Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.
Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.
Thanks again and have a very joyous holiday season.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Whether you are a savvy blogger or a smart, hands-on small business owner who uses the web to connect, market and sell- there is one major part of the RoI jigsaw puzzle- tracking your off-site marketing campaigns. Sure you can use some existing ad tracking applications- but knowing that blogging and start ups are cash stranded, that might not be a very good idea.
I recently developed a marketing tool- a simple spreadsheet app that you can use to generate tracking tags for your marketing campaigns. And it is not just for online marketing, if you are creative, you can even use it for tracking your offline campaigns.
Interested? Read on. One caveat though. This works if you use Google Analytics (GA) as your web analytics tool. Not too much of a problem I presume- as GA is free and going by the success of it, it is likely that you’d be using this any which ways. In case you do not, I recommend that you do. (No- not getting paid to say this).
To access the tool, click on the link: ChasingTheStorm campaign tracking tool
It is a Google Docs spreadsheet- so you can log in using your Google ID, export the cells in your excel or spreadsheet, follow some simple instructions- and there you go.
There is a detailed explanation on ChasingTheStorm on how to use the sheet. Some details are also available on Google Analytics blog - and the inspiration to make the tool comes from there, though I have explained in a manner I thought would add value to the discussion. Of course, Google does not have a tool- they just have the theory.
Essentially- the sheet has 5 columns that need filled up- all according to your understanding and convenience. The 5 columns refer to the campaign variables that you as a marketer- populate. These variables will tell you about the source of the referrer and give you more detailed insights into the traffic emanating from your various campaigns.
The last cell has a formula that need not be changed- as it takes on the inputs from all those cells and then automatically develops a redirect/tracking code/tag.
What are the ways you can use this (there could be many ingenious uses that you can use this for):
- You could insert it as links in your email newsletter- and track not only one link- but use to track what call to action drives most traffic to your website
- If you track conversions, you could attribute this to conversions as well
- You could use this to update your status messages on your social network- and track people coming to the site from your social network
- You could even use it in your offline campaign- use URL shortening using a web service- and put the URL in your offline DM or newspaper classifieds ad. Track how many people visit your website after seeing this ad. Cool eh?
- You could use the auto tagging feature for your PPC campaigns across search engines and see which KWs are converting better
Are there any other ways that you think you can use the tracking for? Let us have the discussion continue for the benefit of all.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Top 5 posts of 2008 on TMRE:
Really Cool Research Deliverables
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s Targeted Shopper Marketing Approach
Who's Drinking the Wine?
So Many Presentations, So Little Time
What Women Want
Here were the top 5:
B2B Advertising in Social Networks are Increasing
Podcast conversation with Dawn Lacallade
American Express adopts social media: OPEN Forum
Podcast conversation with Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh
Pros and Cons of Social News Sites
Most came to us live from NACCM. Even if you weren't in Anaheim to experience the Customers 1st event, you could still be in touch with everything that was going on at the event. Enjoy the top posts of the year!
NACCM 2008: We Are All Storytellers
NACCM 2008: What's Your Red Ball
Day 1 Keynotes - It's all about people!
Speaker Profile: Frank Capek
Friday, December 19, 2008
Skype launches video cards in Facebook
Just in time, perhaps, for those of us who haven't yet sent all our Christmas cards, Skype this week launched Skype Video Cards, as both an application in Facebook and also as a standalone feature at SkypeVideoCards.com.
The concept is quite simple and it works well as a Facebook application. You choose a basic card, record your video message and send this to your friends. They receive a personalised flash video message from you (and with Skype branding!). It's a nice application, and out with good timing as we enter the festive season with a force. It's simple to use (in four clicks you can create a card), creates a personal message and sends a flash video card which means it can be viewed directly from a web browser.
So what can we learn from this?
One question that this application raises is why is Skype doing this? As some people have noted, the video card tool doesn't make use of any Skype technology, it doesn't even integrate with your Skype contacts list to send to your friends.
