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Customer Testimonials: 3 ways to leverage your customers to help tell your product’s story

April 28th, 2016 No comments

U.S. media ad spending will hit $200 billion in 2016, according to eMarketer. And yet, when we asked 2,021 customers how they discover new products, advertising was the fifth most popular response with offline and online advertising tied for fifth with 27% of responses.

“In-store browsing” was the most popular (59%), and the focus of today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post — “word of mouth from friends, family, colleagues” — was a close second at 57%.

However, when we asked marketers how they actually helped customers learn about products, there was a bit of a disconnect from customer preferences. Online advertising was the most frequently used tactic (60%), while “encouraging word of mouth” was only the fifth most popular tactic (chosen by 45% of marketers).

 

How can you increase word of mouth for your products and services?

Be awesome.

This will generate organic referrals at the highest rate.

But a deeper question is more applicable to marketers — how can you leverage word of mouth in your marketing to increase conversion?

Here are three ideas for your campaigns.

 

Idea #1. Help, not hype

“My experience with Summit has just been seamless. I got the opportunity to submit some different proud moments for marketing and my team’s successes. And then having the opportunity to be selected and the opportunity to be with such a prestigious organization was very flattering. Then I was very, very prepared every step of the way. I had a dedicated team that was sending me updates, giving me clear deadlines, supporting me along the way — just made it incredibly professional and certainly best in class.”

That quote is from Cambria Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service, Door to Door Organics, from a video promoting the MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 Call for Speakers.

Now, we didn’t need to have Cambria in the video. I could have told you how amazing it is to be a speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. How you’ll have your name up in lights. You will be fawned over by an adoring crowd of marketers. And, most importantly, you may even get the distinct honor and privilege of working directly with me for several months — a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you will never forget — as I help you shape your story before we discuss it on stage.

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Content Marketing: How to help subject matter experts come up with blog topics

April 19th, 2016 Comments off

Let’s say you’re an intrepid marketer at a company. You’ve read about the power of inbound marketing, have started your company’s blog, and … now what? How do you get these subject matter experts (SMEs) to blog? And what should they blog about?

Or perhaps you have an established content marketing blog — you’ve been going for years. But your SMEs are running out of ideas for blog topics. What should you do?

Keep reading (and then send your SMEs this blog post).

 

The analogy

Photo: Cirofono

Photo: Cirofono

Now that we’ve established the problem, let’s look to an analogy laced with a pop reference to help give you an approach to solve it.

When George and Jerry are pitching the idea of the “show about nothing” to NBC executives on “Seinfeld,” George asks …

George: What did you do today?
NBC Exec: I got up and came to work.
George: There’s a show! That’s a show.
NBC Exec: How is that a show?


The Seinfeld Method

If your SMEs don’t think they have anything helpful to blog about for your audience, ask them, “What did you do today?”

Their day-to-day role likely spurs many topics that would benefit your ideal customer but are hidden in the four walls of your company. In fact, are you read this blog post, your SMEs are probably:

Almost everything done in their job is content.

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Categories: Content Marketing Tags:

Social Media Marketing: Online organic retailer grows following 600% in 18 months

April 8th, 2016 No comments

“Your brand is not what you say it is, but what your customers say it is.”

Or so goes the old advertising maxim.

If we were to update that to modern times, we might add, “And you can discover what they’re saying about your brand on social media.”

When Cambria Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing, Door to Door Organics, sat down for an interview at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 with Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, she shared that old advertising maxim along with her team’s journey on social media — from a customer service channel to a unified, proactive, brand-building strategy.

 

Here are four key lessons from Cambria’s interview …

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How Companies Fail, and Why the Customer Always Wins in the End

March 11th, 2016 No comments

There are two ways for a business to be successful in the short term.

Option 1 is to do anything you can to generate revenue. Sometimes it’s something small like sending that one extra promotional email — it will get unsubscribes, sure, but at least it will push your numbers up this quarter. Or it might be something huge like holding a monopoly position in the marketplace. It could even be slowly making the product just a little bit worse to boost margins.

