Why ‚A‘ marketers are better than the rest (Infographic)

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Although many marketers have heard of the analytics, data and technology challenges, a minority of 26% of marketers understand their value for the business they run. This is the latest results of a joint study from VisionEdge Marketing (VEM) and ITSMA Marketing Performance Management (MPM) with input from 380 marketers gives insights on marketing performance and best-practices.

The study shows how marketers can earn an „A“ grade from the C-suite as they understand impact on data for business. The outperforming marketers know how to make performance management a priority. They know how to plan and implement a well-defined and documented road map for performance improvement. While many marketers measure effort and activity, these „A“ grade marketers find the right metrics on ROI efficiency, while building dashboards in order to communicate business benefits of their efforts.

Not surprisingly, „A“ grade marketers know how to align their marketing objectives with business priorities, which are the basis for selecting the right metrics. They understand why their offerings create a bi-directional benefit for customers and shareholders.

Of the top performers, 63% claimed increased customer share of wallet. This is a massive success when compared with 48% of „B“ marketers and 38% of low performing marketers. When monitoring improvements for business growth, 54% of „A“ respondents confirmed improvements in their win rates. This stands against 39% of the „B“ competitors and 25% of laggard marketers.

However, some of you marketers might think you should have the ROI in focus, the „B“ grade marketers
are too much looking for sales figures. They are spot on getting leads for their pipeline and try to map the customer journey intensively. Still, they lose the big picture of the long-term web strategy. The lazy laggard marketers just see the production of marketing campaigns as their target instead of producing and generating real business results, according to the study.


Infographic: How Google Ranks Your Website’s Relevance

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Google Rank WebsitesThis is one of those secrets that is discussed in every single seminar we do: How does Google rank websites? Why does my website not rank higher than my competitors? What could be the best SEO strategy so that Google ranks us under the first three results?

The Google’s algorithm is one of the biggest secrets in the marketing world. The 200+ ranking features make it very challenging to find the right web strategy of your content and website structure. So, what’s the best way to develop a „Google-loves-us“ strategy?

Neil Patel has created a nice infographic that illustrates the main components of the Google algorithm. Let’s see what he comes up with…

How Google Determines Where to Rank Your Website
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Spot On!
The main challenge to drive more traffic via search lies in understanding the holistic approach of Google’s algorithm. Obviously, it is about the final user that works with the website, reads the content and shares it through their own social communication platforms. Over are those days when people though the „link-in-link-out“ game will solve the SEO war, when companies got paid for building link farms, and people got money to bring more links in. In the end, the user decides on what they need, and finally the Google Algorithm reflects that.

2014 Trends in Content Marketing [Infographic]

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The perspective of Uberflip „predicts“ that there are some obvious trends coming up in content marketing.

Not surprisingly, a „director of content“ might be the new team member in companies. This might be nothing new when compared with our job title predictions for web strategy at the beginning of 2013. Some other aspects of Uberflip include: higher quality of content, content curation, multiscreen marketing, and what every consultant will love: bigger budgets for hopefully better content.

„Brands will step up their game by integrating great journalism and storytelling into their strategies,“ states Uberflip.

Let’s hope their predictions proof to become reality. Or maybe, you see some other development in the near future. Why not share it with us…?


Big Data Opportunities (Infographic)

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We discussed this topic in many panels at dmexco this year, and in the last couple of years I assume not many buzz words have made their way through so many blogs and articles: Big Data. Some see the value of it in measurement and analytics for marketing purposes. Others try to identify new potential and hire Corporate Data Scientists for their web strategy to leverage the potential of unstructured data. And some are still on their way to understand how their data can be embraced to exchange with the data of some partner or even their clients.

The topic Big Data will stay. Just look how much data is generated daily: 2,5 Exabyte. A number that doubles every year according to an infographic the guys from Elexio have put together. It illustrates the potential for companies and how Big Data might generate bigger opportunities in several sectors. Especially, in retail or e-commerce where Big Data let’s brands analyze customer behavior and deliver more personalized messages in order to create an exciting user experience, more engagement, and sure i the end more sales. However, sometimes you wonder if they are doing it right.

