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Author Archive: Blur Marketing

Blur Marketing

blur Marketing is where businesses and agencies from around the world source creative marketing services and campaigns including digital, social media, viral, branding and experiential marketing as well as traditional marketing communications, PR and advertising campaigns. blur Marketing is part of blur Group, the world’s largest Creative Services Exchange where businesses and brands brief their requirements and a Crowd of professional Creatives pitch to deliver the services. Join hundreds of brands like FT, Gala Coral, JustGiving, Wow Toys, CNN, Travelex and Harvey Nichols who have submitted briefs with us.

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Does Your Chocolate Egg Choice Reflect Your Social Media Strategy?

For some parts of the world this is the season of the chocolate egg, and like most chocolate goodies there’s no limit to the variety on offer. So on the basis that the egg did a pretty good job for Jack Dorsey, we thought we’d see what your chocolate leanings might suggest about your social media tendencies – and those of the brand you’re looking after.


Easter Egg Social Media

The hugely flamboyant egg: you’ve all seen these chocolate delights. The size of a small child  and with more ribbons and decorations than a General. If this is the one that draws you to the shelf, it’s probable that you’re big on social media. At least in terms of splash. Yes – you have packed out Pinterest boards. Your FB wall is a mass of likes, and you really love updating your Twitter background on a daily basis. Probably with some instagrammed pics. But a word of warning. Ever been disappointed when you crack into those eggs and there’s no goodies inside? And the chocolate is a little disappointing. That’s the social strategy without some supporting deep content behind it. Make sure you’re not falling into the ‘presence is everything’ trap.


Exquisitely expensive: the boutique chocolatier egg. It’s the 95% chocolate solids, the truffle filling, luxurious experience. If this is your choc choice, you’re probably equally selective on your social media outputs. You rarely follow back and would certainly never join the celeb groupies. Your brand needs to be protected, wrapped up in that color-coordinated tissue paper. Your updates are thought out, run through an approval process and your content is highly relevant and carefully planned. And the downsides to this elite social approach? In protecting your brand, you may also be making it too aloof. While this may seem the right strategy for the luxury market you’re in, it may also mean you’re not seeing how your customers are attracted to more engaging and informal conversations from less heady rivals. Don’t make exclusivity stop your listening ears from working.


Small and sweet: the classic egg with a sweet filling. Just like the egg is designed to be easy to buy and instantly gratifying – you probably love the quick returns that social media can bring. Instant responses. Quick feedback from your customer communities. A lively but sometimes short-lived experience. Make sure that in going for the quick social wins, you don’t overlook some of the longer engagements that will really see you deliver ROI. Enjoy the taste but make sure your audience has reason to come back for more, and that you’re not just a seasonal treat.


BOGOF deals: where the price is as important as the taste. We’ve all rushed into the shops and decided that getting more for our money is more important than what we’re buying. When we worry about our marketing budgets we’re often tempted by the same approach  - and in turn think that making our business all about promotions is going to be great for customer acquisition. It is but promotion doesn’t necessarily mean loyalty. As they redeem your online offer, the customers are also following rival brands to benefit from the same.


Personalized: the eggs with your name delicately iced on it and made from your favourite treats. You know what we’re going to say here: the fact that having something which is really customised to your requirements is the holy grail of all forms of marketing. As you build out your social media strategies and channels do you do the personal test? Is this something that your customer really thinks is aimed at them? Or is it just an off-the-shelf message that is more hit and hope? Of course social isn’t as 1:1 as some channels, but you can make it so by being responsive, listening and acting.


Faberge: not chocolate but the eggs that we all dream about. And really wouldn’t you like to think that your social marketing was not just something that lasted, but something memorable, highly desirable and recognized by all. If that’s what you really want, rather than sugar and calories, why not brief the Exchange today? Social Media Marketing is now the top skill among our marketing experts and agencies.



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Friday5: TV production veteran Rodney Myers

Rodney Myers is a 25 Year Veteran of Video and Television Production. He founded Digital Rain, llc in 1998 and has worked in news, advertising, broadcasting and corporate video environments. His work focus on engaging viewers through compelling video narrative, in a variety of formats.


