Book – Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing

experiences.pngExcellent book!  The authors suggest a somewhat different view on content marketing – an experience-based approach.  A concentration on the experience itself as the “product” is the 7th era of marketing.  The content marketing in this era should become an additional experience for the customer, independent from the product or service the company provides.

As experiences, in general, become more and more important for new generations, entrepreneurs take notice.  An interesting example of a pure “experiences” business: https://www.ifonly.com/

The business “sells” experiences and generates donations to different causes at the same time.  The business is a typical platform, which connects “experience producers” with “experience consumers” and does not own any “experiences inventory” itself.

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The future: share of voice and share of wallet will change to the “share of experience.”

Brands can pay for rising above the noise, but they can not pay for showing experiential value for the customer – this value needs to be carefully designed.

Instead of four Ps of marketing, the authors suggest a new approach: SAVE

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  • There is no correlation between a number of interactions a brand has with the customer and depth of relationships.
  • IT systems: consider them systems of engagement rather than systems of record. If a business can invest into systems of engagement, IT becomes a point of differentiation in the marketplace.
  • Practical approach to creation of experiences in the organization; ask for forgiveness rather than permission 😉
    • Content marketing center of excellence success: “it was important for us to position our content center of excellence and our team as nearly an extension of processes we already had in place”
    • “…they did not go to management to organize the group – they created a function and went to management to formalize it.”
    • Skunks Works issue – the team might fight for their project’s survival, which might be difficult to incorporate the project into the overall business.
  • Important – evaluate experiences instead of teams; encourage cooperation in the organization and inclusiveness.

How to allocate investment into content? 

  • content.PNGExpensive – low-risk content; inexpensive – high-risk content
  • Coca-Cola uses 70-20-10 approach:
    • 70% of efforts are allocated to the content, which has to be produced
    • 20% – slightly “out of the box”
    • 10% – high-risk creative content (this part is not as expensive as marketers think, but it takes more creative time to come up with the content)

Story mapping:

  • why.PNGWhy (content mission) – value we deliver to the audience; who will receive the value and why would they care; how this initiative aligns with the larger story of the brand; how this experience will be different from what is available in the marketplace of ideas
  • What (what does the success look like and when is it going to be achieved) – differentiate the success of the initiative and the mission of the business – how the initiative will integrate with other parts of the business
  • How (proposed map) – how do we approach the initiative over time

Interesting CMO requirement to achieve alignment: when pitching an idea, the team is required to explain how the initiative will be cross-functional.  This requirement assures cross-functional buy-in in advance.

Four layers of customer experience focus:

  1. Awareness and introduction – lightweight tech, almost disposable – marketers will need to move fast and CIO should care less about this layer. (Flexible, portable, and disposable).
  2. Engagement and relationships  – as visitors become leads and opportunities, more data is needed to provide delightful experiences down the road.  Unified customer experience management solution is critical. (Engagement management – needs to interface with everything above and below)
  3. Intelligence and insight – after leads become customers, it is important to understand how needs of customers evolve.  The ultimate goal is to create brand evangelists.  Integration is the key.  CIO must work with CMO to understand which data is needed.  (Core data management – closely adheres to standards).
  4. Shared values and exceeded expectations

New marketing technology is “built to change.” 

Analytics: marketers often use metrics unrelated to business objectives.

  • More traffic – great!  …even if it happened because a negative comment went viral?
  • More time on site – great!  …even if a prospect cannot find the next step and conversions are down?
  • More likes on Facebook – great!  …even if liking the page is needed before customers can post comments how much they hate the company?

Analytics layers:

  • Primary indicators, goals (Example: increase MQLs by 10% in 6 months with only 5% budget increase – includes Objective > Timeframe > Constraint)
  • Secondary indicators – KPIs – progress toward primary goal – what helps us to improve the possibility of achieving goals (Example: unqualified leads, cost per lead, downloads, seminar attendees, etc.)
  • User indicators – data points we collect on daily basis, which help us to improve secondary indicators (Twitter followers, page views, etc.)

This approach does not require reporting secondary indicators; this can allow teams to concentrate on reaching goals through initiatives, which might reduce site traffic, for example.

An important objective is to de-silo the measurement so different groups do not compete with one another for audience attention.  Example: an insurance company team launched a blog and asked a website team to place a prominent button on the home page of the company site.  Website team said “no” as blog traffic won’t be counted as site traffic, and web team was measured on site activity.  The blog team asked social media team to promote the blog; the social team also said “no.”  Social media team was measured on engagement, and cute pictures of cats were receiving over 1,000 likes, while insurance articles could generate less than 10.