As Big Data also let’s us analyze offline data, some clever marketers might combine those with online data to get a clearer view of consumer activity. On the one hand, this might be good as it keeps them from delivering the wrong banner or engagement outdoor advertisement and content to the wrong customer. On the other hand, there might be people arguing that Big Data is still in its infancy as long as companies cannot extract critical and unstructured data from the valuable data that creates a new customer journey experience.

The main challenge will be how we bring Big Data and security together in the future. Consumers get stressed these days as they realize that promotion banners and branded content are following them across channels – with products and services which are often not wanted, or already bought. But how can companies deliver a seamless customer experience? How can they make use of Big Data that boosts their lead generation or sales numbers while still showing careful approach that consumers appreciate?

With all the social media sharing and curating of content via social networks and their buttons, does it really make sense talking about Big Data and security? Or, do we need organizations that audit how companies handle customer data? What rules do companies and brands need to obey to enable a social and secure shopping experience? Many questions that we will discuss on a panel at the ChapmanBlack „Future of Digital“ event in Berlin next week. Sure, I will change those afterwards…

Please find the infographic of Elexio with latest insights into the new opportunities that Big Data can offer to brands and companies.

Big Data Infographic Cloud

Outlook: Five new job titles for the future of web strategy

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Credits: Pixelio

Credits: Pixelio

Some days ago, I wrote on our German blog about those annual reviews all of us bloggers create at the end or beginning of the year. Do those reviews make any sense at all? And if so, how much new input do they offer in our days of information overload? Especially, when there are no opportunities to escape the news and updates flow of the day. And finally, what is the value of one single and unique opinion in a blog review? Will it offer any sustainable essence? Well, after reading this post, you may decide…

Most professors might answer in a diplomatic manner: „There is always two sides of the coin!“ Smart bloggers love to look into the future and prefer outlooks to reviews. However, those always rely on findings and insights which bring them to life in the end.

So, I have dared to head for an outlook in 2015, into the future of web strategy. As many managers are not quite familiar with the term „web strategy“, let me define it our way. In 2012, we have often realized that there is quite some misunderstanding what web strategy really means:

„Web Strategy translates the organisational targets and values in roadmaps for the top management and their teams in terms of all generated and doable business processes via the Web. Web Strategy creates a picture of the future of client communication which connects the networking trends of the Internet and the tools of modern web development with the individual business tactics of a cooperation in order to develop a superior company vision. ©The Strategy Web GmbH 2012“

Bearing this in mind, I have written a blog post that defines a futuristic view on some new job titles. It shall illustrate which old job roles might become critical as well as which new challenges arise in companies when changing or restructuring organisational frameworks in companies. So, let me define some new job roles that clever managers should be thinking about. Each top management should be thinking carefully whether or not they will need one of these job roles in their company. I am quite sure that these job roles will become important in the future on web strategy.

And don’t be surprised when I give those job roles kind of a hierarchy. The formula behind it is quite simple…Knowledge x Data x Content x Culture x Clients = Company Success

a.) Corporate Knowledge Officer
The main challenge for any HR department is to tie the pearls of the corporate value chain long-term. These employees are the knowledge of the company, the pillars of productivity. If one of those pillars leaves the company behind, the person takes the knowledge with them, and often all of their knowledge gets lost. But what if employees understand that the feeding hand of a company offers less pension protection by 2025? What if by 2020, Millennials, the generation that will make up almost 50% of the global workforce, will deny the traditional workplace mentality and start making their knowldge available more on a project basis? What if knowledge workers stop working for one company but prefer to share their knowldge in a „buy-my-brain“ mode?

