Daniel Burstein

Content Marketing: You must overcome The Jackson 5 Effect to find subject matter experts

May 19th, 2017
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Subject matter experts (SMEs) are crucial to content marketing success, especially in B2B. Whether accountants advising about amortization or IT managers contemplating the cloud, vital information that will help your audience — and thus help you create great content — lies trapped in your SMEs’ craniums.

It’s your job to tap into those big brains and free the content.

There are many well-noted challenges to working with SMEs that you’re probably well familiar with. They’re busy. They don’t know how to create content. They don’t create good content.

However, today on the MarketingSherpa blog, I wanted to bring up another point I don’t see discussed as much — you’re overlooking a plethora of untapped SMEs.

Sure, your CEO is a SME. The head of Sales. You likely have someone in an evangelist role of some sort who is also a SME. But what about the customer service rep? The middle manager? Credentialing specialist? Purchasing associate? Transportation coordinator? Senior systems manager?

They (and many inglorious but essential) functionaries in your organization are all victims of what I like to call: The Jackson 5 Effect.

We value least what we interact with most

Before Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, he was a kid in a family band — The Jackson 5.

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Source: Wikipedia

Eventually, Michael would go on to become one of the most famous and successful singers the world over. So successful that he had his own theme park and monkey. But while he was in The Jackson 5, did Tito and Jermaine really appreciate Michael’s skills, ability and knowledge? Or, did they just look at him as their annoying little brother?

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Courtney Eckerle

How Mr. Lube Canada leveraged data to create a personalized customer experience

May 15th, 2017
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Canadian chain of automotive maintenance service centers Mr. Lube was challenged with customer retention and relationship management across the various touch points.

Before her session at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017, Andrea Shaikin, (Former) Director of Customer Experience and Engagement, Mr. Lube, sat down with me in the Media Center to discuss how her team approached the challenge.

Andrea said that the first and biggest issue (as it is with many marketers) was data.

“We had so much data. It was unbelievable. Transactional information going back 40 years, but we couldn’t use it for customer information. We didn’t actually know what people were doing [because] our unique identifier was the license plate, not the person,” she said.

The team had no clue how to meaningfully interpret the data to give people the information they needed at the actual time when they needed it. The team had to find a way to do that, without changing too many of the systems for the financial reporting purposes.

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Courtney Eckerle

How to Use Social Media Tactics to Make Your Emails More Enticing

May 5th, 2017
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Email marketing is tough. You have almost no time to grab your audience’s attention with a subject line, and even if they do open — that’s when the battle is just beginning.

For those who do open your email, you can’t give them any reason to click the ‘delete’ button, and you have to pique their interest immediately.

One of the best ways to accomplish that is through visuals. Something fun, bright and colorful to catch their eye so that they give the content and copy in the email — no doubt wonderful and scintillating — the time it deserves.

When it comes to visuals, there’s a lot that can be taken from social media. If your company has a strong social presence, start pulling some tactics from there. If you don’t, do some research to see what companies in your sphere are doing on social.

Here are three companies taking those dynamic tactics and successfully implementing them into email:

Tactic #1. Gamify emails to entice readers

Primm Valley Resort and Casino, part of the Affinity Gaming family of casinos, wanted to leverage insights from behavioral economics to create campaigns that would be not only fun, but motivating.

With email, that meant embedding bite-sized games into the experience, allowing customers to play and win prizes they otherwise would have been given for free.

Evans and her team decided to play off of customers’ penchant for playing games to promote events.

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Courtney Eckerle

Inbox Equilibrium: How small businesses are making an impact in customer’s inboxes

April 28th, 2017
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I have been writing email marketing case studies for MarketingSherpa for almost five years, and almost without fail, they’ve been from companies large enough to have a dedicated marketer working on campaigns. At the very least, small companies that had big company aspirations and a “jack of all trades”-type working on campaigns.

But when I take a look at my personal inbox, I realize that’s only a partial view. Sure, I receive emails from big brands, but my inbox has changed in recent years. At least half of the emails I receive now are from small, local businesses.

