Social Networks are places where people congregate; making them great sources of Market Research and Revenue. As a result, Social networks are looking for new revenue streams. The latest revenue channel for them is E-commerce.
Facebook is partnering with Shopify to launch Facebook shops. The social network is the latest to get in on the E-Commerce business.
Last year at SMX East, Google and YouTube shared how they are allowing people to shop online for products. Google also shared people’s buying behavior. I have included parts of the article below.
In Google’s Keynote, I learned how businesses can get an edge during the holidays. I also learned of Google’s plan to use Google Images and YouTube for E-Commerce. Google is also allowing businesses to use location-based Ads in Google Maps.
The key insights of the presentation were:
1. According to Google most shopping visits start online.
2. When diners search for a great place to eat the searches are probably happening on a smartphone.
3. When people are online in cars, more than half of them are searching for information on a mobile device making localization and targeting important.
4. 2/3’s of shoppers say that online video has given them insight and inspiration to make purchases.
5. Shoppers use at least 3 channels or more when shopping.
6. Brands need to provide an omnichannel channel experience all year, especially during the holidays.
7. Sales are happening online and offline. As a result of this shift, Brands need to serve customers on the channels of their choice.
Would you shop on a Social Network? Share your thoughts.
When creating a new offering, I would offer a free or low-cost trial of your product to the end-users and industry experts. Consumers look for social proof before they buy a product. Now if the product is new, none exists. To lower buyer resistance, you need to make it low risk and feel safe.
In addition to market research and product testing; the free or low-cost trial is a great way to build trust and get feedback. Surveys can be created to ask potential customers about their experience.
If your product helps to solve a customer’s problem they will be more than happy to share it with others; converting to paying users! The product will earn testimonials and endorsements. Testimonials and endorsements will address product reliability creating: loyalty, brand recognition, and Sales for your product.
In place of a free or low-cost trial, a loss leader can be an option. A loss leader is when you offer a product at a loss or break-even point to gain business in the future. Supermarkets do this all of the time when a new product is rolled out.
Another place I saw loss leaders was when I was in Field Sales. I was selling Dental equipment at the time. Certain customers were loyal to certain types of equipment. When I ask why they stated that these were the tools that they had used in school. When I called on Dental schools and Hospitals, I found they were locked up with large contacts. My larger competitors sold the equipment at cost practically giving it away. Why would they do this? My competitors were creating life-long customers who were trained on certain tools and refused to switch.
Connection, trust, and advocacy are essential for customer acquisition. It is your job as a brand to turn your customer base into evangelists.
The decision on developing and implementing offering free, low-cost trials and/or loss leaders will be different for each product.
Free, low-cost trials and loss leaders help to Increase Sales and Customer Loyalty.
How have you used free, low-cost trials and loss leaders to create Sales and Customer Loyalty?
Word of Mouth is a top tool. What customers and prospects say about you determines your success. Word of Mouth Marketing is what your customers and prospects say about you when you are not around. In other words, it’s your reputation in the industry. The best part of this is that you can control Word of Mouth Marketing.
How do you leverage the power of Word of Mouth Marketing?
1. Help others in their time of need.
2. Offer Value to Customers We need to provide value to customers.
By providing value through your product or service, we can earn the right to ask for testimonials referrals from customers.
3. Testimonials: Letting customers speak for you
Prospects will believe what your customers’ say about you more than anything you say. Your customers could provide LinkedIn recommendations or video testimonials. These testimonials could be shared on your website and social networking sites like Yelp, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
4. Become an Industry Expert and Resource for Customers
Provide value to your customers and to improve your online word of mouth marketing by creating an e-zine, publish a blog and/or online newspapers.
I covered the Product Marketing Community event in New York. Product Marketing Community was founded by Product Marketers for Product Marketers.
Attendees of Product Marketing Community events take interactive workshops led by product marketing leaders and network with their peers.
The event covered how to: build and execute: go-to-market strategy, buyer insights, messaging and content and sales enablement.
