As we come to the end of May, I have been reflecting on the posts of this last month. Here are the ones I thought were the best.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
While the article reminds me a little of the movie 'Crazy People', which stars the late Dudley Moore, there are some interesting ideas that come out of Roy H. Williams' piece entitled 'Targeting Through Ad Copy' on 'Making Ads Work'.
Roy suggests that as advertising we might have the targeting around the wrong way. Instead of worrying so heavily on where to place the advertisement, we should focus more on the messages in our ad to produce results in term of who will want to buy our products.
Carefully crafting your message in your advertisement is no less important than choosing the right publication in which to put your advertisement. Each ad should have a great story. Too many ads look like the copy was just written and then sent out without a great deal of thought. Take time (where possible) to craft the story properly.
Journalist Richard Preston drafts the opening paragraph of a story 30 to 40 times. Is your product or service story any less important than the unpaid stories?
Posted by Peter Vasey at 12:39 am
Sunday, May 29, 2005
This week Peter reviews a couple of the interesting presentations from the B2B London marketing conference, including re-branding issues and how B2B marketing rates versus B2C.
Music: Monotony, by Binary Beats
Length: 17 mins, 50 secs.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 12:51 am
Friday, May 27, 2005
At the B2B London conference the other day I sat in on a presentation from the Head of B2B vertical Markets, Google UK, Mr Russ Cohn.
In telling their story they presented lots of numbers of search and online marketing and usage.
Below are some of the more interesting numbers.
Forrester Research (sorry I don't have the year) reported that for Europe, the change in media consumption was as follows:
Magazines: - 36%
In the UK, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that online advertising spend was up 79.8%.
Piper Jaffray reported that for 2004, average costs per return for advertising across various mediums was as follows:
Yellow Pages: £1.18
Banner ads: £2.00
The key takeaways were:
- ROI is important. You need to measure your ROI in order to know how much you spend.
- Ads must be relevant. Irrelevant ads fail. It is surprising how many people don't get this.
- Test and re-test. By refining the various elements of your campaign based on careful analysis of the ROI you are increasing the chances of success for your adwords campaign.
It really does annoy me to see organisations practising such things. Good marketing isn't hard. You need to learn it, but that is the main thing. Otherwise it is time consuming. You can't be lazy and be a successful marketeer.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 11:21 pm
Continuing on from his post last week on 'word of mouth' at Revenue Roundtable, Brian Carroll talks further about word of mouth lead generation over at his B2B lead generation blog.
There is also a recommended process for word of mouth lead generation.
How to Leverage word of mouth for more leads
Posted by Peter Vasey at 8:17 pm
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Another interesting session at B2B London today was one titled 'Managing Your Data', presented by Richard Lloyd of Experian.
Many people think of Direct Marketing as being mail shots which are soooo old school and not worth their while because email is so much better. Well, they're wrong.
Direct Marketing encompasses any number of channels including both email and post, as well as fax and some people include trade shows. Basically, DIrect Marketing is where you can have a targetted conversation with a potential buyer.
Bearing the above in mind, here's some facts and figures on the Direct Marketing industry in the UK:
- The Future Foundation reported that £40 billion was generated in 12 months by B2B direct marketing
- The Direct Mail Information Service in 2004 reported that:
- Business managers receive an average of 13 Direct Mail items per week
- There was a 139% increase in volume in the last 13 years (since records began)
- Expenditure was up by 165% in the last 13 years
- Business managers opened 66% of direct mail pieces, 9% is re-directed to a colleague and 20% is filed for future reference or responded to.
- A large majority found direct mail useful, with 36% stating it was "quite useful" or "very useful".
- Business data is shown to have a decay rate of 37.5% per annum. That means over one third of the data stored in your CRM system or the like every year is out of date. As an aside, 10% of businesses change address every year.
- As a result of the above decay rate, £220 million is wasted every year on inaccurate mailings.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 7:12 am
One of the most interesting sessions I went to today at B2B London was presented by Richard Bush of Base One Interactive, a web marketing company.
As part of his presentation, Richard looked at some good and bad websites and asked the following questions. How many can you genuinely check off for your website?
- Does the homepage say who you are, what you do and who you do it for? (Most get 1 or 2 out of 3!)
- Is the navigation clear and logical?
- Is the labelling written from a buyer's perspective?
- Does the homepage highlight areas of interest that draw the buyer in?
- Does the site effectively demonstrate and prove your expertise, competence and experience?
- Does the site recognise the needs of different decision makers?
- Is there rich content available to encourage interaction?
