Customer Insights: The Issues

It is unlikely that any company would require a second opinion when it comes to deciding on the importance of customer insights. Customer insights have played a pivotal role in zeroing in on the marketing strategy and customizing the products or services according to the demand. There have been innumerous cases when companies have leveraged insights to gain meaningful knowledge and succeeded in creating a loyal customer base. Folgers Coffee used it to make people aware of their coffee cravings while Oreo Cookies used it to make adult relish the taste of cookies in a different manner. In all these cases, customer insights have been deemed as more than helpful in gaining customer attention and loyalty.

In today’s competitive market, Customer Insights with the aid of market research and analytics is no more an advantage; it has become a necessity, no one can do without. But gathering insights is not merely good enough, one should concentrate more on gathering ‘Actionable Insights’. But the Research team has to face problems plenty while figuring out meaningful, actionable insight.

The first problem that every researcher has to encounter while looking for insights is the amount of data that he or she has to encounter with. The more the volume of data, the process becomes more complicated. The more the amount of information, the more complex it becomes to discover trends and hence it is more difficult to find the actionable insights. But organizations with more mature process can have a distinct edge in this case. A set of analytical tools like marketing automation and various BI platforms can be considered handy to set up a mature process. Besides Data Volume, another attribute of data that acts as a hurdle is Data integration and Data Synchronization. Different storage with different accesses and different techniques of storing them makes it all the more complicated. Integration and Synchronisation are essential to develop actionable insights and hence it is compulsive for the organizations to have a centralized data system which is easily accessible and synchronized. Besides the above factors, the quality of data is instrumental in figuring out insights. Interestingly, around 40% of the organizations don’t have data quality tools integrated with the data. This acts as a major barrier in finding quality insights and hence all the efforts of finding actionable insights would go in vain.

It is obvious that good ‘actionable insights’ can lead a company to glory; on the other hand a wrong analysis can easily spell doom. So it is mandatory for companies that they deploy actionable insights rather than be happy with insights alone.

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Lead Generation with Social Media Marketing

With the increase of internet penetration, Social Media is increasingly becoming a popular medium for marketing professionals. The two-way communication, though acting as a double-edged sword, helps companies to understand the emotions and sentiments of the customers and helps them to make the desired changes. As per Forrester’s survey, only 20% of the consumers believe what the Brand promises; 70% of them go by the advice of their friends and peers. Thus, it is obvious that the ‘Community’ takes the call. But a cautious approach is needed to evade any negative comment that might spring up from the community.
Before going further ahead, let us have a look into how social media can be leveraged across different platforms to attain success. Before starting the Social Media campaign, you should know your target audience and their preferences. In other words, a ‘persona’ would be needed. Depending upon the persona, you would have narrowed down on the different platforms for your brand building exercise. Below we have mentioned a few key strategies that you can try out.
1.

Facebook: Build a community of dedicated followers in your page. Make sure that the content is engaging and gives them access to something exclusive. Social Media makes the users feel exclusive and it is the duty of the business owners that they continue to feel the same. Running contests like fan-of-the-week and share-and-win helps the cause. Moreover, some limited time offers can trigger off a whirlwind of prospects to your business. Of course, if you want to increase your reach, we would suggest you to go for paid boosts so that you can reach out to the maximum number of target groups.
2.

Twitter: A tweet a day might just make your customer’s day. Promoted trends and Hash Tag contests might catch the attention of your prospects. For all purposes, you can access customer information via Twitter Lead generation Cards and get detailed insight about your prospects.
3.

LinkedIn: This professional networking site can serve as the lifeblood for your social media activities. Make sure you have a detailed company page and offer your views in discussion. Thought leadership is a good way to enhance a company’s image. Make sure that you post daily updates and include videos as well. LinkedIn Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Ads are powerful tools for promoting your company as you can set specific criteria based on your desired prospect attributes.
4.

Google+ : One of the major advantages of Google+ is that it helps in organic SEO. Google Authorship can certainly help you to get certified as ‘Authentic’ and hence your reputation across Google searches increase. Moreover, the Google Hangout feature enables you to have real time communication with your clients. If you can produce engaging videos and contents, you are bound to go viral in that platform.

These platforms are certainly bound to create inbound traffic to your company. But a carefully executed Social Media Strategy is instrumental for your success. After al l, if things don’t go well as you planned, you might be at the receiving end of your customer’s wrath.

Role of Technology in Marketing

The advent of technology has revolutionized the competitive landscape of business. It has become imperative for organizations to use technology so that they stay ahead of their competitors in the race. Now the primary query that comes to the mind is how big is the role of technology in marketing   and which processes would need it the most.

