Austin McCraw

Marketing Strategy: What is your “Only Factor”?

October 17th, 2014

Warning: I am about to offend someone. It could be you. It might not be. Either way, I wouldn’t continue reading unless you’re up for having your notion of marketing challenged and you have the time to leave a ranting blog comment — just in case you end up feeling the need to.

Let’s talk about marketing strategy for a moment.

That’s right. Put down your proverbial to-do list, and let’s talk about the force behind the success (or failure) of all your marketing campaigns — your value proposition.

A good value proposition is the key to true sustainable competitive advantage, and without one, you are simply just pushing pixels around, hoping something will stick. However, a good value proposition must have what we call an “only factor.”

There has to be at least one way in which you can say about your product, we are the “only.”

You can match your competitors in many ways, but in at least one way, you must excel. If you do not have this “only” factor, then you are, as Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, says, “simply surviving on pockets of ignorance.”

Now, customer ignorance was once a decent way to make a living (when I say “decent,” I’m using it in the old snake-oil sense of the word). Today, thanks to the internet, your customer can learn everything about you and your competition in about three mouse clicks. As information abounds, ignorance decreases.

Our marketing exists in a world where there are very few pockets of ignorance. In a world like that, a true “only factor” is the only way to survive.

If I haven’t offended you yet, I’m about to provide two more opportunities.

 

Don’t blame the “crowded market”

When teaching these concepts, I often get asked, “What about crowded markets?”

First, I generally ask a group of marketers to raise their hands (gutsy move, I know) if they are currently not working in a crowded market. You want to take a guess at how many hands get raised?

There are no good markets that aren’t crowded. I haven’t met a marketer yet who feels like their market isn’t crowded (and if there is, please introduce yourself to me). We all like to talk about how our market is so crowded, when the reality is that there are few, if any, markets that aren’t crowded.

The point is that opportunities draw crowds. If there is any inkling of an opportunity in your market, it may only be a matter of time, but it will become crowded.

Also, “crowd” is a relative term.

Meaning, the sense of crowding is completely dependent on the available space. Three’s a crowd in the back of a cab — but not so much on a football field. It all depends on the size of your market, and for many niche markets, it only takes a couple competitors to make a crowd.

Here’s the point: Dealing with a “crowd” is a basic experience of marketing. It is not unique. It does not release the marketer from needing a forceful value proposition. If anything, it makes it more necessary.

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Andrea Johnson

How Seamless Email Turns Ecommerce Prospects into Buyers

October 14th, 2014

Only 2.6% of the people browsing an ecommerce site actually buy during that visit, but, according to Charles Nicholls, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to eventually make a purchase.

Charles is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for SeeWhy, a provider of cloud-based behavioral target marketing. He discussed what it takes to transform browsers into buyers with Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, at the 2014 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.

Charles exhorted marketers to rethink the channel mindset and optimizing websites for a single session, and instead, think about optimizing the entire buying process. The key, he explained, is seamless use of email across desktops, tablets and smartphones.

Why? Customers may use all of these devices before finally making a purchase.

Consider this: SeeWhy has been tracking smart phone conversions, and, according to Charles, smartphones are outpacing tablets, which have become a desktop substitute. Also, 67% of smartphone conversions are done via email.

Watch the video below to learn about the importance of seamless emailing:

  Read more…

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Categories: Ecommerce Eretail Tags: , , ,

Jessica Lorenz

Email Data Hygiene: When you know it’s time to break up

October 10th, 2014

I still get emails to the email address I created in middle school. This was back when having cutsie screen names was awesome, DSL was the latest and selecting your Top 8 on MySpace was the most stressful part of the week.

Although I haven’t sent or opened an email in that account for probably 10 years, the emails still come through.

It had been a while since I had actually gone to that inbox, though I needed to reset my password before I was even able to scroll through the pages upon pages of unread mail. Not one of them was a personal email. As I kept going through pages years back, I noticed that they’re all marketing emails – often from the same few companies.

I have not engaged after nearly a decade of sends. I have not read a single subject line. I have not opened any emails. I have not clicked any calls-to-action. Yet these companies keep sending.

How is marketing to that email address helping the marketers’ campaigns (other than contributing to list bloat)?

 

The importance of list hygiene

At Email Summit 2014 in Las Vegas, Laura Mihai, Email Marketing Specialist, 3M Canada, spoke on the integration of list cleansing as a regular element of its email marketing campaigns.

Laura opened her session by reflecting on a time when deliverability rates started to affect campaigns.

“We really wanted to focus on eliminating those who don’t engage with our communications,” explained Laura. The team at 3M Canada had the idea of running a campaign with the incentive of a contest to stay on the list and update contact information.

Using this campaign, the team trimmed their list by an impressive 64%. Now, they can be in touch with people who want to engage with them.

