Tag Archives: digital marketing

digital marketer book front cover bcs eileen brown besty aoki

Authors across the Atlantic – How to co-write a book using Microsoft OneNote

I was approached by the British Computer Society (BCS) to write the Digital Marketer book. The BCS produces several guides to IT roles with best practice guidance for the role. These include objectives, required skills, career progression, frameworks and case studies. Each IT role book follows a formulaic style to ensure consistency across the range.

I wanted the Digital Marketer book to have diversity of thought, and a different working style – to bring a wide range of ideas to budding digital marketers.  I approached my Seattle-based friend and long-time colleague Betsy Aoki to co-write the book with me.

Betsy and I first met in 2004 when we both worked at Microsoft. My team at the time were using blogging to reach the widest number of IT professionals and Betsy had built the blogging platform we used. Her technical approach was the polar opposite of mine, and I felt that our skills dovetailed nicely to give great breadth to our content.  Thankfully, she agreed.

With an eight hour time difference between Essex and Seattle,  I could write my content during the day, pass it over to Betsy, for her to return overnight.  However, we both have day jobs that take much of our time, sometimes we write in the evenings, sometimes at weekends.  Emailing a cumbersome word document back and forwards everyday would have been a pain.  Having the Word document in the cloud meant managing a document of over 150 pages with tracking enabled – a cumbersome nightmare.

Using Microsoft OneNote to collaborate

I decided that we would use Microsoft’s OneNote to collaborate on the book. I’m familiar with OneNote. I had used it extensively at Microsoft, and had written my first book: Working the Crowd. Social Media Marketing for Business using OneNote in 2010. But I had never considered OneNote as a pan-Atlantic collaboration tool.

digital marketer book Eileen Brown BCS onenote

Digital Marketer – Setting out the Chapter headings and sub-headings

As you can see by the screen grab, we structured the tabs for the main chapters of the book, with proposed sub headings as pages within the tab. We used sub pages, and shuffled the pages around until we got a good flow for the book. All of our research, links and other reference snippets were stored in the ‘spare stuff’ tab.  We would need them as the book as about 140 end notes with valid (at the time of going to print) links to the relevant web pages.

We both started to write sections we felt most comfortable covering – leaving the thorny, difficult topics to the end. It was easy to see who had written which part of the book. OneNote made this easy. It showed clearly which paragraphs had been penned by which author. My edits, were visible to Betsy and vice-versa.  Therefore, it was easy to write 500 words or so per page and watch the content grow.

digital marketer book authors Eileen Brown Betsy Aoki BCSonenote

Digital Marketer: Showing parts of the text Written by Betsy – and me

As this OneNote book was saved in the cloud on my OneDrive account – and backed up the the OneDrive cloud, we were confident about not losing any content. I downloaded OneNote for my Android mobile, so I could do edits on-the-fly and add content when inspiration struck me.

Finalising the Digital Marketer book

We moved pages and tabs around, merged pages together, and collaborated over a distance of 4,800 miles until we were happy with the flow and the way that the content looked. Only then did we copy it to a word document and send it off the the BCS for initial editing.  And now Digital Marketer is finished – and ready to roll off the presses.  We are both pleased with how everything turned out, and delighted with how easy it was to collaborate.  We ‘hardly’ had any problems at all

I did have one issue with using OneNote to write this book.  There is no word count for a page, or a tab – which is a pain when you are trying to gauge how far along you are- content-wise. Until we copied all of the tabs over to word, we had no idea how many words we had written – and whether we were on target.  The history tab has icons to select recent edits edits by author, and has different page versions – but there is no way to count words.  (Can I add a feature request please OneNote team? ).

If I was asked to co-write another book would I do so again?   I certainly would – providing I could collaborate in the cloud, have automatic backups, and have tracking information about which member of the team wrote which part of the document. Oh, and using OneNote would be a must for me. All I need to think about is the title. Cheesemaking perhaps?…

Inbound and outbound marketing

This post has been taken from an excerpt from our book: Digital Marketer, published by the BCS.

Marketing can be outbound or inbound depending on your goals and your desire to connect with your customer – or have then connect with your brand.

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing reaches you, the consumer in many ways. Brands reach out to you to get you to buy their goods or service. They do this by advertising, phone calls, door-to-door leaflets, or by direct mail shots. You might think that this kind of marketing is a distraction, but a  necessary evil for our consumer society with seemingly endless leisure time.

