Author Archive

The 7 Pillars of the Future of Marketing

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An interview for The CMO Advantage with Sam Rosen, co-founder of ThoughtLead and the show’s host, Ed Gaskin.

Privacy – the Critical Link for Personalization

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This is a guest post by Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe, a leader in online privacy. He’s a speaker in the Future of Marketing microconference, which you can register for here.

In the physical world, invading someone’s personal space can lead to discomfort and even anxiety. And although everyone’s personal space varies by degree, the boundaries are usually constant, slow to change and tied culturally to our perception of the public and the private.

The online world changed all of this. Suddenly, our concept of personal space – what’s public and what’s private – was turned totally upside down. Marketers can now peer into consumer activity and gain unprecedented insights into our likes and dislikes – leveraging personalization that is truly mind-boggling and seemingly limitless in scope.

Consumers get highly relevant ads based on their specific needs and interests – even their very location; advertisers increase ROI by ensuring their ads reach exactly the right audience at the right time; and publishers improve CPM. Powerful stuff.

But, there is a caveat.  Without taking privacy into consideration, you risk losing all the benefits of personalization. Giving your customers the right amount of personal space has everything to do with respecting their privacy, and privacy represents the critical link for personalization.

As we expressed in “Future of Marketing 2: The Personalization Revolution,” we absolutely must consider privacy, and TRUSTe is honored to share its expertise in this unique event.

TRUSTe’s business revolves around helping companies manage privacy in the online world. We know that – in the same way that overstepping one’s personal space can cause anxiety – neglecting to establish appropriate privacy boundaries online creates fear, uncertainty and doubt for consumers.

To benefit from personalization, companies must establish practices that allow their customers to create boundaries that they feel comfortable with – and that fall within appropriate ethical, moral and legal parameters.

How do you achieve this? Well – as in life – honesty really is the best policy. You must start with an online platform that is committed to providing Truth in Privacy.

If you’re using targeted advertising on your site, be up front about it. Be transparent about how you’re using your customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) and let them make the choice as to whether they want to participate – or opt out. It’s their information, after all. Show them how you’re using their data in an easy-to-understand way that can be immediately accessed through a clear notice system.

Once consumers make their choices, respect them. Honor their choices – be accountable to what you have said you will do – and if you don’t, step up right away, acknowledge the error and fix it.

Being transparent about what you’re doing, giving them choices and being accountable will increase customer confidence and win you the silver bullet – their trust. And when you have the trust of your customers, you not only increase site activity but also generate more qualified leads and – ultimately – higher online purchases.

But personalization encompasses more than just targeted advertising. To truly personalize a solution, other tools are required, and emerging legislation is watching these new developments and corresponding privacy concerns. New bills in Congress, like this one, as well as recommendations from the FTC and DOC are geared toward addressing issues, such as self regulation and Do Not Track (DNT) policies.

One way that the industry is responding to self-regulation is through Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs). In the physical world, you have restraining orders. In the online world, you have TPLs because – just like in the physical world – it’s good to know who adheres to responsible behaviors and who doesn’t. That’s why Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) have emerged as a way to differentiate the good privacy players from the not so good.

TRUSTe also has its own TPL – TRUSTed TPL – recently announced and compatible with Microsoft’s IE9. But in addition to a “Block” list, TRUSTe also includes an “Allow” list – showing consumers which companies have responsible practices.

Why? We believe that consumers enjoy relevant advertising and personalized content – as long as good privacy practices are implemented. Having an “Allow” list helps consumers decide which companies to trust and allows them to benefit from personalization.

As we look at how personalization is transforming marketing, TRUSTe is extremely grateful to the Future of Marketing for including a discussion of privacy in its “60-in-60” event. Personalization offers tremendous business opportunities but also raises new ethical questions about how we treat the personal and private information of others. It’s important to do the right thing in this new online universe and give everyone the personal space that they want and deserve. Together – with the right privacy practices in place – I believe that we can do just that.

Guy Kawasaki on Why Enchantment and Personalization Can Be Friends

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In this video interview Sam Rosen, co-founder of ThoughtLead and curator of the Future of Marketing series, interviews Guy Kawasaki, author of the brand new book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.

They have a good time (and share a few laughs) exploring the relationship between good old fashioned virtues like trustworthiness and the constantly evolving world of personalized marketing technology.

Guy shares some enlightening (and, yes, enchanting) insights on why the most powerful technological platforms available today must be married with a demonstrable commitment to delighting and uplifting customers. Enjoy!

An Inside Look at Personalization

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Susan :: setting up the exhibition :: 01nov Here’s a sneak peek for the upcoming Future of Marketing 60-in-60—exploring technology and personalization. You’ll hear from video personalization pioneer Mat Harris, the CEO of an innovative new company called BizGreet.