Product Marketing Community founder Rowan Noronha kicked off the event.
Currently VP of Product Marketing for Zix, Rowan has led product marketing for North America (Office of the CFO) at SAP and Cognizant. He also serves as an Advisor to SAAS startups.
Here are takeaways on go-to-market strategy, developing buyer insights, and sales enablement.
Marketers need to develop and deploy a buyer-centric go-to-market strategy.
It is time for marketers to ask better questions about buyers.
Businesses should identify their ideal audience for their offering. Data from this analysis can be used to target better prospects and improve go-to-market results.
Only certain target customers will buy due to internal and external factors.
To grow revenue, businesses need to develop and use better competitive insights. Developing these insights entails examing everything about the competition to identify: strengths, weaknesses, competitor priorities, growing, and underserved markets.
Product Marketing involves more than just supporting the Marketing and Product Management teams. Product Marketers serve Marketing, Sales and Product teams. Each team has different needs and responsibilities. However, they all play a role in growing the business and serving customers.
Product Marketers serve as market experts and translators for teams from across the organization.
What is Product Marketing?
Product Marketing is the discipline of bringing a product to market and nurturing its success. Businesses need to create and market products people want to buy. To do that, they need to use the Pragmtic Framework.
Product Marketers are taking on some Product Manager responsibilities.
I covered Advertising Week in New York. Advertising Week is where the best minds of Marketing and Advertising meet to share and learn best practices.
Matt Scheckner Global CEO of Advertising Week shares his thoughts at the opening breakfast.
There were great panels and workshops.
My key takeaways from Advertising Week 2019 were:
Brands need to better understand emotional intelligence and be able to apply it to their content creation. Other emotions besides happiness drive purchases. Spencer Gerrol the CEO of Spark Neuro shares insights from a biometrics study on how emotion in content affects brand value.
Spencer also did a live demonstration showing how the brain responds to Ads in real-time.
2. According to Gary Vaynerchuk, Marketing is becoming more like Sales in terms of being results-driven. Brands will eventually need to create up to 500 pieces of content per day to engage the ever-increasing buyer personas and customers’ tastes. Gary also shared the idea that LinkedIn is the best platform for organic reach.
3. Brands need to organize their organizations around the customer journey and experience. Philips SVP of Digital Marketing and E-commerce Blake Cahill shared how the company is organizing and transforming around the Customer Journey. He provided actionable steps companies can take to better serve customers.
4. The funnel of today will look like a flywheel by 2030.
Brands need to use data and AI to better understand their customers. According to research conducted by Microsoft, only 20% of today’s marketers have a high customer experience quotient (CXQ). A high(CXQ) means that brands fully understand user intent to create their customer journey; improving their performance to increase customer engagement.
Why should Brands be Customer-Centric? Brands that were Customer-Centric saw a 45% increase in ROI/ROAS.
We will see the rise of the Chief Journey Officer or CJO.
Where are you on the Journey?
5. Brands need to understand the role of Social Media in Customer Journey and how it impacts customer buying habits and decisions.
Businesses need to improve how they use Social Listening
and Analytics tools to understand customer intent.
A framework needs to define and address KPIs at each touch-point in the customer journey.
Why is this important?
More Marketers believe Social Listening is important.
6. Brands need to apply design thinking to cultivating empathy for end-users, interpreting and framing problems they experience, creative solution generation, and continuous prototyping and testing. The goal is to provide creative solutions for the end-user.
7. Brands need to listen and understand the customers of tomorrow. It is not just about Gen Z but Gen Alpha. Gen Alpha will be more active on social issues and more open to challenging the status quo than Gen Z.
8. According to Samsung Ads, with the rise of the Connected TV, Brands will be able to track and measure the effectiveness of their TV ads, similar to online advertising. Targeted TV is of critical use for advertisers because TV is viewed on Mobile, Desktop, Native Smart TV and Display. Advertisers expect to be able to track customers across platforms while producing ROI/ROAS reports just like online advertising.
