Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Indecision may or may not be my problem…

April 17, 2016

That quote from Jimmy Buffett sums up my writing efforts the past couple of weeks. I have been working on several topics to post, but for whatever reason, have not been able to get them to gel. So I thought that thinking through it here, on electronic paper, with you, might help.

stress

Photo courtesy of  workplacepsychology.net

 

They are all difficult topics, and all have been written on already (in some cases extensively). So one of the hang ups for me has been attempting to make the post unique…to not be just another “me too” post. There is an incredible irony here because as you can see on the list of topics I would like to write about below, Paralysis by Analysis is the very first one on the list.

Paralysis by Analysis or Why Action is Necessary Today in Order to Conduct Viable Research – We just don’t know enough about the way the consumer thinks, and more specifically behaves in the digital space, especially when it comes to mobile. Not only is mobile is changing rapidly, it is changing the consumer mindset as well. This has become a market where past history does not mean a great deal, so (thoughtful and intentional) action is required.

Alienation – Everyone is writing about alienation in one form or another…alienation due to social media attachment, alienation due to technology, alienation due to lack of empathy. I feel a strong need to write on this topic, but mine will be more about alienation in time and space, or maybe just geography.

Content Marketing– No, I do not want to write about the wonders of content marketing or the 7 things that make it work or the 5 things you must avoid. I’m more of the mind to write here about why people who claim to be writing content for their audience are often deluding themselves.  In many ways, I feel that the content emperor has no clothes. The appropriate situational content has great value. However, it is also arrogant to presume we can write content our audience wants when we make little effort to find out what content they want, or if they even want content beyond a simple answer. I suspect that post will annoy a few people…

Why Growth Hacking is Not Marketing (or is it?) – There are definitely two sides to this discussion, both with very strong points of view. To my thinking process, it depends on whether you are talking mind set or tool set. Growth hacking is also certainly contextual, and not a great deal different than the old concept of guerilla marketing or from online marketing on steroids.

So there you have a few of the topics that have been swirling around in my brain, but have not yet fleshed out enough to put into coherent words on paper. Or at least coherent thoughts that are strikingly different than the content that is already out there….

Build engagement, not dominance with your customers…

March 28, 2016
Man-looking-happily-at-phone-Betsie-Van-Der-Meer-Taxi-Getty

A man who is happy with his mobile experience

 

“As the consumer’s device of choice, mobile is almost always on hand. It’s the brand’s first point of contact with the consumer, but that doesn’t mean forcing them to walk around with the entire website in your pocket. Rather, the mobile experience needs to address the context of a mobile user.” ~ Carin van Vuuren, Usablenet

Fit the technology to the user, rather than the other way around. An important thought to live by in this era where many organizations still view technology, rather than engagement, as the path to competitive advantage.

Thought and Planning also Required…

January 24, 2016

“You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” ~ Daniel Keys Moran, an American computer programmer and science fiction writer.

Forget what you know…find a way to listen to the customer…

September 16, 2015

“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” ~ Doug Larson

I am constantly reading about the shortage of digital pros or hybrid technologists in the market. And I agree that there is certainly evidence to support that the rate of change in our information needs and abilities has outstripped the ability to completely fulfill the demand.

That said, this is still amazing state to me given how many people participate professionally in the digital space, and the sheer numbers present even within specialized area such as technical SEO, content creation, paid search, various technical platform specialties, analytics, and so on…

My thought is there is actually a gap; and it is a role that is not being filled in many organizations …specifically the ability to manipulate the data or technology AND also understand the result from the perspective of a human being.

You have the technical side: Practitioners in this area know every technical aspect of their work like the back of their hand. This is true whether they be data gurus or system wunderkinds. Today, a certain level of technical knowledge may well be a prerequisite to being in marketing in today’s world, but it is certainly not the complete answer.

With all of the amazing advances that technology and inexpensive computing power has brought, there are still areas where we need to improve. Technological myopia can lead to poor usage of the technology or resulting data and analysis. Understanding how systems work and what the numbers represent is not the same as knowing if those numbers (metrics) represent value, if we are measuring the right aspects of our audience’s behavior or that they are appropriate for our business model.

When we look to the wrong measures and drift to what is conventional, our path can lead to a lack of vision as to what all of this data could be used to achieve. In the end, the result we achieve is often not actionable, and certainly not optimal, because it fails within our business context. This result does not lead to positive change.

This is not to say the technology is not important, because it is…critically so.

The technology today is driving huge changes in the way we communicate and how our organizations are built and interact with the world. However, too much focus on this area can lead to whiffs in other still important aspects of marketing, building a brand and running a business.