  • A “channel” team should be responsible for an “audience development” instead of a channel.
  • Content-driven experiences are not measured separately – they are part of marketing strategy.
  • You don’t measure channel – you don’t measure how many leads telephone produced…  it is just a part of the whole program called “sales.”  Content is the part of the entire program.  But – you should examine content contribution.”
  • “The objective of a blog can be the traffic to website – everything does not have to produce sales directly.”

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3 skill sets are common in companies succeeding in content marketing:

  • orchestrating events, not guiding journeys
  • meaning-driven, not data-driven
  • organizing for agility, not speed
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BMA – Fixing the Mid-Funnel

funnel.pngThe discussion focused on the mid-funnel – the “new problem child” for many marketing organizations.

Our environment:

  • 50% of marketers are compensated on generating pipeline
  • If prospects engage beyond MQL, they are more likely to become SQL
  • Natural resistance to engage with the company

How do most marketing organizations solve mid-funnel problem?  At this point, most organizations are either:

  • not doing anything at all or
  • not doing it very well
    • It is challenging to engage prospects; some marketers do it with low productivity, many struggling to accomplish anything

But..   how do we know that we have a mid-funnel problem?  We can look at how mid-funnel is working now: What is conversion rate?  What is sales process?

There is a small segment of marketers, who are unaware about their challenge – still concentrating on the top of the funnel.

“I can just crank out an e-book and drive engagement…”  What is important for mid-funnel?  Connection with sales.  Both speakers suggested integrated programs where general marketing tactics (email, webinars, etc.) are integrated with outbound calling. 

Example: start with the objective, then send an email and call to those who responded.

Example: target mid-funnel with an appointment-setting campaign.

New term (for me): multi-match – getting more responses out of a single lead.

How many touches are needed overall (email, etc. phone) – usually 7 – 13+

Which marketing tactics are effective in mid-funnel:

  • webinars
  • seminars
  • email
  • outbound calling

Product information is useful at this stage: “These guys love speeds and feeds…”  “I would send a copy to sales people to check what will resonate with the customer…”

Any specific recommendations for compressed sales cycles?  Outbound calling!

sales-marketing.PNGConnection with sales is critical.  How do you engage sales team?

“If I can get sales rep to accelerators (a level of revenue when the rep receives an increased commission), I am speaking to their wallet, which is next to their heart.”

Understand what sales priorities are.

“First, get prospects ‘on the buss,’ then, entertain them by marketing to their pain points…  make sure to speak in the customer language, so they are more likely to get to the next stop.”

Example: one rep wanted to connect with CIO of a major bank.  “Do you know that your CIO is on the board for boys and girls club of NYC?”  Rep sent one tailored email based on this information and received the reply.

“Up-level your marketing team to be more strategic!”  When you are talking with sales, talk in strategic way.

Valuable tip: “We do pre-recorded webinars…   we also pre-record Q&A at the end of the webinar, as it is much easier to manage – result is the same 🙂

BMA – Communicating Marketing’s Performance: The CMO Dashboard

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This insightful presentation included guidelines for creation of a useful dashboard and typical mistakes companies make at the point of dashboard planning and creation (plus examples!).

SiriusDecisions have a very clear approach to measurement in general: people and process first, data and technology second.  The fact that successful measurement organizations spend over 60% of their efforts on the social side of the process is incredibly insightful.

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Creation of a dashboard needs to start from business questions.  NetApp example represents the first step of dashboard development – a “dashboard” of business questions.

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At this point, every person in the industry is probably aware about “silly” irrelevant metrics, which, sometimes, find their way into documents designed to show business results.  Yes, number of “likes” is not a useful business metric.  However, there is another kind of irrelevant metrics, which are more difficult to detect.  These metrics might be quite beneficial for some organizations, but not others at a certain point. If the company’s goal is retention and the dashboard highlights acquisition of new logos, the metric is not relevant for the objective this company is trying to achieve.

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Other curious notes from the presentation:

  • CTR – “back up metric”Sirius.PNG
  • “Pictures worth a thousand spreadsheets”
  • Unfortunately, quite common issue: “it takes 60 hours to produce the report…  we do not have time to analyze the data…”
  • We serve more audiences than just sales, but we get sales myopia
  • “Do you spend 100% of your budget on demand?  No.  Then, why do you measure demand only?”
  • SNOS – shiny new object syndrome
  • Irrelevant metrics are not silly, they are not aligned with organizational objectives

Excellent presentation!