Brands or advertisements appear wherever consumers are. relevant to the customer, event when the customers are not expecting to see their message. There might be a surprise takeover of an online ad, or a pop up shop in London to sell goods or promote services. It could even be an unexpected advertising billboard placed incongruously on a road in Montana, US.
Outbound marketers would need to:

  1. Create a campaign that appeals to as broad an audience as you can which will improve the chances of it reaching  your customer.
  2. Time the campaign delivery to capture attention in a certain venue, or place. This could be ads on the subway, or a leaflet flyer in your letterbox at home.
  3. Determine from the volume of sales or service bookings during and after the campaign whether it worked
  4. Start up a new campaign again as you decide you need more customers.

Inbound marketing

On the other hand, Inbound marketing is a term coined by HubSpot. In the digital arena, a digital marketer creates and provides content for an online property such as a company blog, podcast, ebook or email list that the interested customer can sign up for. With such an approach, the business is making it worthwhile for the customer to find and engage them.

To attract customers, you offer something of value – usually content – for free, making sure that the content closely aligned with your brand. You need to make sure that you are wooing your customers and building up a relationship rather than trying to do a hard sell at once.

Once you have attracted the right kind of customer, you must convert them to align with your brand. Perhaps you could send them a free ebook on a topic of interest, or gather their email address for your marketing list.  Your customers might listen to your podcast to understand how to do something that is in their own interest and see how your product helps them achieve their goals.

You then have an opportunity to close the deal. The ‘close’ is the opportunity to market to the customer again, and repeat the sale to make them even more delighted with your company or brand.

Marketing to customers who have bought something becomes easier because now you have a relationship and they will want to hear from you next time it goes on sale, or gets an upgrade.

The main thing to remember is that inbound marketing must be on-going. Instead of a campaign having a definable beginning and end, marketing becomes part of the company’s lifestyle and infrastructure.  You will oversee all stages of this inbound marketing process, making sure if, and how much, the strategies are working.

Related Content

Seismic marketing

This post has been taken from an excerpt from our book: Digital Marketer, published by the BCS.

There has been a huge shift in approaches to the way that we market to our customers. The introduction of digital marketing has been seismic across the marketing industry.

In the past, traditional marketing skills covered such areas as creating a marketing plan. These plans incorporated messaging, defining customer value propositions and key goals that could be broken down into separate strategic initiatives and action plans. Digital marketing still needs a lot of the same thinking as traditional marketing. Advances in technology such as data mining, analytics, and digital tools make a lot of things easier to research and deliver. Digital marketing also builds more upon relationships. As interactions between you and your customer can be easier to track in the digital world, it becomes easier to understand what themes your customers are most likely to respond to.

Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

The main differences between traditional and digital marketing approaches over the past few years tend to fall into these categories.

Dramatic increase in speed from the initial idea of a concept through to execution of the campaign. What used to take months  in the past now can take hours or days. Think of a glossy magazine or journal going to press on a regular basis. Formats such as settings, layout, ad inserts and interview take up the bulk of the design team’s time. Event meetings to discuss the front cover can take days. Now in the digital world, online formats can be tweaked and publications can be adjusted digitally to highlighting the latest marketing message.

Democratisation of taste. Once we slavishly followed the designers, style makers, and fashion critics telling us what they had decided were the next big trends coming out of New York, London or Paris. What theese pundits said, became the trends we followed. Now ordinary people garner huge followings as they document their styles on Instagram. We follow lifestyle Pinterest boards and consume fashion blogs written by people that match our own perceptions of good taste.

Enhanced analytics. Technology platforms are able to give deeper analysis automatically of what users are doing online and will give you a really accurate picture of your customer. You can track their journey through your online store, discover hotspots on the page, and use this to market far more effectively than was possible in an analogue world.

Relationship and community building. In the past it might have taken years for word-of-mouth and geographic barriers to be overcome for a business whilst it built up its reputation. Now the internet allows businesses to have paying customers at a far distance.  Therefore, brands needs to watch how the social conversations online are managed. Active management of brand or product perception now needs to be looked after 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rapid change in customers perception. What really matters to customers one day could become irrelevant noise tomorrow. You need to continually keep up to date with technology advances and changes in public sentiment to have on-going good quality online conversations and relationships with your online group.

Because our digital attention span does have its limits, you will be able to make use of digital marketing analytics tools to understand the effectiveness of a campaign, often in real time – and respond accordingly.