In under 5 minutes, Mat reveals what’s under the hood in today’s most advanced personalization engines. And he gives examples of how you can capitalize on this emerging trend to maximize your own marketing spend. Continue Reading

How to Use the Two Types of Education to Reach New Prospects and Increase Customer Lifetime Value

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If you’ve been reading marketing blogs the past few years, you’ve seen one common refrain: “content is king.”

We’re told that if we create “killer content” and post it regularly to our blog, vlog, or podcast, then our site traffic will increase, sales will roll in, and everyone will be happy.

And to a certain extent, that’s true.

But is there more to the story? Are there ways to think about content and education that are more nuanced over the entire duration of the buying process, and that go well beyond the first sale and into the customer experience?

In researching this topic, I came across a fascinating study by Drs. Eisingerich and Bell that broke the customer education process into two different types: industry education, and service or product education. Each type addresses different phases of the sales process, with the former mostly addressing prospects or cold leads and the latter mostly addressing warm leads or customers.

Industry education

Industry education is where you capture someone’s attention who may not already know about you. This is often referred to as content marketing, as it involves providing valuable information to people at the moment they are seeking it. And because the information is tied to your business, you become tied to that valuable resource, and you’ve made a positive impression on a prospect.

Industry education helps you reach people who may not have any pre-existing interest or knowledge of your company.

It’s what helps you establish a relationship with your prospects. As John Jantsch, of Duct Tape Marketing, states: the buying process follows the steps of “Know, Like, Trust – Buy, Buy again, Refer.”

Industry education establishes the first two steps of that process, and possibly the third, if your education material has enough triangulation from other sources, or social proof (i.e. recommendation from a friend, logos of prominent companies you’ve worked with or helped, high number of subscribers or comments on your site, etc.).

One example of Industry Education is the site you’re currently on, The Future of Marketing virtual conference and blog. This project brings together the top minds in the field to discuss where the industry is headed and what people need to know for the year ahead. The Future of Marketing, along with its older cousin, The Influencer Project, has provided a fantastic “digital handshake” for us, and has opened many doors that wouldn’t have opened without them.

So invest in your company’s industry education content to attract the attention of new prospects.

Now if Industry Education covers the first three steps of Jantsch’s 6-step sales process, then Product or Service Education delivers the last three steps of that process.

Product or Service Education

Think about your last experience inside a glowing, futuristic Apple store. Every time I’m there I notice two things:

  • How helpful, knowledgeable, friendly, and passionate about Apple all the sales associates are, and…
  • How education is at the heart of everything they do. Whether it’s teaching you more about a certain product and what differentiates it from other Apple products or competing products, or how to get the most out of your Apple product, they’re always taking you further into your engagement with the Apple brand and product line.

We all know that product education during the sales process is crucial, because the more reasons that you give for an interested prospect to buy, both rational and emotional, the more compelled they will be to do so (just remember to ask for the sale ;) ).

But there’s another element to product education that I would like to stress: product education helps your customers grow along with you and increases their lifetime value to your company. Product education empowers them to get the most out of your service and appreciate what makes you different from the competition.

Helping your customers reap more of the benefits of the products they’ve already purchased will create a happier, more engaged customer. And besides the simple human benefits of making someone happy, educating your customers in this way will aide you in cross-selling and up-selling, thus increasing your bottom line in the process.

Finally, product education can increase your number of meaningful “touches” with your customers, and help you deepen your relationships with them. And those positive connections, when combined with a top-quality product or service, will result in an unbeatable customer experience.

The rewards to your company? More sales, repeat sales, and referrals.

So how can you educate your customers to increase their benefit from your product, and create deeper relationships?

Content Marketing 101 with Ann Handley

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We all know that “Content is King,” right? Coming up with material that your audience finds interesting and compelling is supposed to be the new marketing… so how come your content doesn’t always get your business great results?

What would be really helpful is a straightforward guide—a “do this, don’t do that,” for content marketing.

Fortunately, Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of Marketing Profs and co-author of the new book Content Rules, has done exactly that. In her 60-second piece, Ann shares the cardinal rule for creating great content for your audience.

 

This year businesses have really embraced that notion that they are publishers—that they need to create stuff that’ll really help your clients. The problem of course is that it’s really tough to do it successfully, right? How to do content well is what businesses, I think, are going to be looking at this year. They’re going to be looking at questions like, “What does it mean to create content that’s remarkable? How can they do it consistently? How can you be heard above the noise? Why doesn’t your blog have any comments?” It’s really tough work.

A way to think about what makes for compelling content is to think about the fact that good content shares or solves; it doesn’t shill. In other words it doesn’t hawk your wares or push out sales messages. It creates value by positioning you as a remarkable and valuable source of vendor-agnostic information. In 2011, solve or share; don’t shill.