Then there is the qualitative side of the marketing community that has limited recognition of the pervasive nature of the technology, the accelerated pace of change we now live with, and its impact on our organizations and customers. While this group will embrace the new communication methodologies, they often will try and use these tools directionally to execute outdated models of customer relationship interaction. On this side of the coin, we have not yet learned that pushing corporate/brand/product messaging to disinterested audiences is not viable. This also will not lead to the intended or optimal result.

Like most other things in life, balance in implementation is key. While technology often renders “what we know” useless or invalid (sometimes within the same year), there are also certain fundamentals of life that remain consistent. People and organizations still have needs, many of which remain very basic. How they communicate to the world around these needs is what has changed, and continues to change, radically.

The difficulty lies in combining empathy for both the quantitative and qualitative sides of the puzzle. This is a combination that neither of these sides usually have individually, necessitating yet another skill set. The emergence of marketing operations and a well-conceived project manager model comes into play here.

All organizations need that balanced view that has best interests of customer and the organization/brand in mind. Especially important is that balance between what constitutes a good use of technology, and yet is still being customer friendly (in all senses of that discussion…usability, creepiness factor, etc…but this topic is a discussion for another time.)

The customer must be recognized above all, as ultimately they have the final vote. Whether we are seeking to interact one-on-one on an individual level or create a heightened connection though finely tuned personas, the approach must be customer-centric, not on our own perspectives of how things work.

I’m testing another blog

November 9, 2013

Hi All,

I’m adding another blog to my repertoire in order to test out BlogSpot and compare analytics. The link is http://mtietbohl.blogspot.com and the title is Marketing…The Ever Changing Paradigm. I will likely explore tried and true marketing concepts and philosophy there, as well as emerging trends. Hope to see you there.

Freedom to be wrong…what a concept

October 13, 2013

“Search marketing, and most Internet marketing in fact, can be very threatening because there are no rules. There’s no safe haven. To do it right, you need to be willing to be wrong. But search marketing done right is all about being wrong. Experimentation is the only way. No one really knows whether that page will rank #1 in Google; no one really knows which paid search copy will get the highest click rate. Even experts can’t tell you which content will attract the most links. You just have to try it and see.” Mike Moran, IBM

Claude Hopkins

Claude Hopkins

If Claude Hopkins had had the internet 100 years ago, he could have told you this….

(Thanks to Dan Perry for posting the quote at http://www.danperry.com/blog/online-marketing-quotes/ )

Take Your Time to Eat the Donuts…

July 25, 2013

DDdrinkI recently have been reading in various sources (for example, NFR Stores) that Dunkin Donuts has been upgrading sites with a new design that encourages people to linger.

This is an interesting progression in the Dunkin Donuts lifeline. Being originally from the northern Mid-Atlantic region, and having spent significant time in NE and the upper Midwest, I saw coffee shops (DD in particular) as a hangout place. At the time, they had actual counter service (like a diner) and you could also choose a booth or table. Lingering was actively encouraged, as incremental sales occurred from additional time and the products had significant margins. (I hopefully scoured the net for a picture of DDs in the 80’s but had no luck…)

DD new image<

But the feeling also prevailed that was OK to know the staff (and they you), and also the regulars. Some people seemed to pretty much hang out there all day…they were there in the morning and they were there at night. It was the nonalcoholic meeting place of choice, in a time where focus on drinking and driving was just coming into its own.
In recent times, DD has seemed more focused on getting people in and out of the store, pushing the use of drive through windows and generally depersonalizing the locations. In these days of relationship building, the time to re-engage has arrived.

While the new technologies (TVs, wireless, comfy chairs) will help the cause, I think the main objective to once again achieve a feeling of comfort and welcome, of community, and to convey that it is once again OK to just hang…

I for one hope they do achieve this, as it was always more homey to hang in a DD than it ever has been in the more eclectic and or pseudo retro coffee shops today….

From the man who wrote the book on marketing…

July 7, 2013

“Over the past 60 years, marketing has moved from being product-centric (Marketing 1.0) to being consumer-centric (Marketing 2.0). Today we see marketing as transforming once again in response to the new dynamics in the environment. We see companies expanding their focus from products to consumers to humankind issues. Marketing 3.0 is the stage when companies shift from consumer-centricity to human-centricity and where profitability is balanced with corporate responsibility.”
― Phillip Kotler

Time to open up the throttle…

October 25, 2012

Mobile, once the platform of promise, is becoming more mainstream every day, particularly with the growth in evidence over the past two years. With that being said, mobile as a marketing platform is still at a stage where most companies could still consider leverage from mobile to be incremental to their results. Mobile marketing and m-commerce still may still offer the best opportunity for some marketers to gain additional revenue quickly and/or capture additional market share.