1. You’ve won Four Emmy Awards and a Star award from the Indie Film and TV Competition – what piece of work are you most proud of?


I know this will sound cliche, but I am proud of every project that I do, but two projects stick out from the rest, partially because I came up with the idea and have developed and produced them. First is “Hey! Danville”. I relocated myself and my business to Danville, Indiana in May of 2011. I realized quickly I needed to create a market, as much as sell to one, so I created something that would be sample of the kind of work I do. “Hey! Danville” was born, and is a web series that shows off things going on in Danville, Indiana. Not only has this been promotional device for more business, but this kind of generosity to the community has helped me earn the nomination of Business Leader of the Year by the Danville Chamber of Commerce.



Another project I am proud of is Two Wheel Travels. My other passion is motorcycling, and I have always wanted to combine the two into something I could making living. I have done several samples and even a short pilot. Currently, I am developing the concept to make it more viable for certain cable television outlets.


2. Digital Rain focuses on telling stories to forge an emotional connection – would you say that every subject has a story?

The majority of my clients are small and medium sized businesses, they have been, and are very intimate with their businesses, so they know the story. My challenge is taking their enthusiasm and creating a video that is engaging to their audience. In the world of Online Video, I don’t have a lot of time to tell their story, so it has be concise, as well.
One of the great things about doing what I do, I learn a little about a lot of different types of businesses.


3. What kind of equipment do you use to film?

Lol, the Film thing has been a pet peeve, I have never done anything on film. A lot of people today say can you tape this for me, but I don’t use tape anymore either! This year Digital Rain, llc purchased a Panasonic AG-AC7 Full HD Camera, and we won a GoPro Hero2, and every thing they make for it, in a contest on Facebook. I have video production partners that can get me anything I need to shoot on, so for some projects I rent their gear. That way I don;t have to worry about covering all the formats that are out there, and I don’t have to have an inventory of tripods, lenses, jibs, etc. If I need it, I can get access to anything from a Red to Production Truck with up six cameras.


Digital Rain, llc also has an Adobe CS 5.5 Suite with Premiere, After Effects, Audition, Photoshop, and the rest of the Creative Suite Package. We are a Full Service Video Production Company, we can take any project from Script to Screen.


4. What kind of benefits can marketing through online video bring to a business?

A lot of people don’t know that an online video can bring them a lot of benefits before anyone even sees the video. All search engines are optimized to show searchers websites that have video. This can raise you up higher in the results. In addition, web surfers are 53 times more likely to click on a search engine result with a video on the web page.
Once on your page, viewers stay longer, one of the reasons for ranking higher in search engines. We all know that if someone stays longer on your page, they are more likely to buy from you. Video is also more convincing than any other form of media. We all know that people buy from those they Know, Like and Trust, and besides being in person, video is the next best thing. Plus, you can’t be available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, around the corner, and around the world.



5. What are the elements that make a video go viral on youtube?

I get emails telling me that they can make my videos go viral. I liken it to telling people that I can show them how to buy a winning lottery ticket. We just never know what will make people swarm to something. For every video that goes viral, there are many others similar videos that go nowhere. You can increase your chances, but there are no guarantees.


bonus question: Why do you think that the Gangnam style dance video was so immensely popular?

People just like to see odd things. Think back to do the day when the Circus was the big entertainment, and tent with the bearded lady, the shortest man, etc. that is where everyone flocked. We like things that are shocking and funny. America’s Funniest Videos still shows us that we like it when a guy gets hit in the crotch. It is all about the show, and he does the full show, and the Can’t Touch This performance was even more great showmanship.  P.T. Barnum, of Cicus Show Fame,  knew this value; I would think he would be a pretty successful YouTuber.


To find more experts just like Rodney, going submit a brief and find just the right expert for you


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4 Ps of Marketing – time for a rewrite

As marketers we’ve all at some point learnt those 4 Ps – Product, Price, Place and Promotion – to drive our marketing efforts. But let’s be truthful, they’re great when we’re starting a new product process, or when we’re in detailed planning and strategy mode. How relevant are they to today’s digital world where agility is key and Performance is everything – and where programs happen constantly, new products less frequently?