Option 2 is to relentlessly serve customers better than your competitors. Those are the case studies and stories we share on MarketingSherpa. Likewise, you see this in Zappos walking away from drop shipping, even though it produced 25% of its revenue. Or Optum reorganizing its marketing team around educating the customer, instead of one-and-done marketing techniques that attempted to generate leads but didn’t serve the customer.

Optum's consumer resource center

 

And, frankly, most companies are a combination of the two. But every day, with every decision you make as a marketer, you decide where on the spectrum your company lies. Will you push your company closer to the customer or farther away?

Of course, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Let’s take a look at why customer-first marketing is so important, and why it’s so hard.

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Online Advertising: Tips based on The Leading Hotels of the World’s campaigns

January 26th, 2016 No comments

Unlike many hotel brands that strive for a consistent look and feel, part of the value proposition of The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW), a hospitality consortium with 425 hotels worldwide, is that each hotel is unique. From the fabled King David Hotel in Jerusalem to The Ritz Hotel in London (featured in the film “Notting Hill”), customers have a plethora of experiences to choose from.

With such a diverse offering, online advertising, content and customer journey challenges that face every brand loom especially large for LHW.

I sat down with Debbie Johnsen, Director of Interactive Marketing, The Leading Hotels of the World (and Adjunct Instructor at New York University teaching Integrated Marketing, Ecommerce Marketing and Web Analytics), to get some tips that might help you improve your marketing campaigns.

“It’s key to understand your target audience. And for us, being a luxury brand, we’re looking for people [with] higher income, higher propensity to travel, people who travel more frequently [and] are looking for unique experiences,” Debbie said.

We discussed paid search, travel-specific Meta Search Networks, A/B testing, attribution modeling, the customer journey, content and customer reviews in this conversation.

 

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Email Marketing: Ideas and inspiration from 11 years of award-winning campaigns

January 12th, 2016 1 comment

The challenges of today scream at you. How can I increase sales? Get more people to subscribe to my opt-in list? Ensure my emails end up in the inbox? What is the next technology to keep up with?

Sometimes it’s helpful to take a look back to see the future more clearly. Getting a sense of where we have been as email marketers helps us to better understand where we’re going. To quote Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

To help you do that, and find inspiration and ideas for your current email campaigns, let’s take a look back through the archives of the MarketingSherpa Email Awards.

 

Idea #1: Email is not a one-way communication medium (from 2006)

When email marketers talk about engagement, we’re typically talking about metrics, analytics, data — numbers like clickthrough or read rate.

But don’t overlook human interaction as well. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center did more than ask people to click in its Wildlife Watch newsletter. For example, the 1,800-acre natural wildlife conservation center asked readers to name a new baby giraffe.

Wildlife Watch email

 

Because of this very human (and giraffe) form of engagement, traditional engagement metrics also performed well, with the newsletter getting average open rates of 35 to 40 percent and clickthrough rate of 16 to 20 percent of those received.

Learn more from the award-winning email marketers of 2006 — Winners included Blockbuster, Vanguard and Canadian Blood Services.

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Using the Science of Habit Formation in Customer-First Marketing (interview with Charles Duhigg)

December 11th, 2015 No comments

As much as 45 percent of what customers do every day is habitual. That is just one interesting piece of research we shared in Tuesday’s MarketingSherpa blog post, which was part one of my interview with Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times and author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.

In today’s blog post, we share part two from the interview. You’ll learn about the reward schedule for customers, conducting research that informs effective writing and optimizing the habits in your day-to-day life, along with a question that was really nagging me — can you leverage the science of habit and still be an ethical, customer-first marketer?

If you’re interested in learning more about Charles’s research, we’re giving away a copy of his book in this week’s MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway (enter by December 13 for a chance to win) and Charles will also be a featured speaker at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 in Las Vegas.