What are some ways your company can use content to solve a problem that your customers have?

The New Horizon of Social Commerce

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With all the buzz about social media, real-time media, and consumer-generated media, business leaders often wonder, “so how do we make any money with this?”

Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing has been paying close attention to this question, and shares his thoughts on the exciting new world of social commerce.

 

Consider these stats: Google sites handle over 88 billion queries a month, but did you know Twitter is approaching 20 billion? Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year, and Hitwise is reporting that Facebook tops Google in weekly web traffic. Social media is hot, but is by no means mutually exclusive of search. Search has expanded beyond Google, and marketers must now consider other search channels such as internal Facebook search and mobile search as channels where customers are looking.

There’s one area in particular that I think marketers should pay attention to in the coming year, and that’s social commerce. Companies like Alvenda are empowering commerce on Facebook with brands like Brooks Brothers, Delta Airlines, and Best Buy. It’s still early days for social commerce, but if companies can make it part of the social experience, I think it will serve as a true channel for social media ROI.

What are some ways you’ve seen social commerce used effectively?

Why Mobile is the Future

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You already know you should be marketing through mobile channels, but do you know why? Maybe you already are reaching customers and prospects via mobile, but could your mobile marketing be more effective?

Chuck Martin, Director of the Center for Media Research and author of The Third Screen, shares why this medium is so important for marketers to embrace in the years ahead, and who is already ahead of the game.

 

I want to talk to you about mobile today. Mobile is a game-changer. If you think about the first screen, which was TV, there are a couple billion of those in the world right now. There are a little more than a billion PCs. There are five billion cellphones around the world right now. That’s 73 percent of the world population. 94 percent of the U.S. population has a cellphone, and we’re moving to a time when more than half of those will be smartphones.

Mobile is up-close and personal. It basically changes the link between supply, demand, time, and distance, which could never be done before. When you look at what marketers need to do, marketers can tell where customers are located today by phone. They can provide maximum value, whether by deals or unique services, based on the optimum mindset of the consumer. This could never be done before. This is an under-the-radar revolution that’s going on right now. Not everybody sees it. Companies like Pepsi, Kraft, Starbucks, The Weather Channel, great companies are doing great things in mobile. It’s time for everybody to get in.

What are some experiences you’ve had with successful mobile marketing, either as a consumer or as a marketer?

Why No One is Reading Your Content

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You’ve done it. You’ve finally created that magical white paper (or video, ebook, or webinar) that will attract hungry customers to your business like New Yorkers to a Florida winter.

Except no one is watching, or downloading, or commenting. What to do?

Todd Defren, Principal at SHIFT Communications, uses his 60 seconds from the Future of Marketing to give some suggestions for how to remedy this all-too-common situation.

 

So many companies and marketers think about taking a content-specific approach where they put “creative” at the forefront of everything. Really what they should be thinking about in the social media era is putting relationships at the center of everything. If you understand what all of the potential stakeholders in your company care about and talk about and want to share and want to consume, you’ll take a much more impactful approach to everything else that you do. If you know what your audiences care about, you’ll do better creative, because you know they’ll want to share it. You’ll do better community management, because you’ll be not just a brand who’s marketing to them, but a friend who talks to them every day.

A great example might be Home Depot, where they’ve got their own do-it-yourself community, and they’re creating content every single day as a result of what their users are talking about every single day, versus what the promotion of the week might be. It’s a relationship-centric approach that all brands would be well advised to take a look at.

What are some ways your company can “lead with relationships” when creating content?

Real Relationships, Real Marketing

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Imagine if you knew each of your company’s prospects or customers as well as you knew your friends in college—you knew what they cared about, what they wanted in life, and every interaction strengthened your connection. In other words, it was a real relationship.

Now imagine that anyone in your company could hold that relationship with your customer or prospect and respond appropriately to it. That’s the world that Paul McNulty, CMO of Unica envisions as the future of marketing, and here’s his advice on how you can get there:

 

If I had one tip, I’d say that marketers of the world should engage in true interactive marketing. By interactive marketing I’m not referring to websites or online marketing. I’m referring to engaging each customer and prospect in a relevant cross-channel dialogue that builds upon their past and current behavior. When I’m talking about channels, I’m referring to traditional outbound channels, like direct mail and email, as well as inbound channels, like websites, call centers, and social media.

To do this you need to break down the data and execution silos in your company, and embrace technology that allows you to interact seamlessly with your customers and prospects across all channels in real-time. Through interactive marketing you can more effectively communicate with and expand relationships with your customers, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

What are some of the ways you’ve seen companies build relationships with customers across different channels?