Technology, in itself, has undergone humongous change and it has become a key factor to gain success. The most visible effect of Technology is In Sales management where technology has made information availability more easy and less time-consuming. CRMs have become an absolute necessity and lead prospecting has become quite hassle-free thanks to the huge role of technology in marketing. Big Data allows you to find those key insights that help companies find out the current trend and what the future would be like. With a multitude of Social Listening techniques, Technology in Marketing is creating unprecedented impacts. You are aware what your user wants and accordingly you can shape your strategy. Moreover, with the aid of robust technology in marketing analytics, you can uncover the dark areas that you had missed out earlier. Technology can even help you to carry out Geo-specific marketing activities that will allow you to cater to a specific set of audience whose need can be satisfied exclusively by you.

It is a well-known fact that the advancement in telecommunication and mobile technology has opened up more avenues. This has also inspired changes in the domain of marketing, making it more technically oriented. With an average adult’s phone being only an arm’s distance away, every bit of information you want to deliver would be easy to deliver. People-based research has taken the driver’s seat and in this case also the role of technology in marketing has come to the forefront. With internet marketing undergoing unparalleled improvement, the role of technology in marketing has become quintessential.

With a majority of the big companies opting to have a chief marketing technologist, the role of technology is getting more and more dominant in marketing. The marketers of next generation need to arm themselves with the latest technology; else if they choose to ignore the role of technology in marketing, they may as well brace themselves to face the ignominy of losing business.

ROI & CONTENT MARKETING: THE NEXUS

Reliable and helpful information is often difficult to gain in cyberspace. The place is crowded and the search for necessary content is time-constrained. The cacophony of content sometimes leaves the seeker blind. As such, seeking quality content is like searching for a needle in haystack. Content Strategists and Marketers have often wrecked their grey cells to deliver quality content to the Target Group and also have been awarded fair amount of success. But the goal is not only to make people listen; it should be good enough to increase the bottom line of the company. Now how is one going to achieve that?

The nexus between Content marketing and ROI has always been a masked one. The million dollar question is it possible to link up ROI with Content Marketing results? The answer is ‘YES’ although some might take it with a pinch of salt. Now the obvious query is how one achieves ROI with the aid of content. To pinpoint the way, I will first explain the three direct outcomes of valuable content marketing.

  • Lead Generation: A focused content marketing effort will help in reaching out to Target Group and in the end may lead prospective clients to your door. It is not necessary that the flood of inbound queries are sales ready, yet they can be good enough to form prospective clients in near future or better still you might attract an investor or a partner in the process. If none of the aforesaid transforms into reality, you might still end up in engaging yourself with a community which might bear fruit in the long run.
  • Thought Leadership: Being labeled as a pioneer in your domain of expertise can be quite helpful for your business. You may become the yardstick of excellence and recognized as a knowledge hub. Whitepapers, Analysis, Case Studies et al are excellent tools to showcase your thought leadership. “Reputation Building” will be the icing on the cake.
  • Brand Building: Better content results in better traffic, better reach and better perception of the brand. A healthy share-of-heart and share-of-mind would undoubtedly enhance your brand value. Continuous engagement will make you a ‘responsive’ brand and a loyal set of followers would certainly amplify your reputation. One should always remember the fact that Story Telling along with an effective Content Strategy gives you that infallible mantra of Brand Building.

The three direct outcomes of an effective content marketing program would thus help in building your brand and draw prospects for you. Once the brand is established and there is a steady flow of queries streaming in, half the battle for revenue generation is won. After all, it is much easier to bag an interested prospect than to win over an impassive one. Therefore, I would safely conclude that Content Marketing, though not directly related, is instrumental in yielding returns to the company.

Email Marketing – Dos & Don’ts

Email Marketing has been creating a buzz for quite some time. In times when Electronic media rules the roost, this form of marketing has become a force to reckon with. But most of these emails remain unopened; some end up in spam and the worst result is that they are deleted without being read. Is there any hard-and-fast rule to tempt your target audience into reading the mails? Our experience in email marketing has made us realize a few facts which might help you out in your ventures as well. We have worked out on a few guidelines that might help you prosper as well.

1.       Filter your Database to choose your target audience: Sending emails to random persons won’t help your cause. You need to identify your prospects well. You should work with the cleanest list you can find that is targeted to your industry and your offering. Make sure your database is being updated regularly; an outdated database is never going to help the cause.

2.       Be persistent: You need to be persistent. Classical research argues that you need at least 20 imprints to make an impression. Of course, you need not be “over-persistent” so that you end up in the spam list. But courtesy mails on special occasions are always welcome. Ogilvy’s research shows the first three emails are the most critical. Mullen advises there should be an introductory message in which customers accept an invitation and give permission for future communications, followed by a second that sets up customers’ expectations by explaining future benefits (discounts, coupons, or high-value informational newsletters). The third should begin to deliver on their expectations by sending the promised newsletter, whitepaper, or discount offering.