Digital marketing platform fundamentals customer relationship Eileen brown amastra

Online marketing platform fundamentals

Digital marketing is a huge subject and getting to grips with the various platforms available can take some time as  you move from traditional marketing to digital marketing. Gaining platform expertise is a fast moving target. Channels come and go and are the darling of the marketing world one month, and out of favour the next.  There are a few commonalities however that cross all platforms which broadly cover a range of functionality. At a high level, here are the three main platforms that you will encounter in digital marketing on a day-to-day basis

Customer relationship platform (CRM)

Customer relationship platforms have existed for  many years. They are mainly focused on serving the customer in support issues. The sales team keep details of their prospects, leads and customers to help them manage relationships with potential customers. In support teams CRM platforms are used to gather statistics on which products or services generate the most customer complaints, and how long issues take to get resolved. Before the advent of web 2.0 – the interactive web – CRM systems centred around phone calls and postal mail. Today they integrate with live chat and email systems, and social media platforms.

The strength of CRM systems are their ability to collate data for analysis and automate some functions such as adding AI chatbots to resolve simple customer questions. If a business is not consistent with recording accurate contact information and records, the CRM system will not help the marketer.  The CRM  could be configured to measure certain details which means cross referencing, certain reports with results captured in other systems. A spreadsheet could help you significantly in tying these insights together.

Content management system (CMS)

The content management system is used to publish content, manage, schedule it, and organize it for end users. They initially became popular as blogging platforms became important to the business. In enterprises, corporate bloggers needed systems that would store text, video, sounds, images, and other assets. They also included workflow management such as scheduling and had a direct connection to the channel in which they were publishing.

Content management systems often have features that assist the administrators of such systems. There are tools to change the appearance of a blog or schedule when a blog post will appear. It also can incorporate spam detection and blocking tools, or anti-hacking features. It could also incorporate multi-user options, so that the publisher of the content may enlist moderators to help handle the steady stream of comments from Internet visitors.

Social or sharing platform

Social or sharing platforms are software systems designed in order to promote or share content from users to each other, and encourage online conversation between users. Generally their features tend to  include:

A user profile with privacy settings, so that the user can control who sees the content. The online identity of the user can be carefully crafted to suit your marketing goals (think of the Compare the Market Meerkat social profile of Alexandr Orlov)

A composing or editing feature, that allows the user to create the content, edit it, upload it, and then share it with other users.

The ability to share content. This could be controlled by the platform or by the user, and allows user-created content to be seen by other online users.

Larger platforms can include a component that enables advertising and promotion of content

Social channels and their advertising capabilities are central tools for marketing efforts which means that marketers need to be cognisant of the platform in order to use the platforms effectively. You need to make certain that you choose the right channel to get you the best online reach.

Getting started with digital online marketing eileen brown amastra

Moving from traditional marketing to digital marketing

Not all businesses are well-suited for online marketing campaigns which often run alongside traditional marketing effort such as TV ads, print magazine inserts, postal mailings, or sponsorship of live events. Awareness of marketing techniques and traditional marketing resources can create an effect that works in both realms.

Businesses have traditionally reached out to their customers to sell their products, using a range of options from free to very high cost.

Free marketing

Word of mouth. A satisfied customer can often be the best advertising.

Favourable mention in a community bulletin, such as church or school newsletter – possibly in relation to a charitable or joint project with those institutions

Community of users  – such as a book club, motorcycle or car club.

Favourable mention in a newspaper or on television and radio as the product is talked about in the news, or the founder of the company is interviewed by the press

Paid marketing

Paid advertisement in a newspaper, radio ad, or television

Paid endorsement by a celebrity or person of status in one of the media channels

Presence in a physical location – a stall at a community Sunday market, space in a consignment shop all the way up to an on-going shop in an expensive location

Transferring these into the online marketplace can vary in success. Sometimes the cost is much less, sometimes there is a lot more work for the digital marketer to do. Theoretically there are no physical limits  online – apart from the user’s attention span.

Online marketing  – Free

Word of mouth. A new customer can hear about your product or service from their friends through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat. This recommendation, can be very effective as the speaker on your behalf already has the potential customer’s trust.

Favourable mention in a community publication. This could be an online forum where like-minded people gather Users are familiar with each other,  trust is high because it is embedded in a topic that the users already care about.

Online community of users can arise around your product or service itself. Fans of your line of gadgetry will be discussing your product with each other. This kind of community lets you offer previews, discounts, and announcements of new products or services they will want to purchase.

Earned media. Sometimes there is a story around a product or service that makes the mention in a media channel fortunate for the business. This can work against the company, if a flaw in a product is discovered, but it is marketing that the company does not have to pay for directly.

Online marketing – Paid

Paid advertising raises awareness, acquires customers, or convert people to a sale. Money has to be spent here, but you can plan your spend ahead of time. Careful planning and monitoring can assist with this.

Paid endorsement or paid influencer recommendations. These require cash, careful management of the relationship, and early assessment of whether the celebrity is the right fit for the target audience for your product.