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Daniel Burstein

Content Marketing: Harvard Business School’s Michael Norton discusses surprising consumer behavior research

October 7th, 2014

I am a skeptic. Maybe it’s from my career in marketing, advertising and editorial content, which involves me constantly receiving PR pitches. Maybe I was born that way. Or maybe I’m just your average American consumer.

Whatever the cause, it’s rare for me to have a head-smacking epiphany, but here’s one I want to share with you:

 

People don’t want fast

This subhead likely seems counterintuitive (or perhaps just plain wrong) to you.

After all, if you’ve ever been in traffic, or in a long line at a fast food restaurant, or anywhere in America for the past 30 years, you know – people are impatient.

As Louis C.K. says in his very funny bit about people who don’t appreciate how amazing smartphone technology is, “I never saw a person going, ‘Look at what my phone can do!’ Nobody does that. They all go, ‘This ******* thing sucks. I can’t get it to … ’  Give it a second, would ya? Could ya give it a second? It’s going to space, could you give it a second to get back from space? Is the speed of light too slow for you?”

Even when I search Louis C.K on Google, the search engine brags that is has returned 45,700,000 results in 0.61 seconds.

Wow. The entirety of human knowledge for millennia is at our fingertips and can be delivered within milliseconds, and yet, as Louis so accurately points out, most of your customers do not appreciate it.

Why? More importantly, how can you as a marketer use this lesson to communicate the value of your own products?

 

They want hard work (on their behalf)

This is where Michael Norton’s research gets very interesting for marketers (and, really, all humans). Michael is an associate professor at Harvard, and during his Web Optimization Summit featured session — “Trust Through Transparency” — he showed that, in many cases, people place a higher value on understanding the work involved to create a product or service than they do on sheer speed.

After he got off stage, and right before hopping on the train back to Harvard, Michael was gracious enough to let me pull him aside and ask a few questions to help marketers use his research to better communicate the value of their products and services.

We discussed:

  • How showing the work involved in creating content (for example, email list signup) can make that content more valuable to customers
  • How to make sure customers understand the complexity behind seemingly simple services
  • The power of storytelling

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Daniel Beulah

Do You Know How to Take Advantage of Globalization with Your Marketing?

October 3rd, 2014

The world is getting faster.

In the past few years, the term globalization has been used to describe an unprecedented cultural, economic and political phenomenon that has fundamentally changed the world.

With faster intercontinental travel and almost instantaneous communication technologies, societies, economies and individuals have become more interdependent than ever before.

As globalization spreads more wealth from developed nations and into developing ones, a new global middle class has risen with an even greater desire to consume than 1950s America. According to Internetworldstats.com, the amount of people who have access to the internet has increased 676.32% in the last 14 years. Most of that growth occurred in the continents of Africa and Asia.

So what does that mean to a 21st century marketer?

It means that a taxi driver in Senegal can watch a Yankees game, purchase Yankees related merchandise and spread the Yankees brand to a whole new generation of consumers.

Now imagine if you could deliberately break into this new emerging market.

What would you do? How would you connect with your new potential customers and increase your brand awareness at the same time?

Most companies do it by creating and promoting culturally specific products that vary depending on the region. McDonalds is great at this. Ever heard of the Teriyaki McBurger?

Teriyaki_McBurger

 

It’s a product exclusive to its Japanese market and one of McDonalds Japan’s biggest sellers.

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Andrea Johnson

How a B2B Marketing Team Used Zombies to Win Over the C-Suite

September 30th, 2014

When Christine Nurnberger joined SunGard Availability Services in 2012, Marketing and Sales were clearly out of alignment. Marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline was less than 3%, even though they executed more than 1,100 marketing tactics over the previous fiscal year.

By the end of 2013, that relationship had shifted dramatically. Marketing’s contribution to new revenue skyrocketed to 40% with the average deal size tripling.

At MarketingsherpaEmail Summit 2014, Christine revealed her secret to success: smart content marketing built on intense research, analysis and creativity. It culminated with chief technology officers preparing for the zombie apocalypse and eager to engage SunGard.

In the video clip below, Christine outlines setting the stage for that success with a two-stage direct mail pilot, targeting 56 CTOs in the later stages of the buying cycle:

  • Part one was a direct-mail piece made up of a  shadow box with a thumb drive, which included a personalized video announcing that, in the coming days, they would receive everything they needed to survive a zombie apocalypse.
  • Part two was a zombie apocalypse survival kit — a backpack that included a copy of World War Z, two tickets to the movie and “zombie repellant,” aka silly string.

 

The response blew the sales team away.