In fact, the one I look forward to the most is the update from the historic San Marco Theater here in Jacksonville — the owner writes each email himself as if it were a personal letter to each of us. The theater recently upgraded to a second screen, and I have been following the building drama rabidly.

There’s something about receiving a personal and detailed email that is almost quaint, now. The only people who email me any more to give me the small updates about their lives now are those small, local businesses.

In recent years, there has been an email evolution where email marketing became accessible and easily doable for people who are juggling the majority — if not all of — the tasks associated with running a business.

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Ken Bowen

Snapchat Do’s and Don’ts from HP’s session at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017

April 21st, 2017
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Throughout my tenure at MECLABS Institute, parent company of MarketingSherpa, I’ve worn a lot of hats. I have been the managing editor of MECLABS.com, produced web clinics for MarketingSherpa’s sister site, MarketingExperiments, and currently serve as a senior manager of digital analytics, where I help our Research Partners make sense of mountains of customer data.

Perhaps my most cherished responsibility, however, has been to act as the resident Snapchat journalist around the MECLABS campus. Whether the office alligator is sunning himself beside the lake, a company-wide ping pong tournament is taking place, or we’re surprising Aimee Reynard, Senior Events Manager, on her birthday at Summit, if something interesting is going on, I consider it my duty to spread the word to my coworkers via Snap.

For this reason, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Frank Danna, Content Director, Softway and Stef Brower, Global Social Marketing, HP on their MarketingSherpa 2017 Best Practices session, “Navigating the Complex (and Weird) Landscape of Snapchat: An inside look at HP’s Snapchat journey.”

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Courtney Eckerle

Live from MarketingSherpa Summit 2017: Jeff Ma on harnessing the power of analytics to better understand customers

April 12th, 2017
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As a member of the famous MIT Blackjack Team and the inspiration for the main character in the book Bringing Down the House and the Kevin Spacey film 21, Jeff Ma knows a thing or two about gambling.

Scratch that — Jeff Ma isn’t a gambler. That’s because every move in blackjack has one correct decision. It’s just about understanding basic strategy, and implementing it. Remove human instincts, or “gut feelings,” and you will stack the odds in your favor.

Currently the senior director of analytics at Twitter (after selling his startup to the social network) and a former predictive analytics expert for ESPN, Jeff spoke to the MarketingSherpa Summit audience about how to use data and analytics to come out on top with customers.

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By using data to overcome emotional biases, Ma said, not only can marketers win big with customers, but they’ll also build influence within their organizations.

Learning to make better decisions

It all begins with increasing your odds by using basic strategy.

“A lot of people don’t use basic strategy, which is why we’re so bad at making decisions as a people,” Jeff said. “Decisions are best when you have data behind them.”

One common mistake people fall prey to is omission bias. Basically, people don’t want to be perceived as the agent for harm to themselves — or their company. As Jeff put it, people would rather make a decision with a lower chance of success if the “dealer” or “fate” beats them, rather than going with a higher chance of success that, if it fails, will mean they’ve made a “bad” decision.

Or to put it in Vegas terms: big risk, big reward.

There are no bad decisions — only ones informed by data

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Annie Summerall

Live from MarketingSherpa Summit 2017: Making your customer the hero of your campaign

April 11th, 2017
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Vegas is in the middle of the Mojave Desert of Nevada, and yet you can move from Venice, to New York and over to Paris in 10 minutes.

MarketingSherpa Summit week is the one time every year that we get to bring the MarketingSherpa community together in the middle of Las Vegas to study (and toast to, at the Summit Party) customer-first marketing.

During the day, we work out of the beautiful Aria hotel, and at night, walk out onto the strip past famous structures like the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace and the Paris Hotel, and it’s easy to see that there is no place else like it. In this morning’s Intro session, Daniel Burstein, Summit Co-host and Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, even spoke about the customer-centric thought process behind having penguins in the Flamingo hotel, thriving in the most unlikely of environments.

These structures, sights and scenes make Vegas one of the most popular and attractive destinations in the country. But how many of us think about the men and women who actually make Vegas what it is, by building (and re-building) the glorious hotels that shape the Strip.