Digital presence. This can be as simple as ensuring your massage therapy business has a Facebook page and a twitter account or it could be paying a web design firm to create a complex and lush company web site for you, with shopping cart so people can pay for your product. Your digital presence translates to digital channels and locations where your customers can be immersed in your brand and message

The digital marketer needs to take on the challenge of mixing and matching these techniques in a way that best supports their business and gets them more sales. You will need to create your strategy and set goals, consider creating a digital marketing framework and choosing the best channels for effective reach.

Choosing the right online channels to get the best reach EIleen brown digital marketing amastra

Choosing online channels to get the best reach

Getting the right channel for marketing is an important key part of your overall digital marketing plan. Consumers see massive amounts of information each day across every device they use. in your digital marketing activities, you will need to consider which channel will be best for your campaign.

Think about using more than one channel too and remember that it is important for a brand to have a consistent message. If a campaign is going to be delivered across a variety of channels, it is important that the message resonates across a variety of offline and online channels. Customers view the brand as a whole entity – whether they are in the shop, viewing the online store, or interacting with the brand on social media channels. Consistency across all different channels – online and offline – is vital to multi-channel success. A holistic view needs to be taken of all of your outbound and inbound channels.

You will need to consider these four points when choosing your channel:

  • Who is going to see your digital marketing communications? You will want to connect with people that will either buy the product or respond to your communications the way you want them to
  • Which channel receives information? Carry out research to see which social platforms  your intended audience currently use to receive information and tailor your message to suit. Short or simple messages might be most effective across social media, long or complex communications may need a different channel to be the most effective.
  • Calculate the cost of communicating this message across each channel. Channels such as TV will be expensive, and some publishers will charge considerably more than others. Social channels can be populated at little or no cost, depending whether you pay for promoted posts or use the free channels.
  • Define what response is required from this communication. Do you want to engage, or surface influencers, or assess customer satisfaction for the product. Make sure all comments are responded to in accordance with your defined framework.

Advertising covers much more than social media advertising.  If you think about apps that are delivered to Android, or Windows desktops, these apps can contain ads for your brand. In addition to traditional emails or SMS broadcasts, you could communicate through tablet apps or web sites, wearables, in-store kiosks, QR codes and RFID tags.  Also consider partner or affiliate marketing – or use influencers to extend your coverage.

Create a list of suitable channels in your digital marketing playbook and compare the performance of each one. Make sure that each channel has a set of services that map to your overall plan. The channel might need to have tools for customer relationship management, order management, product management, and issue management. If these are standardised, then  you can easily adopt any new marketing channel that comes online.

Digital marketing strategy Eileen Brown Amastra

Creating your digital marketing strategy and setting goals

If your marketing objectives are achievable and specific to the business, then the marketing team can focus on the objectives, and make appropriate decisions. The team can create priorities and channel appropriate resources to the objectives to ensure that they are met within a specific time frame. your playbook will have several sections – including one for your digital marketing strategy.

As with all strategies and plans, details need to be fleshed out, so,  you can deal issues in line with your overall strategy. Frameworks are varied and versatile. Some deal with customer engagement, some with crisis management and disaster recovery.

It often is of benefit to tabulate an overview of strategies and themes by intended audience type such as this example below showing strategies and campaigns for a furniture company’s line of modular furniture.

marketing campaigns and strategies eileen brown Amastra digital marketing eileen brown amastra

 

Digital Marketing goal setting

You also need to make goals so you can focus your effort on the right method of communication. Goals need to be fixed, objectives identified and the correct channel identified.

Once you have defined your audience, stated your objective, and documented your anticipated outcome you need to create a document detailing your strategy and choice of tools. This document – which could form the basis for a team strategy discussion could contain the following questions:

  1. How will your strategy change your relationship with your customers in the short, medium or long-term?
  2. What resources do you need to carry out your plan?
  3. How will the new plan change relationships with your customers?
  4. What dependencies does your strategy have?
  5. How will you maintain this plan over time?
  6. How will you scale or replicate the plan?
  7. What internal or external blockers do you need to overcome to achieve success?
  8. What tactics, tools, or technologies will you use for your plan?
  9. What are the most important features required of each tactic or tool?
  10. What new skills or training do you or your team members need in order to succeed?
  11. What resources and processes will you need to mitigate these risks?
  12. What are the associated costs. Are they fixed costs, or on-going
  13. Do you need an external vendor or partner to execute on the plan?
  14. What could go wrong with this plan?
  15. How can you minimise risks and avoid a potential crisis?

 There are a lot of things to consider when planning your strategies and campaigns. Getting it right now, will help you move your marketing activities forward smoothly and successfully.

In the next post we will talk about what to consider when creating your engagement framework