Leaders who believe in Social Business, those who want to secure knowledge and make it „always-on“ available shall consider the position of a Corporate Knowledge Officer. They are game changers for analysts, market researchers and leading consulting corporations.

b.) Corporate Data Scientist
The world speaks Big Data. Buzzword or biz value? There were not many words you could hear in 2012 at web events, where „web stategy“ still often is a foreign word. Why Big Data rules? Well, just look at how much data is being generated in 60-Minuten on the web, or how fast reactions and conversations evolve. That’s why data is becoming a challenge for the whole value chain of the company. However, which business is able to accomplish a job role which is said to become one of the sexiest in the future according to Harvard Business Review? Where is this person located in the excel sheets of businesses that unites the capabilities of a logician, explorer and mathematician in one person? There are not many avalaible yet. Corporate Data Scientists are those brains who know how to turn the process of 0 and 1 upside down in order to draw some conclusions for new content and values.

Leaders that don’t want to stop at data mining or business intelligence processes should figure out the value of the Corporate Data Scientist. They are challengers for PR and marketing decision makers who need to prove their credibility by showing facts to their CEOs.

c.) Corporate Content Officer
Content forms data. The problem? Content is the weakest production department of companies. In most cases PR experts or publishing houses have taken over the content production. Although most media companies are struggling themselves with unique content generation. But who is meant to do the content research? Who is able to write and schedule stories? Who can prioritize, aggregate and curate content? And where will companies find the publishing expertise to become a media company? If content marketing is the future, who will pioneer on the path from PR and marketing to the journalistic hybrid of corporate publishing and community management in the company?

Leaders who see conversations as an opportunity and understand the sense of integrated communities in websites will evaluate the position of Corporate Content Officers. They are the media coaches and editors-in-chief of businesses who bring all company departments to produce content for their special business area.

d.) Chief Culture Officer
The modern development in content and data generation as well as a new understatement for knowledge management is walking on the stage of change management. A stage that Grant McCracken featured in his book. Employees need to find the deeper sense in the evolution of new platforms in business processes. Employees need to understand the complete benefit of tools and tactics before they will be forced to make use of them. Especially, for those employees who do not like email communication but shall start working with communication streams and updates all of a sudden. Stream-Working is a culture of openness and transparency which is not everybody’s friend. And sometimes the best lighthouses might not embrace those changes.

Leaders who know about the challenges of working with multiple project platforms will appreciate the additional benefit of a Chief Culture Officer. This job role will be the prolonged arm of the management team, the „personified culture geek“ and at the same time working very close with the HR team.

e.) Chief Customer Officer
Customer change the rules of the game via open communication, praise and critic. What was top-down is now bottom-up. Customers are kings. A sentence that made people cry some years ago. Today, the 3R’s of the social customer -Rating, Review, Recommendation- make managers and leaders start crying. They let whole revenue streams start shaking at times. Those managers who get their experience from digital conversations with customers, who appreciate when data becomes content, and who create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, then you live and breathe the values of empathy that customers are longing for. Then companies create the right fascination for brands, products and their own company.

Leaders who accept the community of customers as the ecosystem of perception, and who believe in brand advocates, critics and moaners as equal process partners will think about integrating a Chief Customer Officer as an institution that is meant to drive business growth. They will be game changers for sales people and customer service employees.

Never before have I spoken about and discussed so much about new job definitions and job roles in my life like in 2012. On congresses as a moderator, on B2B events as speaker, or as a rebellious start-up panelist.

Will one or some of these job roles become reality? You decide…

Social Media or/and Website for Lead Generation: What’s the key to success?

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How often did we hear this question in the last three years? Marketers, sales(wo)men and many C-Level’s in the B2B space have asked the question many times in seminars. I am quite happy to have found a study that actually gives some insight in a quite complex business topic.

According to a Demandbase National Marketing and Sales Study in cooperation with Focus, the company corporate website is the top source of new sales leads for consumers. The corporate website still is the primary hub to harness customer interest driven by outbound online marketing activities. However, it is only second to personal connections and referrals. Nevertheless, more than seven times more effective than social media which speaks a clear language, right…?  Well, what if referrals lead to websites via Social Media?