Here’s our take on the new 4Ps – they’re more Pertinent, Practical and Pragmatic.

Purpose: For so many businesses their product is no longer a product. It’s a service; it’s a digital delivery; it’s enhancing a customer’s capability. Focus on the purpose of  what you’re going to deliver and develop from there. Your proposition should be derived from this.


Presence: You have to decide where you’re going to be. Are you a digital company, a social company, above or below the line or a mix of all channels. Once you’ve decided you have to be wholehearted: make every dollar count and be accountable. Placement is only part of the story: maximizing your presence is everything.


Pivot: Although it’s been the domain of the early-stage business needing to make a prompt about turn, pivot is part of marketing. There’s a need to be more agile and address, almost instantaneously, the rapidly changing needs of your audience. Factor in how you can change direction in a positive way as you plan and embrace a shorter-term, project-oriented approach to your marketing. 


Personalization: With customers more concerned about convenience than brand loyalty, the way that you’ll ensure they do stay close to you is to stay close to them. Develop content that’s relevant to them at an individual level, outline the purpose in a personal way and engage with them as individuals, even if you have a b2b proposition. This is the crux of social media - without it, you’ll just be broadcasting noise.


Part of our purpose at blur Marketing is another P – the Project concept. Think in terms of discrete projects to deliver against your marketing objectives, rather than the behemoth campaign. If you’re keen to find marketing experts from around the world to help implement your plans and make sure your marketing is right on track, then why not brief your project now?


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How to Create a Positive Social Media Reputation

social media network

Transparency is required in today’s marketing, especially with social media.  The danger marketers and businesses experience with social and online portals is from the lack of control over the reputation of a business.  Consumers have more opportunities to review and provide strong opinions about a product or company.  The alert every business needs to show is how to develop a strong online reputation while keeping a positive image with social media platforms. 


The development of Web 2.0 and social media created an open invitation for everyone to participate, interact and respond to ideas.  Social media has developed a new way to deliver social information and news, businesses and the top stories and gossip.  More than ever, people have complete control over media and news as well as trends in information that are hitting the headlines, specifically because the platform remains open.  While companies can take advantage of this word of mouth advertising, there is also the need to develop different approaches to building a strong online reputation. 


The complexity for businesses occurs with consumer control and behaviors over social media, specifically with blatant statements related to a brand or product.  An example of this is with a business that had a strong reputation through brand identity.  However, a product was delivered that did not hold the quality.  The customer immediately responded by posting online, leading to responses and reviews from other consumers.  The business, while it held high quality services and products, quickly loses control through the interactions and social information, leading to a slight loss in brand identity.  This is a common problem faced with the use of social media and the information that filters through to potential customers.


Marketers and businesses are required to take this challenge and turn it into an opportunity with social media as a new form of advertising.  Developing specific responses from consumer behaviors that are positive is the secret to creating control over social media.  Businesses can utilize social media and gain a strong reputation over consumer behaviors by using some of the following:

-          Interact daily with customers

-          Optimize existing social media and websites with in – depth information about your products or services

-          Build promotions with customers who have positive experiences

-          Allow your customers to move from basic purchases to loyalty programs

-          Work with your own social media network to enhance the foundation of your business with information and personalization


The interaction of consumer behavior also means marketers need to have a strong and personal response to the behaviors.  As a business responds to and becomes a part of the social media conversation, a different impression is made.  More important, there is the need to have quality checks with the products and services while asking for positive reviews.  The level of interaction and personalization created with social media then develops into creating a strong and positive reputation. 

If you and your business want to develop your social media behaviors, then submit your brief to the Exchange!


Brooke Hart is one of our new blog contributors. The owner of On Target, a company which specializes in offering the Complete Package to clients. Hart began On Target over 6 years ago with an emphasis in writing content for the web. From this foundation, she grew into developing efficient ways to market and work with forming businesses online. Today, On Target works with entrepreneurs and businesses to develop websites, graphics, content and website design.

