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Archive for the ‘Metrics and Measurement’ Category

Brands: If You Want My Loyalty…

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

OK, I’ll try to make this rant – I mean, this post – short and sweet.  

Brands, if you want my loyalty, start using technology and stop pushing your cards on me! 

Honestly – in a world full chock full of technologies that have demonstrated capability  to make our consumer experiences better, it’s amazing to me how many times a day you can still ask me, “Do you have your <fill in the blank> card today?”, especially when my reply is often “No, sorry, I don’t.”

Please stop making me feel like I’ve failed you before I’ve even given you my order (and my money)!  You’re immediately making me feel uncomfortable, defensive, guilty, and, well… a lot less loyal.

You already use technology to record and retain plenty of information regarding me.  You already use technology to measure and analyze program results.  Now how about leveraging technology to improve the process at its most important point – interacting with your customers? 

I shouldn’t need to carry piles of plastic and paper punch cards in an already over-stuffed wallet to “prove” my loyalty.  You should be able to use technology to already know who I am, or at least provide a much more convenient, seamless way for me to identify myself.

Ever hear of the Web?  Email?  Social media?  Mobile apps?  Location based services?  Entire businesses dedicated to providing you with turn-key loyalty programs in a completely digital manner?  The list goes on and on.  You need to consider technology as a key component in every step of your program.  

Brands, it’s really not that hard.  From the customer perspective, loyalty programs should be…

…well-designed…

…intuitive…

…simple…

…seamless…

…convenient…

…rewarding…

…and…

PAPER AND PLASTIC FREE.

Anybody else out there feeling the same way?

– Jim S.

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Add Measurement But Don’t Sacrifice Innovation

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

The tough state of our economy has had a profound impact on all aspects of business.  Most corporate budget areas are being challenged, threatened, and outright slashed, including marketing.  Gone are the days where great, innovative marketing ideas and a gut feel were enough to justify budget.  Now, marketing – especially in all of its digital forms – has moved into the crosshairs of corporate scrutiny, and the demands to measure its effectiveness are increasing.    

Indeed, whether via the web, through social media, mobile, or other platforms, digital marketing does present ample opportunities to be measured.    As I’ve preached from the measurement pulpit myself in prior blog posts, there are far too many good analytical, listening, and monitoring tools & resources for us to ignore in the digital space.  It absolutely makes sense to try to measure and monitor results wherever possible. 

However, instead of adding measurement to a balanced “tech marketing blender” mix that already includes a healthy amount of innovation, I’m now feeling like measurement is often being added at the expense of innovation.  In many cases this is causing us to miss out on the huge opportunities for growth and other benefits that innovation can provide. 

In my opinion, there are simply too many things that innovation and creative ideas do for a brand that are not immediately measurable, but ultimately provide longer-term benefits.  There are also too many new digital marketing channels and tools with demonstrated potential out there that are begging to be explored.  This exploration requires experimentation and discovery that often defy measurement (and yes, sometimes logic, too).  As important as measurement has become in the digital marketing world, it is equally important not to sacrifice innovation and all that it offers.  If we do, we’ll ultimately end up measuring inferior results.

What do you think about this?  Do you feel that the pendulum has now swung so far to the side of measurement that any reasonable sense of digital marketing innovation and creativity has been lost?  Are we still giving ourselves enough opportunity to explore, experiment, and discover new and better ways to reach audiences?  As always, I’d love to know your thoughts…

 – Jim S.

Do we jump into SEO and SEM too soon?

October 5, 2009 4 comments

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The value of web site search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) is indisputable.  It has been proven time and time again that businesses can realize a greater ROI with web sites that are well optimized and marketed than ones that are not.  As marketers, we have more great resources available to us than ever before to help our clients achieve SEO and SEM success, in the form of web sites, software, tools, blogs, books, associations, and solution providers. 

Admittedly, given all of its benefits, it is a sin to not consider SEO and SEM at all.  However, in our zeal to wring the most value out of our clients’ web sites, are we often guilty of going too far the other way and jumping right into SEO and SEM activities too soon?  Should we be trying harder to first understand our clients’ overall business objectives, target markets and customer demographics?  It seems that if we do a good job of this up front, it will not only help us make our SEO/SEM efforts for our clients even more effective, it will help us to determine how much investment we should really be putting into SEO/SEM for them, period.

