Groundswell – Still Relevant

For companies thinking of implementing digital marketing – this book is a must read.  Published in 2008, Groundswell authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff do a great job of explaining what the groundswell is, why it’s important, and how companies can participate.  The book highlights a planning process for building strategy that is priceless.  It’s called the POST method.

  • People – What are your customers/employees ready for? How will they engage?
  • Objectives – What are your goals?
  • Strategy – How do you want those relationships to change?
  • Technology – Last you decide what technology helps you meet those goals.

This is why you see so many inconsistent blogs, stagnant facebook pages and twitter accounts.  People go straight to the technology step.  We heard (insert the name a company that’s probably not even in your competitive set) had a blog and we need to get one.  First you need to get a strategy.  If you’ve already created a blog without the strategy, “POS ” as soon as possible!

Another interesting thing the book does is some ROI analysis of implementing the blog and other dm technologies.  It looks at startup costs, on going costs and benefit analysis.  Included in the costs are the amount of time executives spend working on it (in $) and the cost of their training.  Content production looks like it also takes into account the time of others working on it.

Groundswell.  A good read, even two years later.

And, yes – they do have a blog.  Check it out!

Recycle – Reuse – Repurpose

When you’re focused on maintaining a dynamic website, content is king. When you’re developing your content you want to think about what the site will be and how you want people to interact with it.  The type of content depends on your goals for the site.

Your whole website does not need to be recycled material, and it makes sense to create some key pieces from scratch, but re-purposed content presents an opportunity to edit and reuse something you’ve already done.  Remember that your old/new content should be aligned with the goals you first outlined for the site.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Cross-post videos you’ve placed on YouTube or Vimeo, to your website.
  • Reuse images from brochures, catalogs, etc… to spruce up the site.
  • Event pictures – If your company does events, it’s
  • Create twitter feed (If you use this service) so your updates post to your site

Digital Marketing Looks Good Overall, Social Media Marketing on the Rise

The Society of Digital Agencies released their Digital Marketing Outlook for 2010 and the tone was hopeful.  For the Outlook, SoDA polled more than a thousand individuals engaged in digital marketing:

  • Executives from major global brands
  • Traditional and Digital agencies
  • Vendor and service providers that operate in the Digital space
  • Freelance and independent Digital practitioners.

I think this cross section of the industry is a good representation of the collective voice and the data is quite interesting.

I really think that some of the quotes tell the story though.

Just as much as the conduit for brand storytelling has evolved, the modern consumer of 2010 plays a huge role in your marketing plans. Consumers have beyond proven themselves as content creators and distributors – they are the medium. Consumers are “living, breathing, passionate people who are redirecting traffic and content in real-time, based on personal interests, relationships, and the culture of the moment.” – Peter Caban, Mekanism

Check out the SoDA report here.

Alterian, a marketing firm that also does some research, released a report based on their interviews with  just over 1000 marketers.  The findings were very much what I’d expect.  More than half of respondents said they’re going to invest in social media marketing.  A third said they are investing in social media monitoring and analysis.  Close to half said they don’t incorporate web analytics data into the customer and email database.

Check out the Alterian report.

Web Analytics 101

You probably hope to do two major things:  increase revenue and decrease costs.  Well how do you know you’re being successful or failing miserably? What can you measure to figure out if you’re being successful?  Web analytics is growing in complexity and becoming more focused on these important outcomes instead of things like page views, site hits, etc…

Web Analytics Cover

Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik

In a new book called Web Analytics 2.0 Avinash Kaushik sets forth a model of how businesses should approach web analytics in trying to find data that can help you make decisions about your presence on the web.  While most of our clients utilize Google Analytics, we thought a refresher on terminology would be a good thing. Avinash refers to this list as the eight critical web metrics.

  1. Visit/Session – Someone came to the site and browsed.
  2. Unique Visitors – Should tell you how many individuals have visited your page.
  3. Time on Page – How much time vistors spent on one page of the site.
  4. Time on Site – How much time visitors spent on your site overall.
  5. Bounce Rate – The percentage of sessions on your website with only one page view.
  6. Exit Rate – How many people left your website from a certain page.
  7. Conversion Rate – Outcomes divided by Unique Visitors (Outcome could be order submission or email sign-up)
  8. Engagement – Some call time on site

We’ll talk more about web analytics in the blog, but the basics are priceless.  If you haven’t already done so, start learning about what you’re using to measure activity on your website and get used to seeing reports.  Most metrics programs do measure these 8, so taking a look at those should provide some insights on the “foundational data” as Avinash calls it.

A Focus on the Customer

Larger companies have started a new C-level position trend.  Chief Customer Officer. While a lot of these positions amount to some fluff, there is more emphasis being placed on understanding your customers to maintain a relationship and maximize profitability long term.  If you’re a small shop, this is another hat you should be wearing, minus the fluff. Small businesses don’t have time for that.  What you can do as a smaller, more agile organization is implement some of the real strategies to get the most out of your customer relationships.

What should you focus on?  Here are our thoughts:

  • Product development and feedback: Invite criticism of your products and process and before you do that, figure out how to validate and incorporate that feedback into your development and process improvement.
  • Find opportunities to join the conversation: Hello.  Your customers may not just talk about your product or service within the confines of your website.  Maybe they talk about it in forums or on other industry/product-related blogs.  Keep an ear to those sources to learn what’s happening.  Find opportunities to query your customers and learn what they want in a better snow boot or diversity consulting services.
  • Product/Service Surveys: I never fill out the product survey right after I purchase it.  Clearly I haven’t had time to evaluate.  If you have captured customer data, it may be worth offering an incentive (discount on accessory perhaps) in exchange for some in depth customer feedback.  That feedback will be very useful when you think of how you’re going to improve in the next product line.
  • Redefine how you see the customer: One purchase sometimes equates to Slam-Bam-Thank You Ma’am.   Try to think of your customer as a long term relationship that you cultivate over time and are then able to draw certain benefits and insights.
  • Make sure your customer service reflects your interest in the relationship. Be good to your customers because in the long run they will help define your next product line and make it a bigger success than the first.  Negative customer service interactions can erode customer satisfaction and be enough to lose customers to the competition.

Implementing tactics that follow these suggestions should help redefine your view of the relationship your company has with customers and utilize those relationships to develop better products and services.

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