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12 things every marketer should know about the new Facebook timelines
Facebook logoThis is the first blog from one of our new contributors, Tonya Walker, who is a creative at blur Marketing.  Tonya Walker is a writer and experienced marketing professional. She founded Tonya Walker Marketing Group, LLC in 2008 and works across a diverse range of industries. Walker earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from St. Louis University and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland University College.
Facebook is essential to every brand’s social media strategy and they have made big changes that affect the way marketers communicate with the public. The new Facebook timelines literally display user’s life stories from the time of birth to current day. As marketers, we must be able to leverage Facebook timelines to increase brand visibility and reach.

Here’s what you need to know:
  1. Although it has not been confirmed, Facebook has indicated that timelines may be coming to brand pages soon.
  1. Users have the option of sharing links on their own timeline, on a friend’s timeline, with a group, on a page they have administrative rights to, or in a private message.
  1. News feed content, not to be confused with ticker updates, is displayed based on an Open Graph algorithm that factors in the popularity, recency of the post, and the user’s activity history. Post compelling and engaging content more often to increase visibility.
  1. Historically, Open Graph only applied to websites and pages. With the new timelines, it now applies to applications/apps. Apps are now more interactive and integrated into the social networking experience. In a nutshell, user’s networks will see their app activity in their tickers and it may appear in newsfeeds and on timelines depending on usage and settings.
  1. ‘Likes’ instantly appear in friend’s tickers. Make sure you are asking users to ‘Like’ your brand page. With the help of customized landing pages you can also generate and qualify leads.
  1. Users ‘Check In’ when they visit a businesses physical location. ‘Check Ins’ are displayed in a user’s ticker for their entire network to see. This feature is only available to businesses that list physical addresses on Facebook.
  1. Users can feature stories or links on their timeline. This means the content will appear in a large rectangular box that occupies both sides of the timeline increasing the content’s visibility to the user’s network.
  1. Users have complete control over what is shown in their timelines and who is able to view it.
  1. Applications allow users to feature their activities (ie. listening to music, reading a book, watching movies, etc.). Apps update when used and activities are displayed in the network’s ticker.
  1. Frequent posts increase your content’s visibility. B2B marketers must also remember that Facebook is always accessible so the standard work week does not apply. Make sure you are engaging prospects and customers after work hours and on the weekends with useful content.
  1. Users can choose to display a large cover photo at the top of their timelines above their profile pictures. Check out how Mountain Dew is taking advantage of timeline cover photos.
  1. The ticker displays user activity to everyone in his or her network. This can work for or against you. Be engaging and monitor social activity.

How has your Facebook marketing strategy changed since the introduction of timelines? Have you discovered new ways to use timelines to your advantage?  
Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments section and don’t forget: if you want help with your Facebook and social media marketing it’s time to brief the Exchange.

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Three simple 2012 marketing resolutions

2012 has started. We’ve taken down the holiday decorations from our offices and realize that the plan we signed off last year is now live. So whatever your marketing mix, your marketing skills, your target audience, here’s three things that we should all resolve to do.

1. Understand your data. Big data is the big topic. Don’t be the marketer who’s scared of data: resolve to drive the data that’s going to change your business. Collect, collate and use the data that makes a difference to your marketing and sales efforts. Your CRM system, your customer databases, your prospect profiles: work out what it is you need to know and then how you’re going to use it and report on it. And don’t think that if you’re not a consumer marketer it doesn’t count: b2b profiling is going to change the way we market and sell.

2. Measure, measure, measure. You know we’re still hovering around a recession. So your marketing spend is going to be under constant threat. And what’s the way to avoid that. Be able to address every area of scrutiny. Focus on your acquisition costs. Focus on your return on investment. Understand the value of your social likes and fans. Every day Google Analytics, Adwords gets easier to use. All social channels now have straightforward reporting tools. If your media is more traditional then understand the journey from an outbound activity to an incoming customer. Be prepared to ditch non-performing channels and divert to areas you’re seeing returns. Resolve to not just be a marketing magician, but a marketing mathematician.

