Tag Archives: Strategy

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.

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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 frameworks–things to consider

There are steps that the digital marketer should include in the digital marketing playbook. These steps could be incorporated into a workable framework which can then expand into a set of workable plans. The framework should involve the following  four steps after the strategy and goal setting exercise has been completed:

Listen

You need to fully understand their audience. You should know its media habits such as which device they prefer to use – and when they use it. The online landscape changes rapidly so resources should be adjusted to suit. A listening audit should be carried our to make sure that the chosen channels in the marketing plan are the same channels the audience uses. A benchmark can then be set for each platform for the campaign with associated KPIs.

Build

The build phase of a campaign could be as simple as creating a content calendar, developing training for the team, or designing a creative brief for the agency. Whatever the build phase contains it is important that it ties in with the digital strategy and overall business strategy.

Whilst a content calendar is easy to create, it often forms the core of all marketing activity. It might contain details on how many social media posts to create, or when to write a particular blog post.  You should manage the differing types of content that goes on what channel, and when it should be posted.

Engage.

Customer engagement does not often run how the marketer predicts it will. You must set out how to respond when dealing with enquiries, information, complaints, dissatisfaction and customer anger. Each style of inbound comment, should be assessed for tone and manner, responded to and considered. The customer engagement framework therefore must take these situations into account.

An example of an engagement framework is shown below:

online engagement Eileen Brown digital marketing amastra

It is important to recognise the differing amounts of effort needed to produce content on different channels. Whilst it is easy to take a picture and upload it on social sites, full production videos with voice overs take considerable effort and should be built into the plan.

Above all, your engagement strategy needs to be workable for your brand. Your primary goal is to encourage conversation.

Monitor

It is also important to track the metrics that show that the campaign has been successful. Often marketers focus on easily accessible metrics, such as followers, likes and shares. These metrics, whilst useful are not actually as important as other quantitative and qualitative metrics.

Whether that metric is, make sure that each set metric matches the original defined objectives. If you want to understand what people think of your brand the stated objective is listening.

Monitoring success is easy – but getting the correct measurements that actually mean something – is much harder than you think. Creating your all-up marketing campaign will take significant time, and resources. Maintaining, monitoring and optimising the campaign will take even more time. Make sure you plan for it to be a success..

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

Reasons to implement your Engagement strategy

Does your online strategy show how much you care about your customers?  Do you engage regularly with your audience, giving them value from your interactions with them? In this connected world, can you afford not to communicate with your customers?  Do you know what your ROI on your social activities is?  Do you even measure your ROI?

image

There are some staggering numbers of people online these days, and there’s also an expectation that brands will have good workable social strategies.  Take a look at these facts:

  • Over 2 billion people online are now.  There are only 7 billion people in the world.  Lots of them are still too young to read.  You can engage with 28.5% of the entire population of the world 
  • There are 1 billion accounts on Facebook.  If you have a Facebook page, potentially huge numbers of your fans can see it.  Starbucks has 30 million fans, Coca Cola has 41 million fans and lady Gaga has 50 million fans.
  • 85% of customers expect that businesses should be active in social media.  Where is your social brand?
  • Business is built on relationships.  Are you passionate about your customers>  Does your online engagement and social activity demonstrate how much you care about your customers? Customers believe that 80% of brands are not passionate about their customers
  • Do you blog?  If you do, you’ll get about 55% more visitors to your web site ad 67% more leads than if you don’t blog.  Demonstrate your credibility.  Blog regularly, be credible.  Keep up the conversation. Put blogging at the heart of your content marketing strategy
  • 77% of customers will read status updates from the brand.  They probably wont comment – but at least they are listening to you.
  • 17% of your fans will comment on your messaging.  Perhaps they will share your story amongst their friends.  That is if you are communicating with them in the first instance.
  • 51% of Facebook fans say that they are likely to buy from you if you have a Facebook page.
  • 68% of subscribers to your email newsletter are likely to buy your services.  You need to have a strong call to action to encourage them to purchase
  • Brands don’t always have a good listening strategy.  30% of customer questions and feedback do not get replied to. 
  • On Twitter the listening strategy is poor.  over 71% of complaints on Twitter are not responded to.  implement a listening framework across channels and respond to feedback, good and bad.
  • 43% of social media users talk to brands, but brands don’t listen to their social customers

Further information and facts can be found in the infographic from BitRebels.  Avoid this at your peril.  Engage or be left behind commercially.  You need to have an engagement strategy and make it work with your audience and customers.

 

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: Keoni Cabral

 

B2B social media bolsters interactions – If you measure your ROSMI

Business to business social media is often overlooked in the mad scramble to get social media views, likes and votes in the business to consumer world.  But B2B is a really important way for companies to connect – if they also measure their Return on Social Media Investment (ROSMI)

Accenture have published a report highlighting attitudes to social media – and as I said yesterday when I talked about why the CEO needs to step up,  1 in 6 executives don’t perceive social media as being important enough. 

There’s a low level of engagement too.  Have a look at this graph from the Accenture report.

image

Source: Making Social Media Pay: Rethinking Social Medias potential…

Although respondents to the survey acknowledged that social media was important, engagement was generally low. Figure 3 shows that more than 25% engage slightly or not at all.  Only 8 per cent of companies are heavily taking advantage of social media at the moment which gives early adopters of social media a competitive advantage.

Accenture’s research focused on social media attitudes and looked at two different groups: Those that reported significant revenue growth and those that reported declines in revenue.  Whilst engagement levels were similar, strategies were different:

Companies that experienced revenue growth

  • Social media programs for greater customer engagement, improved brand reputation, access to new revenues, access to new sources of innovation
  • 27 per cent of companies convinced of social medias impact on customer engagement
  • 39 per cent of companies ranked social media as very important
  • 39 per cent integrated social media with other customer initiatives
  • 15 per cent systematically measured return on social media investment

Companies with declining revenue:

  • Social media programs for enhancing customer engagement
  • 9 per cent of companies convinced of social medias impact on customer engagement
  • 24 per cent of companies ranked social media as very important
  • 20 per cent integrated social media with other customer initiatives
  • 0 per cent systematically measured return on social media investment

There are several case studies mentioned in the Accenture report including examples from Cisco, Dell, Oracle and Microsoft, some great advice about aligning your social media activities with your broader business objectives.  Social media needs to be positioned as the cornerstone of activity in order for companies to succeed effectively in their industry

Getting your interaction right can make the difference between growing the business.  Measuring your return on your social media investment is the key to your success – or not.

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.