For me this doesn't matter, especially not for the Facebook application. If this were only a standalone feature, then it would be odd that it didn't actually showcase the product whose brand it carried. But in Facebook, and indeed in other social networks, it is not so easy to market and product-place in this way.
As we've written about before, it can be very difficult to advertise in social networks. Primarily because social networks are social environments with social rules. People are there for their own, personal reasons - to upload their photos, network with their friends, plan their events and talk about issues that are of interest to them. It's a 'me' space and when brands enter this they need to be fully aware of the social rules they must abide by. It's not that easy to just place your product in front of people or pump your marketing message to them.
This is why the Skype Video Card application works for me. Rather than trying to integrate their actual product and develop an application that people will use and forward to their friends. Instead they opted for the solution of creating an application that creates real value for the users (especially those who have forgotten to send holiday greetings already) and allows the Skype brand to be associated with this.
Facebook and other social networks can be scary places for brands, and difficult places for them to succeed in. My advice: think first how you can add value to the users experience and then put your brand on it. You have a great chance of being successful, and of getting that brand forwarded round the internet faster than you could hope for.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Service innovation: Save your customers time. Save them hassle. Take the service to them. Result: Induce loyalty. Provide a new service that makes money. Earn unpaid media.
I came across this YouTube video from the Fox Business Network with Christian J. Ward, CEO of Ockham Research, in which he unveils their new application on the iPhone called Stockrazor. Unlike the app that comes with the iPhone that allows you to solely check your stock quotes, Stockrazor gives an in-depth fundamental analysis going after cash numbers, sales numbers, and dividends. Take a look at the video here.
They highlighted these areas as a way to engage your communities:
-Don't just talk at consumers -- work with them throughout the marketing process.
-Give consumers a reason to participate.
- Listen to -- and join -- the conversation outside your site. -Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell.
-Don't control, let it go.
-Find a 'marketing technopologist.' -Embrace experimentation. For a more concentrated look at these items, read the article.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
He related several ways you can do this for your customers:
- Relate: Relate with your customers through regular and meaningful contact, observations, and ongoing interactions.
- Retain: Retain your customers by creating barriers to switching to a competitor and create an atmosphere of exclusivity.
- Expand: Expand your relationship with your customers by offering complimentary products and services on an ongoing basis.
- Innovate: Keep your customers excited and engaged by surprising them with new product innovations or special bundles that are tailored just for them.
- Analyze: Analyze your customer behaviors and cultivation activities to predict and anticipate future wants and needs.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Some benefits of Google Trends are:
-Viewing and monitoring online search results
-Supporting information and current relative news trends that surround your web site's focus
-Find out who is searching for your information and where they're searching from
Read the article for a focused look at what you can do to leverage Google Trends as research.
What do you think about this? Don Reisinger shared his opinion here. Should consumers have to pay for customer service? Or is Dell defining the line between technical support and customer service?
Monday, December 15, 2008
What do you think? When do your posts go live? How can you take this information and promote your blog?
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Sony launches online community for PlayStation gamers
The community is something of a virtual clubhouse for PlayStation owners. All registered PlayStation Network users will be able to create their own avatar and then interact with others in a 3D environment. Some are calling this a cross between Facebook and Second Life, but this is really an online community of gamers. Members will be able to chat with and text each other, build their own 'home' and explore those of other members, and take part in mini games and special events.
Building on the popular chat functions that sit alongside many online games, the concept of a central community that allows members to meet and join games has been in development for a number of years. The beta launch of PlayStation Home this week shows us what Sony has to rival Microsoft and to enhance the gaming experience. As Kazuo Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, says:
PlayStation Home is truly a promising network community service. We are committed to providing PS3 users with exciting gaming experiences with PlayStation Home and together with our partners and users, expand the new world of interactive entertainment as we move forward.
So what can we learn from this?
To some extent Sony is providing its gamers with something they have wanted for some time - a way to meet and exchange with other gamers, to easily identify and join multi-player games and to extend and enhance their experience of using the PlayStation.