- Does the site encourage users to leave their details? (You would be surprised at those that don't!)
- Does the site include contextual links to guide users through to "calls to action"?
- When you look at the site do you feel interested, engaged and wanting more?
Note that, as I have mentioned recently, Richard highlights designing for the user/buyer. Look at your products and services from their perspective. What are they looking for? What do they want to see? Google backed this up in a presentation shortly afterwards (more on that later) in which they said to design the websites firstly for your users not search engines.
If the above didn't inspire you, Google quoted a Marketing Sherpa survey from last year which found that 95% of B2B buyers use search engines (and thus websites) to research new products.
Can you afford not to get it right?
Posted by Peter Vasey at 4:22 am
Today and tomorrow I am visiting B2B London - a conference and exhibition for businesses targeting businesses.
Some posts will follow shortly from sessions I have attended, providing some insight into what is going on in the B2B space. There are some interesting topics which are being covered including search engine marketing, regulatory issues surrounding B2B marketing and Direct Marketing.
B2B London official site
Posted by Peter Vasey at 3:33 am
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Nice article from Brian Carroll over at Revenue Roundtable on how referrals are useful lead generators, but do more than that.
Carroll says "For the complex sale you need these enthusiastic references to help you build your reputation, differentiate yourself, demonstrated your value proposition, shorten your sales cycle, and drive revenue."
Read more about it: Asking for referrals does more than generate leads
Posted by Peter Vasey at 5:27 am
If you website is user friendly and provides visitors with the tools to readily find what they are after you have won only half the battle. For once you have built your website, how do you attract visitors?
Of course you can splash out on a glitzy advertising campaign across multiple media if it for a special promotion, but if you are looking to drive day to day traffic, you need to look elsewhere.
Even with today's problem of spam mail, well crafted email newsletters targeting those people who want the information (ie. Subscribers to your newsletter such as customers and prospects) can drive visitors to your website. Build in links to your email which direct your readers to the website for more information.
Once they have landed on your site, your visitors are free to move around to other parts of the website. But again, this reinforces the point that you have to make your website easy to navigate so that your readers can quickly move from the news to other useful information.
There is a little conundrum when developing a website. While you need to make it user-friendly, you need to make it search engine-friendly. Sometimes these two things don't go quite hand in hand.
While for smaller websites you might be able to perform search engine optimisation yourself, it can pay to outsource the search engine optimisation and placement to a professional company. BUT make sure they are reputable.
If you go with the wrong crowd you could end up getting your site blacklisted by the search engines due to the dubious techniques used by some of these companies.
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Popularised by Google's Adwords program, PPC is a very hand tool for advertising if you have a limited budget. The great thing about PPC is that, as the name suggests, you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement. You set the price you are willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad and set a daily budget.
Again, PPC is something you can do on a small scale, if you have the time and resources. The success of your PPC campaign is very much determined by the testing and refining of the various aspects of your campaign - price, copy, keywords selected. The more time you have to carefully measuring and refining your campaign the more success you will achieve.
There's more to advertising your website than the above, but I will save that for another day.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 4:50 am
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Have you listened to an episode of my podcast yet?
I am after some feedback on it, such as:
- Appropriate length - currently it is 15 mins. Is this right or not long enough?
- Am I covering the right topics for you?
- Should I be more in depth with the information?
- Other suggestions you might have.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 6:02 am
Rok over at MarketingStudies.net is visiting The Syndicate Conference this week.
One of sessions was on customer evangelism and letting your customers deliver the marketing on your products and business in their way.
I know as a marketer I would be concerned about letting my customers loose like that. We are control freaks us marketers, but its not such a bad idea.
Think about it. Today's consumer is highly cynical about marketing messages. They are very wary of them. However when their friends and peers are providing the message, there is no hidden subtext. It is a case of WYSIWYG marketing!
Read Rok's post here.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 3:50 am
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Here's a good discussion on new techniques to improve website usability by Rael at O'Reilly Radar. There are some suggestions including 'sliders' and though it is a little techie I think the examples are worth looking at.
What the post highlights is what I said in my podcast this week: as users of the web we have become accustomed to poor design so we bear with it through the frustration in order to achieve what we need to.
Of course, the real winners in the coming years will be the organisations who can harness the most usable technologies of the web and provide a seamless end-to-end customer service. They will thrive in the online economy while those organisation who cannot do this or choose to ignore such technologies will see their grip on their markets become tenuous at best.