 

Understanding the reward schedule for customers

MarketingSherpa: So, in the book, and what you’re talking about, you talk about the ways that brands or marketers influence customers to create habits essentially like, hey, marketing to have milk with cookies, or what have you, or Febreze. Have you seen any examples of customer habits actually influencing the brand? So working vice-a-versa or a smart brand out there that’s doing some research and really sees what natural customer habits are and taps into them as opposed to creating them?

Charles: Oh yeah! Absolutely, all the time. I mean, one of my favorite examples of this is video games. Right? When a video game designer designs a new game, the first thing that they decide upon is what the reward schedule is. What that reward schedule is, is really looking at when people play games, when do they expect to get some type of thing that makes the playing continue to feel kind of fun, when you get a reward that you can anticipate, when you get a reward that you don’t anticipate.

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Marketing Research: 45% of consumer behavior is habitual (interview with Charles Duhigg)

December 8th, 2015 No comments

Let’s pretend for a second you are an alien from outer space studying economics. You’re presented with these two options:

  • Option A: People can make a cup of coffee for 16 to 18 cents in the comfort of their home.
  • Option B: They can haul themselves out of bed earlier, stop at Starbucks and pay two … three … four … five dollars for a cup of coffee.

As a rational alien studying economics, you would know that people will certainly choose Option A.

Except, as we all know, people don’t. They choose Option B. Not everybody, of course. But enough people to generate $16.447 billion in revenue for Starbucks. So many people, in fact, that you must look at this purchase decision — which we’ve become so accustomed to being a part of daily life — as an alien economist to even notice that it’s not a rational economic decision every time people make that purchase.

 

Why people make repeated, economically irrational decisions

So why do people act this way? Because they are no longer making rational economic decisions; rather, they are on autopilot following automated habits. Starbucks’ marketing department has helped turn a simple cup of coffee into a cheap luxury habit.

It’s not just Starbucks, of course. It’s the daily newspaper on your driveway. Movie night. And even, according to Charles Duhigg, the mundane act of brushing your teeth.

Read more…

Categories: Marketing Tags: ,

Social Media Marketing: How an online diamond retailer got 6 million Vine loops in one year

December 4th, 2015 No comments

When you think of social media marketing, you may think of the behemoth — Facebook. Sure, it has almost 1.5 billion monthly active users, but where there is a lot of sound, there is a lot of noise. It is difficult to get your message heard.

I interviewed Danny Gavin, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Brian Gavin Diamonds, about using emerging social media platforms to create brand awareness.

 

Here are a few lessons I learned from our conversation.

 

Focus on branding, not selling

Since many emerging platforms are, well, emerging, there hasn’t been a lot of commerce on them yet. Most social platforms focus first on building an audience, and only later on actually monetizing that audience.

New social platforms tend to have a loyal, niche audience that is looking for authentic, organic conversations and wary of the nefarious effects of commercialization. So whatever content you create, make sure it rings true with what the social platform is known for.

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Social Media Marketing: When your product delights your customers, customers will help sell it

October 16th, 2015 No comments

Where does social media success begin? In many cases, it begins well off of an online platform like Facebook or Twitter. It begins with a valuable product.

Cambria Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing, Door to Door Organics, sat down with me to discuss the natural and organic grocery company that sells entirely through ecommerce. She shared how it started with a valuable product that customers loved and built off that base to grow its social media fans more than 600% in less than 18 months.


Start by producing share-worthy products

“We were really proud of getting our hands on the best organic produce. We weren’t necessarily looked at or aspiring to become this strong ecommerce player with a really strong technology savvy. And what has grown, being a pure ecommerce player, is our customers were finding us on social media,” Cambria said.

The product itself had enough appeal that it spurred a passionate base audience organically promoting it to friends, family and connections on social media.

“We had organic visuals that were popping up on Instagram and Facebook before we even had a presence on Instagram — just our customers taking photos of their box and of their delivery,” she said.

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