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Customer Loyalty

The Goal of Every Business

Understandably most businesses everywhere are constantly looking to increase and consolidate the level of customer loyalty they have with both individual  customers and the group as a whole and when you consider that numerous research reports have consistently reported that it is many times more difficult to win a new customer over rather than keep and existing customer, you can fully appreciate why. But two important questions that arise from this underlying premise are:
1. Does every customer have the same potential for being loyal  and
2. Of those customers that are loyal, are there different groupings of loyalty?

Does Every Customer Have The Potential For Loyalty

Simply stated, the answer to this first question is no and rather than take this as an admission that the business is unable to provide quality service or the customer is unable to respond in kind with loyalty, the issue is often one of pure practicality where it is unreasonable to be loyal.

For example let's assume you are taking some time away from work and taking an extended road trip where you have chosen to drive around the country and experience first hand the many wonders your nation has to offer.  When you are on the opposite side of the country you pull into a petrol station to fill up on fuel before starting the long trek back. At this station you receive an excellent level of customer service, an excellent meal, the opportunity to withdraw cash from an ATM, and so on. Kudos to the management and staff but are you now loyal to this business. Clearly not, because no matter how well your needs were met her you probably wont be back any time soon and realistically the best the business could hope for is a favorable review on a review site such as Urban Spoon or Trip Adviser.  So no not all customers have the potential for loyalty, but for those that are what types of loyalty exist?

Loyalty by Default and Loyalty by Design

There are two key types of loyalty, namely Loyalty by Default and Loyalty by Design.
So what is the difference?  As the name suggests customers through repetition may be loyal to you by default where it is for the most part out of habit that they continue the association but  in truth see no great advantage in dealing with you and feel no great degree of connection with the brand or business.

Customers who are loyal by design on the other hand have made a conscious choice to do business with you and are overtly aware of and appreciative of the value that you provide for them and will therefore be much less likely to look elsewhere for a replacement provider or service regardless of what other alternatives may present themselves, whereas the customer that is loyal be default will much more easily be swayed to try and potentially adopt another alternative provider with only marginal improvements to what you are offering.

In a recent training session to CEO's I asked the group to write down on a piece of paper what percentage of customers they felt where loyal by design versus those that were loyal by default.
Suffice to say you could have heard a pin drop as the people in the room started to ponder their situation and realise that for most people, the answer lay squarely in the default category where the potential to lose significant amounts of business was only as  far away as a rival business uncovering some part of the need that was still undelivered and provide it to a higher level than them.

If you're reading this and thinking this dynamic also applies to you, you have plenty of company. The good news however is that the business can proactively do something about this situation and gradually position itself squarely in the other camp. On our next blog post we will fully explore the strategic change needed to drive this change in approach to further enhance and maintain your customer loyalty.

And until then, good luck and good marketing.
Regards,
Daniele

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Twitter Now Allows You To say More In 140 Characters

General Evolution

 Generally since its first arrival Twitter has evolved from initially being a straight text based platform to ten years later a more versatile social media platform that  currently allows additional functionality in the form of : videos, pictures, vines and hashtags. 

In more recent times the additional features such as the ability to Poll Your Community   and the ability to share Periscope broadcasts in Tweets have also been added, all adding to the overall user experience.

More Bang For The 140 Character Buck

Twitter have now announced that in the coming months they plan to make changes to simplify Tweets, and importantly what is included in the 140 characters and what isn't.

Currently

Currently the structure of a tweet is as follows:

devbrief_tweetstructure
 Ref: http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/24/the-metaphysics-of-twitter/

However once the changes are initiated, the @names in replies, and any media attachments (such as videos, polls, pictures, etc), will no longer come out of the 140 characters, thereby allowing you to more fully express and qualify your core message with the tweet text.

 The Changes

  • Replies: When you reply to any tweet,  @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count.
  • Media attachments: When you are add attachments to your tweet such as videos, polls or other options such as GIFs, this media will no longer count as characters within the Tweet.
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself:Twitter will be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet your own Tweets when you may want to rephrase or share an add on to that original thought.
  • Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.

    Adapted from Ref: https://blog.twitter.com/express-even-more-in-140-characters

Timing

These proposed changes will be introduced by Twitter through the coming months. The proposed changes will allow for a more detailed message and address one of the biggest frustrations users have had with micro-blogging platforms since day 1, namely lack of space.
Additionally Twitter have said that they are now also exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enabling new ones within the platform.

Additional Training Resources

Naturally to learn more about any aspect of Social or Digital Media marketing click on to this link:
http://www.victorianchamber.com.au/business-solutions/training/course

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.
Regards,
Daniele.