Executives see the website as the top online source of sales leads (23%), followed by email (14%), online advertising (7%), and finally… social media (3%). What sounds as a clear message, is more a blur. The most important factor for measuring website effectiveness is the quality of leads generated (34% vs. quantity 9%). However, nearly one-half of executives surveyed do not know where users are most likely to leave their website.

Another interesting thing is that study participants stated that the website still vastly underperforms in terms of lead generation. Although companies think they understand their sales prospects (over 60% respond knowing or understanding their prospects well), driving sales leads is still a big challenge for them. 80% of the respondents said the corporate website is not performing to its maximum lead generation.

Did you ever ask yourself how a consumer found your website? Can a website alone be enough to generate quality sales leads? What is the key to generating more leads from the web? Is it the website only? Well, once your website is ready to attract customers, it needs to get traction.

Often in the last weeks, we came across one of the main effort to get there: content generation. What makes search engines to drive (potential) customers back to your website? Content. And often marketers say: „We have tons of content! Why is no one coming back?“ The answers is easy: Content needs some systematic approach, and that can best be achieved with inbound marketing. And that’s were Social Media comes into the game. So, the website alone is not the answer to lead generation.

„Social media may be heralded as the silver bullet to bring B2B marketing up to snuff but, despite its increasing influence, it’s important to keep in mind that no business sale is made without the buyer going to the corporate website first. Regardless of its origin–social media or e-mail, banners or search–traffic driven from online marketing initiatives always intersects at the website. And, while businesses are investing heavily in their sites, the study shows that they are then ignoring the very audience they worked so hard to attract.“ Chris Golec, CEO, Demandbase

Spot On!
The study shows that there is a lack of understanding how to optimize and generate new sales leads and demand generation. Analyzing websites and drawing the right conclusions from site performance and the clients‘ brand journey experience is what needs to be elaborated on. Obviously, many marketers still have „better things to do“ or not the time to verify the back-end. Marketers need to understand that their web strategy should be focusing on connecting website experience and the brand journey towards it. This in the future will be mainly driven through inbound activities that could find a catalyst in referals. Companies just need to elaborate on the interconnection between website and Social Media. That’s where the answer to lead generation is hidden…

Don’t you agree…?

Marketing automation – A sleeping lead generation star…?

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Although companies get flooded with information concerning the benefits of marketing automation, the topic is still „not self-explanatory“ to most marketers. The majority of B2B companies understand the general benefit in principle. Nevertheless, only a few are using marketing automation yet (7-10%). It seems that marketing automation is a sleeping star…

Still, the market for marketing automation is growing as you can figure out from the numbers below. Not surprising. The solution providersfor marketing automation proclaim an increase in lead generation and explain companies how easy it is to manage the sales lead funnel. And generating leads is what drives the B2B world around…

The annuitas Group just recently published some statistics from numerous sources that summarize the marketing automation market and published an interesting infographic.

– 110 vendors are seeling products and solutions in the marketing automation space
– 81% of best-in-class companies see the benefit in closing deals faster
– 76% of marketing decision makers see generation of high-qualified leads as the biggest challenge
– 64% of them have neither an internal nor external process to manage marketing automation
– 36% use marketing automation for lead nurturing
– 451% increase in qualified leads get businesses that use marketing automation for lead nurturing
– 47% more closed werde generated via lead nurturing generiert
– 10% use marketing automation to follow up later in the buying cycle

Spot On!
The statistics illustrate the power of marketing automation and what it could do to lead generation. However, when companies use marketing automation, only 25% use the full potential of marketing automation. It has become a „must have“ in the marketing departments, at least of enterprises. If small and medium-sized companies use marketing automation or their a pre-sales/telemarketing to leverage their marketing and thus sales potential would be an eye-opening statistic in these terms. In many cases, time and resources hinder most companies from diving deeper into the potential of marketing automation and thus their brand content, the context in which it appears, and the community that talks about their business, products and services. The approach that I came across the last three years was an outsourced solution to service providers like agencies, publishers or software providers. And the main challenge of lead generation and nurturing is to align marketing, sales and customer service for a more efficient web strategy.