There has been much discussion over the last couple of days about the actual functionality and use of PlayStation Home. Microsoft called the technology as "outdated" and some features are not yet live - streaming video and music will be in a later release. But overall response from gamers themselves has been quite positive.
Undoubtedly Sony hope that Home will be a success, and for me success would be if they retain gamers for longer periods of time because of this. They can monetise Home quite easily, either by selling functionality or features within the environment itself (such as selling houses or other property to users or taking a cut of peer-to-peer sales). Or they can monetise through charging for downloads, streaming music and video and entry to special events and games. And let's not forget the benefit they might be able to get from advertising if they so desired.
This kind of online community may seem like a clear candidate for success, and it is certainly true that the members share a common interest and goal (something that is critical to success of any community). But perhaps the real marker of success will be if the community fills a real need that the members have. Home needs to focus on gaming and on making gaming, easier, more fun and perhaps more challenging. They're not building a new Second Life (or Facebook, Bebo or anything) as some people have suggested. Rather they've identified a need that their gamers have and are using social media and online communities to help meet this need. Always a good strategy.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Don't fall into these traps:
1) Begin held back by your best practice, or fear of the unfamiliar
2) A mindset that complex and sophisticated search and market understanding, or market approaches that are at the expense of similar but richer ones
What do you think about moves like this? Although Sprint has improved their service, do you think taking away their customer care continue to affect the reality of the situation in a positive light?
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Kimberly-Clark is now using the warehouse to link data compiled on its community site with customer profile information, helping it identify its most loyal customers and determine which content they view or tools they use. Thus, the company can serve up the content most sought by the site's users, Hoerter added.
Have you started mining your social networks to find out more about your customers? What have you discovered?
1) Emergence of the social customer
2) The imperative that CRM strategies deliver business value
3) The requirement to fully cost justify CRM investments
4) The necessity to reduce risk of CRM initiatives
5) The need to get more value from customer information
6) The battle to redefine vendor pricing and licensing agreements
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
For more information, read the article.
Monday, December 8, 2008
What do you think? Have you come across this in your customer base?
Friday, December 5, 2008
Do you see this as the customer service of the future? PNC Bank has created a system where the only way they interact with their customer is through a website, but it's very popular with the young consumer, who will domoinate the market in 20 years. What do you think?
Orange launches 'Film Club' online community
I'm a big fan of mobile operator Orange's involvement with film and cinemas in the UK - from their amusing adverts in cinemas (including this with Rob Lowe) to their Orange Wednesdays offer where Orange customers can take a friend to the cinema for free.
To date they haven't formally used social media to engage people around their film associations, but this week they launched The Film Club. In Facebook and Bebo, this 'club' is actually an application that gives users access to free preview screenings, exclusive competitions, trailers, reviews and other film related content. The Club also lets you see which of your friends are taking advantage of the Orange Wednesdays offer, and if you're not an Orange customer you can poke your friends who are and ask them to take you.
For Orange this move is all about capitalising upon their association with film and being seen as providing a place for people to share this passion with them. As Spencer McHugh, head of brand communications at Orange, says:
The new Film Club communities give movie fans on Facebook and Bebo a place to come together and chat about the things they love most.
So what can we learn from this?
At FreshNetworks we talk a lot, and have indeed posted a lot in the past, about the difference between online communities and social networks and about how building a community online is as much about building an actual community of people as it is about doing it online. What Orange have done with their Orange Film Club is to cleverly and astutely leverage social networks (in this case Facebook and Bebo) to help connect their users and act as a portal for all their film-related content and activities. But building a true community in these social networks is notoriously difficult for a brand to do.
People invariably spend time in social networks for very self-centred issues - it's a 'me' place where I upload my photos, plan my events, talk to my friends and join groups that reflect me. From this angle it is clearly a great place for Orange to bring together all of its members who engage with it on film - taking advantage of their offers or watching their content. This one-to-one relationship between Orange and individual fans or customers will continue. Building a real community, where it is these fans who also grow the discussions and content and where they talk to each other and form bonds might prove more difficult.