BMA – Artificial Intelligence for Customer-Centered Marketing

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As usually, a thought-provoking event with the main idea “think about an opportunity AI presents!”  We, marketers, often concentrate on shortcomings of current AI to help us do our jobs now, rather than explore the opportunities.

  • Connection of AI and marketing: AI may not need to be incorporated into marketing process itself; AI creates efficiency in production, which allows (requires?) more products to be sold.  Selling products is marketing job…
  • Chat bots are often owned by technology and used to improve web site navigation – it is an opportunity to engage with a customer and should be managed by marketing.
  • Very interesting approach to mobility overall from marketing perspective: “Your customer is talking to a car…  think about the opportunity!”  🙂

 

BMA – Content Marketing at Adobe

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This insightful event focused on content marketing in its broader sense.  This approach is both reasonable and refreshing.

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Interesting – expert content is more valuable that user reviews for purchase consideration. Though preference for expert content was known for years, comparison between expert content and user review is new (for me).

Opportunity outlined by the presenter: we need to create experts.  Now, demand generation is thought leadership.

Not all subject matter experts are good writers; pair good writers with SMEs.

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An unusual approach to “content” is Virgin America campaign to promote its First Class features.  What could be more boring?  Not quite…  A unique pair of sneakers including representation of first class amenities was offered on eBay.

Lyft grew out of a common passion point: feeling part of a community. The company launched a campaign called “Undercover Lyft,” featuring celebrity and local hero Lyft drivers who picked up unsuspecting customers. Through its campaign, Lyft made clear to customers that it understood and could deliver on the need for a sense of community.

Social-media-optimized videos:

  • Social videos work well on Twitter and Facebook, but not on YouTube and LinkedIn.
  • Keep videos to 45 seconds or less in length.
  • Captions are imperative, since 80 percent of viewers will watch without audio.
    Put targets on the audience you want to reach and money behind the posts.

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BMA – ABM Optimization

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As usually, the event started from lovely networking and proceeded to a very insightful conversation about ABM and everything related to the topic (from a marketer’s perspective, it pretty much everything 🙂 ).

Jamie posted Top 3 Takeaways on ABM Optimization after the event, which gives an excellent overview of the conversation.

…Duns & Bradstreet added that they see a data decline rate of 40% in one year. This tracks on par with my experience…

Other interesting points:

  • An issue to consider: who is the prospect and who is the customer?  Two different people in the same organization can “play both roles.”
  • Micro-campaigns for the same account (a play on “Demand Unit?”) – IBM Analytics or IBM Watson as separate segments to target, for example.
  • Even in a medium size company, the organization can have several operations groups, but nobody responsible for the entire process.  As a result, the database may not be cleaned in a decade…
  • Identification of a champion for the solution within an organization is critical.  However, the champion’s involvement needs to be carefully considered.  For example, a champion might do a webinar only for the company where he/she works, and only BU name can be used in promotion, rather thank the person’s name.
  • If sales are asked to select initial accounts for ABM, they often provide accounts, which they were not able to penetrate.  These accounts would not be the best start for the program; it is important to work with accounts, which already expressed some level of interest.
  • How to find champions?  The best source is a user conference.  Finding a champion on the acquisition side is more difficult, and requires close communication with sales.  When the champion is identified, ask “what do you need?”
  • box.PNGDM is a good way to catch attention in the world of electronic messaging.  One of arguments against the approach is remote work, but most people will eventually come to the office.  It is important to include a premium to get results.  People love receiving boxes 🙂
  • Successful tactic: Lunch and Learn.  Getting a list of potential attendees is easy by requesting a list with “dietary requirements.”

flip.PNGABM blog with presenter’s contributions  Flip My Funnel  Curious: the blog promotes “ABX Webinar series.”

Book – Winning Them Over

Winning.pngThe book compares management style of the past with current, more collaborative approach.  As we live (and work) in the era of persuasion, the book introduces persuasion techniques and gives insightful examples of the time (published 1998).

Interesting: the same techniques could be very helpful now as persuasion is the only technique available in cross-functional team environment.

Examples in the book are similar in spirit to other examples in business literature: very simple and clear messages, emotional appeal, and direct connection to “what is in it for me.”  Pictures (verbal and literal) and analogies are more effective than data in persuasion, though data is also needed for support.