3. Love creativity. Going down the ruthlessly scientific, data-obsessed pathway is not at the expense of creativity. In fact creativity is going to count even more as you aim to stand out from the crowd in every channel that you’re using. Make your resolution to look for creative excellence. It doesn’t have to mean a huge spend on off-the-wall creative. It must mean original and effective. Your story has to be told in the most compelling way so that the first two resolutions can happen. Without creativity, you won’t get the results to measure or the data to analyze and own.

And a final resolution – make this the year you start using the Creative Services Exchange. That way you’ll keep the cost of your campaigns down, the creativity up and that return on investment figure will make even the grumpiest CFO happy. Brief now!

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Should companies block social media – guest post

Today’s blog post is by Darren Cottom, experienced PR consultant and one of our Exchange members at blur Marketing.

Over the last few months we have seen a spate of news headlines indicating that more companies are blocking the use of social media in the workplace. Is this down to an Orwellian sense of paranoia surrounding new technologies or is there a business rationale behind these decisions?

In a new survey, 63% of more than 4,000 respondents in 12 countries said that social media in the workplace represents a serious security risk, yet only 29% report having the necessary security controls in place to mitigate it. This theory is backed up by a piece in the Wall Street Journal, where it is alleged that corporate spies are increasingly likely to use malware and social media to steal sensitive data and intellectual property.

So is the answer to block all use of social media channels in the hope that this will alleviate a new security risk? The answer is emphatically no. Companies that enforce such a policy will do so under the pretence that you’re here to work and keeping in touch with your friends and family is not what we pay you to do, and anyway you’re putting our data at risk, so it’s banned.

The philosophy of blocking doesn’t work on a number of levels. Firstly, the majority of those in their 20s in the workforce would have been educated online and social media is ingrained in their psyche, to prevent them from using it may be seen as a violation of their human rights. Well, probably not, but you get the gist. Secondly, social media is now a proven new business and customer engagement tool, to stop using it would be tantamount to throwing money down the drain. Thirdly, if you ban something, employees will just find a way around the policy and in doing so will probably put sensitive data more at risk.

Finally, it’s a communications channel, in a number of previous blogs I’ve banged the drum that social media is nothing more than this; it’s just another method of conveying thoughts and wisdoms to the outside world, if you put a gagging order in place the outcome can only be negative.

Business needs to move with the times, we do so much online now that organizations need to adapt and look to embrace new ways of working rather than pulling down the blinds and turning off all the lights.

If you’d like the sort of PR and social media expertise that Darren and similar creatives can provide, why not brief the Exchange now?

Luddite (noun) any opponent of industrial change or innovation.

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Friday 5 – Connections, networks, real and social

This week’s Friday 5 comes ahead of a big event in the social media calendar: the Pivotcon conference in New York. We talk with friend of blur Group, a driver behind Pivotcon and the man described by Fastcompany as a ‘media powerhouse’, Bill Sobel.

You describe yourself as a Chief Connections Officer – apart from an amazing title what does that really mean?

It’s really a nice way of saying that I am a networker…but beyond networking I seem to have the ability to match people and projects. A small company wants to bring a project to market and not she exactly where to take it…chances are likely I can connect them with the right people. On the flip side, a large media company might be looking to launch a new controversial show or product and needs to figure out a way to get the product to market without involving some huge marketing company. I have the ability to put the team together to get the job done both cost effectively as well as on target.

In the world of making connections, how do you see the balance of social and in-real-life networking?
it is a total balance…you cannot have one without the other. I have lots of “friends” on the various social networks and we correspond often…however the “real” people in my life (aside from my close family and friends) are people who I know personally, give them a hug when I see them (doesn’t matter if they are male or female) and we know each other, we understand each others needs, strengths and weaknesses and support each other…while at the same time always making time for a cup of coffee.

And which is best for making and cementing business?

Again…I think it’s a mix. I think online connections is a great way to get the ball rolling…people check out your website, your fb page, your twitter feed, your LI connectctions and get an idea of who you are and what you do in order to see if you make sense for them…either now or in the future. Then I always recommend a face-to-face meeting…just to get to know each other…you cannot beat that one-on-one connection…I don’t care how good skype might be…the face-to-face is key.