A community tends to have a common purpose or something they are all contributing to, it tends to have no leaders but everybody (brand and fans alike) being equal members) and it needs careful design and guidance to make it grow and flourish (a bit like a garden can grow on its own but needs a gardener to look at its best). In Facebook (or any social networks) it's difficult to do the latter and as a very public space people are often unwilling to start discussions and build that real community feel.
So if Orange wanted to build and grow a large and flourishing film community, they may find doing it in Facebook or Bebo hard. If, on the other hand, they want to bring together all their activities and fans in this space into a convenient place then things will be much easier to do. I suspect this is what they want - making it easier for both parties to find content and engage on film. However, I hope this is the precursor to something. I hope they are planning an online community here. It could be great, and their brand could really help it to work - online and on the go.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
So you think you have seen and heard enough on the evolution, usage and effectiveness of this phenomenon called Twitter. Present almost everywhere on every social media or marketing centric site- this one topic is an omnipresent feature of today's ubiquitous opinion led conversation culture.
Many businesses and consultants have jumped into utilizing this tool- pushed by the harsh realities of today’s extremely fragmented consumer attention that pans across media.
Since this is causing such a storm, I wanted to do a check- like most marketing ‘hypes’- is this something that is largely US centric? A concern echoed by this post on- the Americanization of the Internet. Or is this a worldwide phenomenon?
Having worked in the Asian digital marketing space for about a decade, I know this is gaining traction very fast. A taste of this was seen recently during the ghastly terror attacks that shook Mumbai (and the world)- when Twitter was full of hash tags related to Mumbai. Ditto on the ongoing stand off in Thailand- though not of a similar scale as Mumbai.
But the issue is – are businesses in Asia using Twitter as a customer engagement tool? The answer from my post – probably not! I did an extensive research across all online social networks- tweeted on my Twitter network, asked questions on Facebook and LinkedIn, researched companies in general on twitter (using Twellow, Twitterlocal and other tools), sent DMs on Twitter- to brands and people with seemingly relevant accounts, researched whom they followed and tried to find if they had easily identifiable Asian accounts as well.
And what I found- as a result of this collective intelligence gathering was that – Businesses are not using microblogging very much in Asia. Full story on Twitter usage by businesses in Asia.
Though there are some interesting case studies in the post, and some interesting people and profiles, the number of businesses participating and using these tools is really quite limited.
Which leads us to the inevitable question- What could be the reasons behind this? Asia is home to most ‘thumb happy’ people in the world (You know what I mean). Billions of text messages flow every month- and every Asian country has its own mobile claim to fame- Phillippines becoming the SMS capital of the world, India exploding at the seams with mobile penetrations- and Vietnam and Indonesia touted as the next mobile tigers. I am not even talking about Korea and Japan, where they do unimaginable stuff (and I mean marketing and conversation wise) with their handphones. China of course has more twitter and iPhone clones than probably the rest of the world’s put together. And again, from Brand perspective- there are multinational companies that are using these tools elsewhere but not in Asia! So the big question is- why?
While the aim of the post was to gather information from the wisdom of the crowds, my top 5 reasons could be:
A) There is not enough traction in the market when it comes to online advertising. It is still treated as somewhat of a novelty and marketing budgets hover from less than 1% to close to 10% in some economies
B) Internet usage has exploded but still mobile-internet usage is relatively a niche and complex concept. Lifestreaming on the go is a novelty at best
C) Because of the above two, businesses are more interested in hygiene activities and hold on to the ‘new’ phenomenon till they start becoming mainstream
D) Marketers are more cautious in general and like to spend in tried and tested tools/vehicles
E) MNC marketing teams by regions do not converse effectively when it comes to marketing innovations (though they do so on marketing best practices I believe)
These are my takes on the results- what are yours? Have you come across any examples of businesses using twitter or any microblogging tool? Even if they are not Asian- do you have any interesting stories to share? Let’s collaborate.