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Categories: B2B Marketing, Sales Lead Generation Tags: , , , , ,

David Kirkpatrick

Lead Generation: How to build your own list

September 26th, 2014

Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter case study — “Lead Generation: Content and email combine for high-quality list building” — covered an effort by cloud replication and disaster recovery startup company, CloudEndure. The overall basis of the campaign was a process created by CloudEndure’s Vice President of Marketing, Ramel Levin, before he joined the startup. This process Ramel called BYOL, or “build your own list.”

The case study features some of the steps involved in Ramel’s lead gen idea, but since he developed it for a company he worked for before joining CloudEndure, the exact steps he took in putting the process together were not part of the case study.

For today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, I wanted to provide more detail on how Ramel created his BYOL concept.

Ramel said he was in a business setting speaking with a startup company that did website translations when the BYOL idea came to him.

“I was asking them, ‘How do you generate leads for websites that need translations?’ He (one of the employees at the startup) started telling me about all the different ways he was doing it, and he talked about the traditional ways of doing email blasts, going to conferences and doing advertising for pay-per-lead and PPC,” Ramel said.

 

One method for building high-quality lists

After a bit of thought, Ramel decided that building a list of higher-quality leads would be more effective for this company, and here is the process he developed to do just that.

 

Step #1: Identify the first stage of target companies

Ramel stated, “So I told him, ‘How about doing the following? How about scanning the top one million websites, based on Alexa or Quantcast, or any other ranking service … and find out how many of those websites have only one language.”

He said, for example, scan the top sites in Germany, and make sure they only have pages in the local language. If the company is in the United States, its website only features pages in English.

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Erin Hogg

Email Personalization: Craft forms with purpose

September 23rd, 2014

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Eventful, an online retailer of concert and event tickets, presented how it personalized and segmented its email campaigns to achieve a 66% increase in purchases.

To deliver a personalized email experience to its 21 million subscribers, Eventful’s Paul Ramirez and Ryan Blomberg created a recommendation engine that provided alerts about performers and events their subscribers wanted to hear about, focusing especially when a performer of interest was coming to their town.

You can watch their full presentation to see how the team designed and implemented this revolutionary technology, but for this blog post, we wanted to showcase how to provide a more one-on-one experience when you don’t have a team of engineers to design an entirely new technology for your company, such as Eventful had for its recommendation engine.

In this video, Pamela Jesseau, Senior Director, Marketing, MECLABS, and the Eventful team discuss how to craft forms in your email sign-up process and profile setup that will let your customers tell you more about themselves.

Ultimately, the goal is to use this information to craft a personalized and segmented email experience for your subscribers, minus the fancy (and oftentimes expensive) technology.

 

You’ll see two great examples of effectively using forms to gather insightful knowledge about your customers as well as how to fit your registration form into the customer journey.

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Allison Banko

Red Bull Media House’s Advice for Successful Content Marketing

September 19th, 2014

Red Bull is running circles around every other name in the content marketing game.

Currently, the energy drink company has its wings dipped in a whole gamut of media channels — we’re talking digital, mobile, TV, print and music. People — millions of people — are actually consuming this content. (What a concept, right?)

But audiences aren’t tuning in because the company is marketing its energy drink. In fact, Red Bull continues to rise above the rest in content marketing by doing somewhat of the opposite. The company earned its spot on the content marketing throne by pushing its product to the side and its audience to the front in an extreme way.

Instead of a skinny aluminum can, Red Bull focuses its content on the sports, culture and lifestyle of its adventurous drinkers. In 2007, the company even launched Red Bull Media House — its very own media company that develops all of the company’s content pieces and manages its social media channels. 

Red Bull Media House Website

 

Some of the media house’s highlights? Take a look at Red Bull’s YouTube page (if you haven’t already as one of its 3.7 million subscribers). These sports action videos have views that rank in the thousands — some in the millions.

On the day this blog post was published, Danny MacAskill — “Way Back Home” had 32,988,764 views:

 

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Categories: Consumer Marketing Tags: , , , ,

David Kirkpatrick

Email Marketing: Taking advantage of responsive design [Video]

September 16th, 2014

If your experience is anything like the typical email marketer in 2014, a growing portion (possibly a very large percentage) of your list is opening email on a mobile device — maybe a tablet or, more likely, one of the many smartphones out there.

To fully reach and engage that audience, you can either design and build custom emails for every single platform your audience is using …

Or, to make things a bit simpler on the design and execution end of things, take the responsive design plunge for all your email campaigns to ensure your sends have the best look, feel and, more importantly, clickability on any mobile (or non-mobile) platform your recipients use.

To address this issue, watch this excerpt from a panel discussion at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014:

 

This excerpt features Pamela Jesseau, Senior Director of Marketing, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa); Amy Carpenter, Digital Marketing Team Leader, Whole Foods Market; and Ewa Badaruk, Global eCRM Marketing Manager, adidas Group.

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