If you had just one network to take with you to your desert island, which would it be?

Personal? probably Facebook

Business? probably Linked In

What’s the most exciting development that you’ve seen in the last ten years?
the rise of social media and the intersection of all the various platforms. It amazes me how much work I can get accomplished at home, on the train, in the park…or even walking down Broadway

Pivotcon, which you’re heavily involved in, takes place next week. Why is this event so different in a busy events calendar?
PivotCon and the whole Social Week is really trying to take the high road. There are lots of social media events going on around town…around the country and around the world. PivotCon and Social Week are special because we are catering to the high level executives (“C” level for example) who have decision power but still are not entirely sure about social media and their comfort factor. Brian Solis gets it, Jeff Hayzlett gets is, Doug Rushkoff gets it…and we have gathered all these people…and many others the really break down the world of social media so these guys can understand what it’s all about  and what it means to them and their companies.

and our usual bonus question (yes that makes seven questions in the Friday 5):
Print book, iPad or Kindle?  And what’s the last book you’ve read!
The Digital Diet by Daniel Sieberg on my Samsung Galaxy Tab.

If you’re attending Pivotcon, let us know how you find the event. And if you want the dream approach for your event, why not submit a marketing brief?

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Farewell to the Complacent Marketing Officer: IBM CMO Study thoughts

Here’s some immediate thoughts that spring to my mind from a first reading the amazingly comprehensive survey of CMOs in 2011 by IBM published today.

Scary data. It seems that twenty years after information overload became the issue on the C-Suite desk data volumes are taking over the marketing department. And the symptoms and solutions are the same. It’s great to have the volume of data, but how do you turn that into insight. Remember the old information to knowledge shift. It seems that for a marketing department to have any hope of success in the future we need to move into a hybrid maths/marketing discipline. Analytical skills are going to be vital in the marketing team of the future.

And the reason for the insight requirement:

Customers are individuals not ‘markets‘. As CMOs we still like to draw on large benchmarking type studies (well I guess this is what we’re doing here). But as the interactions with consumers increase, then so must our knowledge of them as individuals. It’s why social media is also in the ‘not really dealt with’ category. Social media not only creates the volumes of data that are causing the CMO concern, but it’s the direct representation of everything about that individual consumer. Here’s how I’d describe it. If the brand is the communication cable between the company and its customer, then social media has made that cable short, taut and like the best cables, made up of many strands. The consumer sees themselves as up close and personal, the CMO has to recognize just how close they are and start engaging on this basis. Because that cable is going to get shorter and thicker.

Tied in with all this is the ever-increasing need for technology. The perceived risk in the study is that without technology knowledge, implementing new systems is going to reduce ROI. But without them – whether it’s a way to safeguard customer data, a way to mine that data, analytics software, the function will not be a future-thinking one.

ROI. The other stand out feature and something we’ve blogged about on many an occasion. Marketing’s status as the ivory tower function is no more. PeopleThe business expects results. That analysis function goes further as the value of every aspect of marketing to the business needs to be calculated. That taut cable? What does it mean in terms of customer acquisition? What does each interaction mean in financial terms? Where do you get value for money? It’s not about number of hits, it’s about what each touchpoint means. I was taught on day one in marketing that there is no point in marketing for awareness only. Yet we’ve all been guilty of excusing a campaign with little return as saying that it’s upped our brand recognition. So what. That brand recognition now needs measuring too. And it needs measuring with a view to how recognition turns into revenues.

More outsourcing. The desire to become more engaged, the requirement to understand more about everything from lead measurement to new digital strategies means that businesses will outsource more to partners. That means agencies need to acquire new skills too. It seems from our perspective that the combination of improving ROI and needing to gain more skills by partnership is just what the Creative Services Exchange was built for. Easy access, fast turnaround could get the nervous CMO up to speed faster than they would have dreamt possible.

I’m sure more thoughts will arise as I re-read, but overall my reading of this is survey is that it’s part confession, part recognition but most of all an end to CMO standing for Complacent Marketing Officer. C is for Change, C is for Customer. Both are critical for future success.