Mobile is very much today akin to the early days of e-commerce. At that time, “conventional wisdom” held that only certain products were suited to e-commerce (books for example) that were well known commodities to consumers – “I know what I’m getting”-, and presented low purchase risk. As trust increased, consumers were willing to absorb more price point risk (electronics, for example), but the well known commodity aspect of e-commerce was still there. Today, behavior of consumers pretty much leapfrog both considerations, as evidenced by results seen by luxury marketers, high fashion labels and real estate sales, which shoot this thinking to pieces. These are some of the most successful online sellers today.

Building platform trust was a key component in this evolution, as was the acquired familiarity by consumers with online purchasing and improvements in platform technology (both site characteristics and commerce). While mobile in some ways is still in the early stages of some technology and commerce platforms, the pioneer work done by merchants on the traditional web should allow for a more accelerated, explosive growth cycle.

Because near term growth in m-commerce and brand building is likely to be explosive, costs related to becoming mobile savvy natives must be considered as incremental ones by marketers. Mobile optimized web sites, apps, mobile specific promotions and mobile advertising (both standalone and tied to other marketing tools) are needed investments.

Mobile sites (at least for phones) have a need to be distinctly different from a company’s main site. The paths need to be more straightforward, easier to maneuver and load quickly. These are all facets of execution that have been well documented as necessary elsewhere, so here, this is just a reminder.

The “why do this?” is important. Google data shows that almost of a third of all web searches are tied to local intent. 95% of all smart phone users in the US have used their device to perform searches for local geographic information. Of these, almost 60 % visited the business, and 90% of those took action within 24 hours.

The immediacy of mobile lends itself well to social media and sharing. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook are all platforms that can facilitate the spreading of a company’s mobile messaging, and are where you will find consumers who are not texting, downloading or conducting searches.

In talking mobile, it is important to keep in mind the differences within mobile between phones and tablets. There is more to consider here than the size of the screen, although to some extent that does drive many of the usage differences.

Screen size does impact why there is heavier usage of tablets with WiFi, in a home setting, and as part of a “second screen” experience. Complications can also ensue, however on apps (definitely) and sites (at times) that have been optimized for phones. These are all important for marketers using mobile to keep in mind.

However, perhaps the most important practical aspect to keep in mind when thinking on these two mobile devices is that tablets are not phones and are not used by consumers to research and respond in the same way as a phone. For example, when integrating with other company communication channels, don’t ask people to call as the next a call to action from a tablet; click-through requests are more appropriate on a tablet than on a phone.

Perhaps the best piece of advice in closing is that whatever steps you take; once they are in place test them yourself as a consumer would, on the device(s) that you expect they will be using. There are still a lot of loose end out there in mobile land. Tread carefully and thoughtfully, but also keep in mind that the time to give your best efforts to mobile has finally arrived.

Mobile must be all about the customer….

November 27, 2011

As in all marketing efforts, it is important to do your best on all steps of the process, from strategy through planning to execution and measurement. It’s very much like what William Young writes in The Shack  “…if anything matters, then everything matters”. That being said, there is important, and then there is important…

Numerous experts indicate that the most important issue to consider when developing a mobile marketing plan is in knowing where the plan might fail and how to account for that failure. While this is certainly important, as it is one of the natural progressions in building the plan, failure planning is not likely to be effective without a clear view of the customer/prospect and the overall marketing objective being pursued.

So those 2 factors (knowledge of the customer and your objectives) are likely the most critical to making for a successful effort, as all the other important factors stem from them.

From a very practical point of view, mobile (at least today) is direct response; the better we identify the audience for the messaging, the greater the desired response. And like with email, advertising to mobile clients who have not opted in to receiving your message is likely to be met with a scathing response and very negative brand image. Opt-in is important.

However, defining the appropriate audience has to go beyond collecting those who naturally opt in. Finding additional customers becomes a reiterative process where we look at who our ideal customers for the program are, how to best tailor our offering to fill the needs of those customers/prospects and what approach to them will motivate them to grant permission.

This process requires determining what our customers and potential customers want: not just product, but interaction method, timing, information level desired, how they use mobile, etc.  I am not marginalizing the rest of mobile marketing components; they are all important.  However, the audience and their need will determine the message. The message will often determine the media, both in terms of platform and browser, message style and content, frequency, escalation, interplay with other legs of our marketing, etc.