Last week I had the honor to chair the North American Conference on Customer Management’s Customer First conference in Anaheim, CA at Disneyland. What a treat. (You can read more about it in this week’s tip)
One of the several speakers I had the honor to introduce was Robert Stephens, the founder of the Geek Squad.
I was so happy to have a chance to spend a few quiet moments with Stephen in the ballroom before the sessions began. I’ve been talking about Robert for years in my speeches and retelling a story I heard a famous speaker tell years ago. I wanted to hear Robert tell the story and add a few details.
I was shocked (not to mention embarrassed) to find out that I have been “lying” about the origins of the Geek Squad for years. Robert was gracious about it and shared a few moments with me before it was time to introduce him. I was thrilled to talk to him personally, so I didn’t read the printed introduction that was given to me in my chairperson pack.
Up I go to the stage with my printed introduction in hand. He’s an impressive guy and so I decided to read some of his interesting credentials before adding in my personal thoughts. Right there on the paper it said, “In 2002, The Geek Squad acquired Best Buy and opened Geek Squad precincts in all Best Buy US and Canadian stores.”
I saw it on the page, but before opening my mouth, my mind decided this could not be so and so I said, “Best Buy acquired the Geek Squad” instead, figuring it must be wrong. Nope, it was right and I was wrong.
Later in the day, after I had made a personal apology to Robert, I apologized to the entire audience, explaining what I thought happened.
Because it seemed so impossible to me that a midsize service company could possibly buy a “big box” store, I assumed that what I saw on the page was incorrect. Talk about the old adage - when we assume it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. I’m still embarrased.
Because I wondered if this was happening to others as well as me, I asked the audience how many of them thought that Best Buy had bought the Geek Squad rather than the other way around - half the audience did.
It’s a great example of seeing what we want to see. When our belief system is strong it simply won’t let in information to the contrary.
I am truly humbled by the experience.
Robert taught us that what we need to create today is an “Authentic Experience” and I’ll tell you - my embarrassment was an authentic as it gets. Yikes.
Robert, I learned so many valuable lessons from you last week - the most important of which were those I learned about myself.If you’d like to see more of Joanna Brandi’s blogs, visit JoAnna Brandi’s Blogs. You can also find out more by visiting her Customer Care Coach website. Joanna Brandi was a keynote speaker and conference chair at this year’s North American Conference on Customer Management, and has already been profiled on our Customer 1st blog. Stay tuned for her posts on the Customers 1st blog!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Some companies realize the value of keeping customers, and are reponsible for such statistics as increasing customer loyalty by 5% can increase your profits by 25%. These stores include Best Buy, Nordstrom, Amazon, and LL Bean.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
What do you think about this? One of the major reasons Pharma companies don't do market research is because the fact that market research comes so early in the chain of events leading to a project launch – it is far removed from the end result. What do you think? Do you agree with this?
Even though the company is going out of business, they're still not treating their customers with much respect. What other ways have you seen customer service falter due to the current economic situation?
Monday, December 1, 2008
What do you think about Facebook's newest tool? Will it result in another Beacon or will Facebook users begin to warm to the social web?
-They may be failing to understand the customer. Who is your customer? Do you realize that 20% of your customer base generates 80% of your profit?
-They may be failing to support an external customer centric strategy by not having an internal customer centric strategy. It's important to have your employees at the center of your company first so they can then turn into the face of your customer-centric company.
- They may be failing to identify the moment of truth. Companies may have problems measuring their customer service strategies.
Bill Bittner, president of BWH Consulting of Mahwah, New Jersey, states "Measuring coupon effect is not done in a vacuum. It's difficult to sort out the single effect of a coupon. There are so many factors that affect performance, the general economy being the big one today, I don't know how you isolate."
To conduct this specific research, APT advocates that tests and controls be set up for retailer-CPG colalboration, by dividing a chain's loyalty cardholders into many test groups to receive different offers, based on thier prior spending patterns. The controls are samples held out from each of these group to not receive a particular offer.
Then, the researchers must look at both the tests groups and the controls. Find out more about these tests here.