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Lead nurturing – 10 tips to decide if it’s right for your marketing

Having understood a little bit more about the whys of marketing automation, you have to decide if your business and marketing team are ready for it. And if you decide to go for it, what are the tools to use? Here’s ten of the basic things you need to understand and act upon before you make the final decision.

1. Set clear stages for your customer journey. You make a first contact with someone who knows nothing about you. They may respond. If they do, they are potentially of more value than the person who doesn’t. But what happens next. What is the profile of the interested contact who then goes all the way through to the customer. Do they download every document? Do they send emails to your info address? Or do the ones that convert actually have a very streamlined process to close. Don’t try to automate if you haven’t modelled. If you can’t explain the lifecycle with pen and paper, you’re not ready.

2. Develop appropriate offerings for each stage. You might send out an intro email with basic links for step one. If someone is interested, you might want to make sure they have a white paper (b2b) or the latest catalog (b2c). Your follow up to the first contact should include this offer. You might want to direct them to your FB page.

If they’re not interested,  you have to work out whether to just repeat the basic offering until it matches their needs. Or develop some alternatives. Invite them to meet you at an exhibition. Send them out your newsletters, not just your prospect mailings. Change the sender so that it seems more personalized. Monitor how they respond. Map the stage to the content and alternatives.

3. Email isn’t enough. Because most of the automation tools include email it’s easy to think that automation and lead management are all about email. They’re not. An interested prospect will want some sort of direct contact – phone or visit. This is part of the journey.

4. Understand why some buy and some don’t. Nothing new here, but you do need to work out at what stage a potential buyer drops out, or why the go all the way. Do they get put off at a point of purchase on an ecommerce platform. Do they fall out due to a competitive sale? By understanding the profile of the successful buyer, you will start to recognize them at the beginning of the journey. This is when lead scoring counts: someone who has all the characteristics of a previous buyer should score more highly, even if some of their behaviors aren’t yet evident.

5. Start simply. Regardless of the system you are implementing, you won’t be able to work everything out and make it happen on day 1. Take the broadest approach first that maps out the basics. Don’t put data collection forms in at every point. Those sites where you want to download three white papers and you have to register for each paper – they’re annoying?  They may mean that the company wants to label you (and score you) in the system as a once-downloader, twice-downloader etc. But it’s not great for your experience. So consider how those interactions feel from the other side.

6. Segmentation is your new friend. For most marketers segmentation starts at the market planning stage; you develop your approach according to your audience and off you go.  Monitor their interaction and then re-segment based on responses. The different segments will score differently. A broad segment is narrowed for its next communication; it’s handled differently.

7. Give up sometimes. If you have a database of prospects who have already shown an interest in your product at some level – eg expressed that they want to buy pet insurance, then at some point they will buy. Not necessarily from you, but they will buy. These are the ones you want to nurture. Ignored because they didn’t fill out one form, they’ll probably go elsewhere. But there are some who will never move past being a name on a database. And at some point you are simply skewing success measurements. Make a break point. Decide when to stop communicating based on a number of failed touch points.

8. Don’t forget customers. Just because someone has come to the end of the funnel/tunnel/production line/shopping checkout doesn’t mean that they should now fall out of the mix. Start scoring customers as well. Then you can feed this right back to the beginning so that not only can you score prospect behavior but score based on what sort of purchaser they become.

9. Make sure any tools you use integrate with your existing systems. For most people implementing marketing automation they will already have components like CRM systems in place. The information here is already valuable. So it makes no sense to restart from scratch. The major players in the market, like Eloqua, Marketo,, Pardeto integrate with the major SFA/CRM systems like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.

10. Be sure it’s right for you. While CRM undoubtedly works for even the smallest company, marketing automation requires considerable investment in terms of time and budget, with most solutions aimed at mid-sized businesses and upwards. The figures for improvements in conversions and cost to convert are hugely impressive, but be sure that you will see that return on your investment. Lead nurturing and scoring is still seen as more successful in the b2b arena, so if you’re a consumer marketer, perhaps your existing techniques will pay more dividends.

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