Would you agree that marketing automation is still a sleeping marketing star for lead generation…?

Study: C-level executives still unsure how to leverage Social Media for business growth

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It seems to be a love and hate relationship: Executives and Social Media. On the one hand, companies see how critical a social business strategy is for their business. On the other, they still don’t know how to harness the value of the new modern media landscape and the feedback channel online world. This is the insight we get from a survey of C-level executives conducted by Harris Interactive for Capgemini.

The findings, which are part of Capgemini’s Executive Outsourcing Survey, were published with their launch of the social media management service. The survey asked 302 senior executives at Fortune 1000 companies.

The question where to position Social Media inside the company seems to be omnipresent: Marketing? Customer Service? Corporate Communications? Or really change the company to become a social business operation? Does someone have a crystal ball? More than half say that Social Media is a part of their company’s customer care operations. However, 64% of those responded that it is a pure responsibility of their social media marketing department.

Surprisingly enough, 74% executives stated in the study they were not even sure how many employees are dedicated to customer care via the Social Web activities of the company. The value of Social Media can be seen by 57% of responding executives who think that it is „inviting customer input on product and services, lead generation, responding to complaints, internal reporting, and measuring customer satisfaction.“

And it is best to forget the 13% who still believe that Social Media is not important for future success of the company.

Spot On!
The attitude from executives towards Social Media also describes the fact that less than half of executives (41%) are monitoring online conversations about their brand, product and/or services. They only respond to an online conversation when a customer poses a direct question, representing a significant missed opportunity for companies to proactively solicit feedback and enhance the customer experience. The ooportunity to engage with the customer is there but executives (and probably their management teams) need to embrace the opportunity and change their business into a social business strategy and align it with their web strategy team.

Study: Why most mobile brand apps don’t work…

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The hype about mobile apps is still omnipresent. In which marketing meeting you are, people get mad about creating the next killer app. A recent study by Deloitte gives insights what makes a mobile killer app and why most of the developed apps don’t work.

Last year, the average Apple user downloaded 51 Apps, and it is expected to grow up to 83 of the approximately 400.000 in 2011. And although the app industry is growing as of the increasing tablet market, just a few apps become killer apps.

The study states that less than 1% of apps published by global consumer and healthcare brands were downloaded more than a million times. Whereas, 80% of all brand apps found less than 1.000 people who downloaded it. However, chances are high that people download your app. The study findings say that 45% of consumers with a smartphone download an app at least once a week.

So why is it a challenge to find the rock star app? What makes it so difficult to leverage the brand impact through an app in the mobile market? What are companies doing wrong?

Well, basically most companies don’t think about the value add and the service that these brand apps are meant to provide. Deloitte states that if you obey the following criteria then the chances increase that your brand app reaches the top apps…

– Portability– 81%
– Accelerometer – 77%
– Sophisticated touch screen use – 61%
– Location-based services – 61%
– Camera – 59%

„The app market has some way to go before it rivals TV or the web for penetration, but it is of growing importance for brands. Brands view apps as a golden opportunity to communicate directly with consumers and in a more meaningful, long term manner. When brands get it right, the returns can be huge.“ Howard Davies, Media Partner, Deloitte

Which leads us to the question how to make things right, right?

Spot On!
First of all, companies need to understand that handing over an app to the customer is like a promise to care for the customer. It is not just another marketing or communication channel that brand can play around with – at least if mobile apps are not meant to get out of essential impact for business and web strategy in the future. If you as a brand manager think about some strategic approaches, I would be surprised if you don’t find the right „app fit“ for your customers. And if you bear in mind that the app shops are quite crowded already, you will not forget to promote the app. Otherwise nobody will find it…

Social Commerce – An impact on purchase decisions?