To me, some very basic “who”, ”what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “how” types of questions are the best way to get this type of dialog started.  Here are just a few examples of the types of questions we should be asking clients for their consideration: 

 

Who…

Who is typically looking for your company’s product or service?  Who is it that you really want to reach?  Are these the same or different audiences?

What…

What is your desired outcome when potential customers find you?  To sell them something immediately?  To qualify their needs in a consultative manner?  To service them?  To educate and/or entertain them?  

Where…

Where are your potential customers located?  Where are you located?  Does location even matter with your particular business and desired clientele?  

When…

When will people be looking for you?  Will it be seasonal or year round?  At particular points in the sales cycle or purchasing funnel?  When they have an immediate problem, or when they have a long-term RFP?

Why…

Why do people need your product or service?  As a commodity?  Necessity?  Luxury?  Why might potential customers likely choose you over your competitors?  

How…

How do potential customers most often encounter your business?  Via the web and social media?  Through print ads?  At live events, conferences, or meetings?  Via signage on your store, trucks, or delivery vehicles?

 

The above list of questions is by no means exhaustive, but it gives you an idea on how a client’s answers can dramatically affect the scope, direction, and volume of your SEO and SEM efforts for them.  If you can suggest other additional important question, or better yet, point out an existing comprehensive source of these “pre” SEO and SEM considerations, please share the wealth!

In the meantime, do you agree that we sometimes jump into SEO and SEM too soon?  Or are we actually doing OK in understanding our clients’ businesses, target markets and customer demographics first?  Should we look at amending, or perhaps revamping, the SEO and SEM qualification process?    

I’d love nothing more than to see a range of SEO/SEM providers, business owners, customers, and industry techies chime in on this topic.

– Jim S.

Do we fear measuring Social Media?

September 9, 2009 3 comments

FearI smell fear.  

In spite of overwhelming evidence of its impact on people’s perceptions and opinions, as well as numerous examples of its prowess as an effective marketing tool, it sure seems like there are still too many marketers with a real fear of measuring social media. 

OK, I’ll admit that fear is not the only reason.  Far from it, there are several other reasons that we don’t measure. 

Regardless, this lack of measurement is preventing us from demonstrating the real value social media brings, and it may ultimately slow its adoption rate in the corporate marketing world. 

Please understand that I’m not suggesting that we should apply the same method of social media measurement to every situation.  Since marketers bring anything but a “one size fits all” approach to social media use, it would be unwise to apply a single approach or finite set of metrics to its measurement. 

What I am suggesting is that as professional marketers, we carry a responsibility to demonstrate the value of any tools we use, including social media.  While we may need to look at each situation on a case-by-case basis to determine a specific method of measurement, it is critical for our clients to understand what goes into it, and what they can expect out of it, in order for them to buy in.  Our ability (and willingness) to measure tools like social media is also critical in getting clients to understand our value as marketers.   

Perhaps a different way of looking at things is to ask what we should fear if we don’t measure social media to demonstrate its value.  Some recent examples:

  • In “Social Media Denial”, a recent Web Business  blog post, author Ken Burbary points out that  “…there are many people who either don’t agree, don’t understand or haven’t yet taken the time to learn about social media”.  He also provides an example of a long-time communications professional that clearly doesn’t get it.   
  • In a post called “Have kool-aid drinkers totally screwed the social media space?” from The Viral Garden blog, author Mack Collier laments that we may be part of the problem in inadvertently creating an environment where clients often don’t understand the value that we provide via social media consulting and services.   
  • In his Social Media Explorer blog, author Jason Falls states in a post called “Social Media ROI? Traditional Is Still More Accepted” that we already face an uphill battle, as social media isn’t (yet) valued as highly as other more traditional, but even less measurable, marketing methods. 

Ultimately, my opinion is that when it comes to measuring social media, we still have a window of opportunity to demonstrate its value, with so many great minds, powerful tools, meaningful metrics, and vast resources at our disposal.  However, if we “pass” on this opportunity, whether due to fear or other reasons, that window will close on us quickly. 

So how about it – what do you think?  Do we fear measuring social media? How are you measuring it?  Or, if you aren’t, why not?  I’d love to hear, and would welcome your comments.

– Jim S.