O'Reilly Radar: Sliders are the new drop-downs
Posted by Peter Vasey at 6:05 am
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Seth Godin has released an e-book called "KNOCK KNOCK, Seth Godin's Incomplete Guide to Building a Web Site That Works".
I haven't read the book yet, but it is definitely on my reading list. Seth has for a long time been an advocate of permission marketing and if this book lives up to his usual standards there will be something for everyone in it, all for the price of a take away lunch.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 5:15 pm
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Thursday, May 12, 2005
While CRM tools allow you to break your customerbase up into tiny chunks and send them targetted messages, there of course is the concern that they might reject your messages if they come too thick and fast, no matter how targetted they are.
The results of the latest Yankelovich Marketing Receptivity survey prove this. Jackie at Church of the Customer notes that the report showed that 70% of consumers are interested in products that help them block advertising, while just over half of consumers avoid purchasing products from companies that overwhelm them with marketing and advertising. These are scary numbers, but they do show what a fine line we are walking as marketeers.
Talking to someone at a business dinner last night, we were discussing marketing and the fact that the whole trick lies with knowing when to communicate with a customer. What is the 'buying' signal that customers give to make you send them the information at the right time?
Generally advertisers rely on sending their message out cheaply to a large enough audience that they will cover their costs and make some money. While most recipients are not ready to buy, enough will be to make it worthwhile. But as the above numbers suggest a change in strategy is required for consumer advertising to continue to be effective.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 11:15 pm
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Blogspotting, the new Blog from BusinessWeek, has a good post on "Why Corporate Blogging Works".
Corporate blogs work because you are interacting with your customers, learning about their needs, not simply marketing them an item.
So, should a corporate blog be part of a CRM strategy? The jury is still out but the emphasis I think should lie with the fact that as marketers, we need to learn as much about our customers needs and problems and then provide solutions to those problems. If a corporate blog helps you to acheive this then the answer is a simple 'yes'.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 8:47 pm
One of the great things about CRM tools is that the good ones provide some great data analysis capabilities.
You can dissect your customer data so many ways and so long as the data you have in the system is accurate and orderly, you can get some extremely useful information out. For example, you can find the customer relationships which are profitable to your company, and more importantly the ones which are not.
Focusing on the Money
For some businesses (or sales and marketing people), market share is everything. They don't care about profit so long as they own the market. That's great in the short term but sooner or later you have to turn that substantial customerbase into a profitable one. And you have to admit that there are some customers who simply cost your business money to service them.
Sometimes the 'unprofitable' customers are those who tie up your customer service people with frivolous complaints or comments. They waste your colleagues' time. It might be that they refuse to move to a new version of your product because their model "is just fine thanks!"
Whatever it might be, there are times you must walk away from the customer, whether it is an outright refusal to service them further or to put into place more expensive contracts for service which make it unreasonable to continue purchasing from your organisation.
Part of the problem with the Dotcom boom was that many companies focused on marketshare over profit. The idea was to build up a customerbase at whatever the cost because some day down the track all those unprofitable customers would magically turn into profitable customers. Yes, that can happen - banks have done this by raising fees and charges on their products with the knowledge that people are loathe to change banks - but it is not always the case.
Find Your Niche
Knowing the costs associated with looking after customers, you need to determine who you should target. For example, if your product is something in IT that takes a bit of integration work to get it up and running and therefore requires some funding up front, it is probably not going to work well in the SOHO and lower end SME market.
I know of a company where there was an ongoing discussion about whether to chase outright market share or leave the small prospects alone as the costs in servicing small clients far outweighed the larger clients who had greater expertise and thus reduced the burden on the customer service staff of the company. They had a large niche but there alot of other companies with smaller niches doing well.
Luxury brand are the best example. Look at Ferrari. They only make 4,500 cars per annum. They have a waiting list for some of their latest models. But are they going to ramp up to pump out many more cars? No. To make many more cars would dilute their image. A Ferrari is a special car. Not everyone can have a Ferrari.
So look at your customerbase, look at what type of customer is making you money and what kind is not. With the unprofitable customer, either move them on or adjust the relationship so it becomes profitable for you. Then adjust your marketing to target the types of prospects who will make you money, not send you broke.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 3:39 am
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Saturday, May 07, 2005
I have just been reading a fascinating interview from CRMGuru talking about getting organisation to wholly focus on the customer and improving the relationship.
Even if I wasn't discussing CRM right now, it has so many valuable points it is very worth sharing.
Talking to author, Lior Arussy, the discussion leads to some fascinating points:
- There is a disconnect between the CEO and the rest of the company when it comes to customer relationships. Most CEOs think that their organisation is customer focussed when in fact the rest of the company is not.