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Credits Picture: Penn Olson

Some weeks ago, someone said (and please comment here as I cannot access my elder tweets anymore) I might be the next and right expert to thing about social commerce of the future. OK, here we go… brief and based on studies as usual.

Many companies ask themselves if social commerce ist he next big thing and what impact it might have on the buying process of consumers. Let me give you two examples to think about social commerce visions with two of the latest studies that I came across in the last two days.

An optimistic view…
The E-Tailing Group Inc., sponsored by PowerReviews, finds in a research that one in two respondents say they spend 75% of their overall shopping time researching for products (compared to 21% last year). Customer reviews have the biggest impact on the decision to buy: 90% respond reviews have an impact on their decision; 60% say they’re the most important factor.

The report The 2011 Social Shopping Study finds that 29% of shoppers are turning to social networks to research products. However, only 18% of retailers in The E-tailing Group’s annual mystery shopping survey in the fourth quarter of 2010 feature customer reviews on their Facebook pages.

“People are willing to take the time to do research,” she says. “They will do anything to find the right price. (…) Social is emerging as a significant way that some consumers research products (…) The real question will be whether social media is adopted by most younger consumers and become a standard way consumers research products.” Lauren Friedman, President, The E-tailing Group

Some essential findings for social commerce future consideration…
– 59% say they read customer reviews (if on social platforms or not is not quantified)
– 42% access question-and-answer features that allow a consumer to pose and respond a/to question(s) to/of other shoppers
– 26% converse in community forums
– 15% view user-generated videos or create their own video
– 13% access a retailer or manufacturer’s Facebook page
– 9% monitor, respond to, or post tweets on Twitter.

A pessimistic aspect…
A representative study conducted by Havas Media and Lightspeed Research of 1.007 UK social networkers finds that 89% of respondents not having bought anything on Facebook. Above that, 44% of people are not even interested in doing so.

However, if the provider or manufaturer offers some special discount and deals, 77% of respondents are more likely to buy via Facebook shops. And targeting then becomes key: 70% of the people said, they would buy things from Facebook tht were based on their interests and prevous shopping behaviour (so business intelligence and data mining are welcome with consumers it seems). Also Location-Based Advertising (LBA) gets some impact then: 55% would even „check-in“ to a venue or stire via Facebook Places or Foursquare promotions.

Exclusivity is a main factor for social commerce according to the study. One quarter (25%) responding they would purchase a product on Facebook if it wasn’t available anywhere else, 22% make trust in a brand they know dependable on their buyiong process, and 17% said, they would purchase if it was easier than shopping via ecommerce solutions. Even, 11% stating they would buy something that was only offered to ‚fans‘ of a brand.

Brand advocates and brandvangelists are essential. The study shows the power of online recommendations and the influence of friends is essential for socail shopping. If friends recommend a brand, 53% of consumers were more likely to look up information about a brand. 17% were likely to buy from a brand if it was recommended by someone they knew.

And crowd shopping for discounts seems to become a trend. More than half of respondents were interested in getting together with friends to buy products in services in groups. 60% of males finding this opportunity compelling, compared with 48% of women. And women are generally speaking more „neutral“ and „negative“ when they see a brand on a social networking site (83%), according to the “Women & Brands Online: ‘The Digital Disconnect’ Emerges” study, from ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive’s “Women Channel”. Those same female Internet users responded they were more likely to be affected by coupons and discounts (41.6%).

Spot On!
Social Commerce is evolving to play a bigger role in the purchase decision process. And like in earlier offline ages, it is the social graph (friends and influencers) that make the important difference in my eyes. You buy from those people you trust (if they are the middlemen and know about it, or not). The studies show a clear trend: People, especially men while women being more difficult to affect with social branding activities, buy when they are addressed with the ads of the poeple they know and trust in. Brandvangelists are an essential factor that companies and brands need to consider embracing in their customer acquisition tactics when thinking about the future of their web strategy.

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