3.       Catchy Subject : As the saying goes, “Morning shows the Day”, so is the case with email marketing. Your subject should be catchy enough for the recipient to open it. Here are some quick tips:

 Company name of recipient in subject line increases open rate by 22%.

 Customer name in the pre-header increases open rate by 12%.

 Re-activation emails (i.e. “We miss you” or “Where have you been”) generate an average “open rate” of 54% for B2B and B2C emails.

4.       Personalised content: The content should enthrall the reader. Get rid of your template, because frankly enough they are not interested in your design. What would amaze them is what you write and should have a personal touch. Everyone loves to hear a story and so be an avid storyteller. Make it compelling so that the reader gets curious to know more. You would certainly write better content if you can avoid the following:

    1. Spammy phrases such as “once is a lifetime opportunity!”
    2. Language such as “urgent,” “hot” and that Titanic-sized sinker: “Free!”
    3. A series of CAPITAL LETTERS (email marketing protocol calls this “shouting”).
    4. Lots of different-colored fonts—they shout “junk mail” from the rooftops, and
    5. Never, ever use a bunch of !!!!!! in a row!

 5.       Timing of mails: There is no point sending business mails haphazardly. There is a higher chance that business mails will be opened in working days and in working hours. Weekends are a big no. Optimal times for social emails (i.e. “Like Us” or “Follow Us”) are lunch time, 7-9 p.m. and early morning in some cases. This delivery timing is different for regular acquisition or retention emails (which generally go out early morning—thanks to Groupon and Living Social). Why? Because those are times when you’re relaxed and doing social things. Remember, don’t send out “be my friend” emails if you don’t have a plan or value for Facebook fans or Twitter followers.

 6.       Optimize it for mobiles: With the unprecedented increase of mobile users and advent of smart phones, most of the mails are checked in mobiles. So brands cannot neglect the effect of mobile users if they want to create an impact. The best way out is to optimize your emails for the mobile viewers. Here are a few things you can try out:

a. Make sure its 300 – 400px wide

b. Make the text larger so it is easily readable, e.g. min 12px Arial

c. Make the images smaller in file size

We hope the tips help you. They certainly worked out for us. Best of luck and keep mailing!!!

Real Time Marketing

A lot of buzz has been created around Real Time Marketing and what more; it has become an inevitable part of marketing strategy. The view about the approach is quite diverse; a few marketing pundits hailing the idea, while some others are not quite convinced about its impact. Whatever may be the case; we will try and enlighten our readers with the concept and draw up a few instances on how the companies have cashed on the concept called Real Time Marketing.

Real Time Marketing is marketing instantaneously to reach out to a target audience across different platforms and the campaign is tailor-made to suit the occasion in which it is pitched. Oreo tried it during the blackout of Superbowl and the campaign scaled new heights of popularity.  But at the same time, their Royal baby tweet failed horrendously. It is not necessary that every event needs to be cashed in. When American Apparel tried out the Hurricane Sandy sale right after the Hurricane Sandy devastated the entire nation, the plan backfired. Their sentiment score scorched down from 67 to 7. Mini Cooper cashed on the Horse Meat scandal and people responded with nearly five and half thousand tweets.  But what is the infallible formula? Well, no one has figured that out for Real-Time Marketing.

Real Time Marketing has held marketers in awe. But, the secrets to success are yet to be unearthed. We are providing a few healthy tips, which you can try out to make your campaign a success:

  1. Be clear about your Target and Objectives: Be sure of your target audience and work out what message you want to deliver. The message should resonate with the audience’s outlook and should convey what exactly you wish to deliver. If you fail to connect with the proper message, your campaign is likely to backfire.
  2. Real Time Marketing is not just giving opinion on current events: It is not about what you are feeling about an event; but it is about how you align your brand with the event. If your brand’s image doesn’t align well, don’t go for Real Time Marketing.
  3. Identify the longevity of the trend: If the trend is likely to get over in a few hours, it is better not to invest in it. Look out for trends that are going to last for a longer period so that you can build your brand over a period of time.
  4. Plan Ahead: You can’t plan real-time content, but you can put yourself and your team in the best position to react quickly to opportunistic situations. This means having the people and policies in place to allow for creativity, taking calculated risks, production or design and publishing all in rapid succession. This is a challenge for brands, yet the potential payoff is huge.

We don’t argue that all these factors are going to guarantee you a runaway success in Real Time Marketing. But it will certainly help you in formulating the right plan. Once you work out that magic formula, Real Time Marketing is going to give you a lucrative ROI.