- Seventy per cent of executives said they didn't have the tools or authority to do what is right for their customers.
- While most executives believe that you can either 'love' your customers or be highly profitable but not both, 89 per cent of them did not know the cost of a new customer and 86 per cent did not know the value of a customer over 12 months. So how do they know that 'loving' their customers is not profitable?
Make Customer Strategies Work: An Interview with Lior Arussy
Posted by Peter Vasey at 4:00 am
Thursday, May 05, 2005
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.
CRM is a philosophy. What it says is that in order to have a great relationship with your customer, you need to know as much information about that relationship as possible.
If you understand your customer, what their pain points and needs are, what they have bought from you in the past, the issues they are having, it helps you provide appropriate products and services tailored to that customer.
The philosophy goes on that if you acheive the above you will have a happy and satisfied customer that will purchase more from you and will be a champion of your company. The relationship will be a profitable one for both parties.
Is CRM Cursed?
Like all good philosophies, with CRM the devil is in the details.
AMR Research estimated that for 2004, 33 per cent of CRM implementations had significant user adoption problems while 28 per cent of CRM implementations didn't even get to go live.
These are huge numbers we are talking about!
Look at the office building you are in. If you assume that every organisation has tried CRM in the last twelve months, that means one in every three offices in your building is having issues with their employees using CRM and just over one in four have thrown in the towel!
But CRM should not be forsaken. Benefits are there IF you know how to go about rolling out the project.
How to make CRM happen
The trick with CRM is getting champions within your office to support your project. That is a HUGE battle. Secondly you must choose a software that meets your needs, not something that will straightjacket you into one particular process. Also make sure that it can change over time as you adjust your processes. Also use the change to CRM as a chance to review your company's processes.
More in the Next Podcast
Don't miss the next podcast, because I will going through more on CRM and how to acheive success within the project. The next podcast will be available at the end of this week.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 10:27 pm
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
I have just read an interesting entry from Dana VanDen Heuvel on Social Networks and what business value they bring.
My experience with online communities is that where they are set up as a social function primarily, you need to nurture your relationships offline to gain anything meaningful.
I have been a part of an online community based around a football team in Australia. I have developed some good relationships with fellow members over time and yes perhaps in the future something might come out of it business wise. But these relationships have developed over many a cold ale, etc.
Social networks are a great way of finding people who share common ground with you but I wouldn't trust them for business use.
It will be interesting to see if Dana can find concrete examples of peoplewho have had business success thanks to social networks. Read Dana's post here.
But all this gets onto a topic I am very passionate about - CRM (Customer Relationship Management). As the old saying goes, it is a lot cheaper to keep a customer and have he/she purchase from you again than to acquire a new customer.
Key to keeping a customer is good communication, through multiple channels.
Let's explore this further
Posted by Peter Vasey at 9:21 am
Following my podcast, I thought I would break down, in textual form, the key points on marketing at trade shows. They generally fall into Do's and Dont's.
- Tell visitors what you do: don't hide descriptions of your products and services in buzzwords and catch phrases. Prominently display what you do. eg. If you build houses, say that, list the key features of your houses, don't talk about "lifestyle habitation environments"!
- Show your product: Don't be scared to do this. If you don't show your product and your competitors do you immediately raise suspicions in the mind of your prospect.
- Talk to visitors on your stand: Be nice, find out what they need. If you can help them, do so, if not wrap it up politely and move onto the next visitor.
- Keep the stand and what you display relevant: It's no good using attractions that are irrelevant to your business because visitors wont remember you.
- Criticise your competitors: Keep your message positive. Your time with each visitor should be kept to a minimum. Nobody likes hearing people complain about what their competitors are doing or not doing.
- Judge a book by its cover/ignore visitors: You never know what kind of deal you might be missing out on if you. Treat every visitor with respect. If they aren't relevant to your market, politely wrap up the conversation and move on.
- Hide: It is amazing to walk on a stand and not find anyone to talk to. Always make sure you have enough staff rostered on and keep them out the front of the stand not hiding out the back or at the coffee cart.
Generally, most visitors to a trade show only have a limited amount of time and so monopolising their time on your stand isn't good for them. Collect their contact details, needs, pain points, etc and discuss how you can help them. Demonstrate your products or services briefly if you have time. Then wrap up the conversation. Even in complex sales, this should take no more than 15-20 mins in most cases.
If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions for topics you would like me to cover, please use the comments area below.
Posted by Peter Vasey at 12:01 am