Most don’t notice or consider the construction industry at all unless it’s somehow causing an inconvenience or delay in our day. No one glides over bridges and overpasses and thinks about how advanced new infrastructure is.

To change that perspective, construction software company HCSS decided to take on the challenge of getting the men and women that work in construction the recognition they deserve.

Dan Briscoe, Vice President of Marketing, HCSS, spoke today in his Best-in-Show Awards session on how, as marketers, they had to “get over” themselves in order to truly be customer-first.

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Elevating their customers would translate into elevating the industry, and as a result, the company.

Dan and his team developed the “I Build America” campaign, which focused on improving the image of the construction industry, infusing the people who work in it with pride and attracting a new generation of talent.

How did they do it?

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Courtney Eckerle

Measuring the Effectiveness of Social Media Campaigns in B2B for Internal and External Results

April 5th, 2017
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“You have to find something that you can measure,” said Brian MacDonald, Senior Manager of Digital Marketing, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, in the MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 Media Center.

“Fortunately for us, in the software business one of the big things that we can measure, especially for the audience I usually go after, is all about them trying software,” he said.

MacDonald explains that if someone downloads a software trial, that tells the team where the prospect is in the buying cycle: “We know that if they’re going to download something, they’re probably pretty serious about it.”

Brian and his team were able to actually link trial downloads people had made to actual social media campaigns that they had run.

“That was really the key — finding the call to action that’s linked to something that’s gated, and we know that they took action,” he said.

By including downloads at key social media touchpoints, Brian and his team were able to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns.

Aside from just metrics, it was also vital that Brian and his team keep up a continuous feedback loop with customers.

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Daniel Burstein

Customer-First Marketing Research: 4 key data points from research with 2,400 consumers

March 31st, 2017
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All marketers should have three key questions in their head at all times. What do consumers really think about your business practices? What marketing approaches can I use to tell them about our business? And where do they want to hear these messages (i.e. channel preferences)?

To help you get an answer to these questions, we conducted research with 2,400 U.S. consumers, sampled to reflect a close match to the U.S. population’s demographics. But we also split them into satisfied and unsatisfied customers to understand how these marketing and business behaviors affect customer satisfaction, especially taking a customer-first marketing approach to all of these business decisions.

We published what we discovered in a 54-page free report filled with oodles of data for the customer-first, data-driven marketer.

But that’s much too much to dive into on a Friday.

So here are some snack-size, social media-friendly (wink, wink) videos to provide you some quick consumer insights from the study.

But first, here’s a little more background about the research.

And now a look at a few of our discoveries…

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Courtney Eckerle

Advice on How to Make the Case for a Customer-centric Transformation

March 27th, 2017
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Customer-centric isn’t just a buzzword to us — those marketing efforts are the stories that we love to tell at MarketingSherpa. From our case studies to our data, we want to give you everything you need to keep your customer foremost in your marketing efforts.

In October 2016, we surveyed two groups of 1,200 about customer-first marketing. We asked one group 50 questions about the business, marketing and channel practices that make them highly satisfied with a company. We asked the other group similar questions about what makes them highly unsatisfied with a company.

We provided Sarah Esterman, Lifecycle Marketing Manager, Simple.com, and Jamey Bainer, Strategy and Planning Director, Pacific, with two of the charts created using that data, which asked 1,200 highly satisfied customers: “Thinking about the marketing of [the company they were highly satisfied with] which of the following is true about your experience? Select all that apply.”

Chart 1-Customer-First-Research-Study

(click image to enlarge)

The same question was asked of 1,200 highly unsatisfied customers — with a very different result:

Chart 2-Customer-First-Research-Study

(click image to enlarge)

Armed with that information, we asked Sarah and Jamey five questions about the trials, tribulations and tips for implementing customer-first marketing.

Editor’s Note: Sarah Esterman is speaking at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017, and Jamey Bainer participated in the sponsored Summit content “Inside the Industry.”

Q: What are some arguments marketers can use to push for customer-centricity in their organizations?

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