9. Televised sports will increase its presence in Television programming. Soon, Sports Betting will be Televised according to CEO Chris Ripley of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Eventually, gamblers will be able to view Sporting events and place bets in real-time over their Smart TV and/or connected devices. This will provide gamblers with great customer experience.
10. Any business can use technology and creativity to: build community, start and scale an eCommerce business, create content and campaigns that convert.
Facebook’s Mark D’Arcy, CCO and VP of Global Business Marketing showed how to do this using Facebook.
Mark also spoke on Facebook’s social initiative Boost with Facebook. Boost with Facebook helps break down socioeconomic barriers by offering people the chance to up-skill on everything from using Facebook to finding a job. Boost with Facebook is a combination of online learning and live workshops.
Advertising Week 2019 was a great event. I want to thank everyone that made the event possible. On a personal note, I want to thank Matt Scheckner the Global CEO of Advertising Week and the Sunshine Sachs Communications team for having me as their guest.
I covered the Digital Marketing World Forum in New York this past week.
There were great discussions on Digital and Social Marketing. The topics ranged from the customer journey, customer experience, customer retention, personalization, using data, and privacy legislation.
My key insights were:
1. To improve customer retention, brands need to understand their customers to personalize their experiences across all touchpoints. Marketers from different verticals shared how they were able to improve customer loyalty and retention by personalizing and creating customer experiences across all touchpoints.
2. Many times, customer data tells a story that contradicts preconceived hunches and opinions. Marketers from T-Moblie and Decoded found this out when they marketed Cell Phone plans to the 55+ community.
3. Marketers have the tools to better understand their customers and to track the results of their efforts faster than ever before. These tools empower marketers to improve the customer journey and experience. With this power comes the obligation to better serve their customers and to quickly pivot when their tactics and strategies are not effective. Marketers with different products and services shared their stories and strategies
4. Companies that are going to use Chatbots to serve customers need to train Chatbots to handle complex requests from customers. Chatbots should not be used to answer questions like the hours of a store or simple information that can be obtained from a website.
5. Privacy Legislation similar to GDPR is coming to the United States. Laws in California and Nevada are being enacted in 2020. OneTrust shared how Marketers can prepare and comply with the Californa Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
I covered Voice Summit last week at NJIT in Newark, New Jersey. Voice Summit is the largest voice tech conference that brings the conversational design ecosystem together in one place.
Last year was the first Voice Summit. It was amazing to see how the industry has advanced in the past year. This year, the conference grew to over 5,000 attendees!
Voice Summit was a great place to network. Many Voice Startups demoed their offerings as well.
Founder Pete Erikson shares the story of Voice in the opening press conference. Pete shared the podium with Voice industry leaders and Newark Civic Leadership.
The conversation in Voice has shifted from should brands have a Voice Strategy to how to effectively incorporate voice technology across the organization. Attendees had opportunities to attend hands-on voice workshops on topics ranging from creating brand guidelines to building a voice strategy from the ground up. I took the Voice strategy workshop conducted by Brett Kinsella of VoiceBot.Ai. We received a workbook that had questions that served as building blocks to build our voice strategy.
I had was able to get a look at the Expo Floor where I was able to meet exhibitors and explore the Amazon Smart Home. It was amazing to see how voice technology has transformed the home experience. In this video, I was able to ask Alexa to play Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and to play music, etc.
Marketers have many opportunities with Voice and Audio Content according to Voices.com research. Content takes the form of short and long-form ranging from Flash Briefings up to Audiobooks.
However, when it comes to smart speakers only, 18% of users discover skills from brand advertising according to Vixen Labs.
Brands need to prepare to change their Marketing and Advertising for Voice. A panel shared their thoughts on how to improve how to achieve this aim.
Edison Research and NPR conducted market research on the topic of smart speaker customer behavior. The number of smart speakers in U.S. homes grew 78% from December of 2017 to December. The research packed with data you can see here.
Brett Kinsella led a panel where Marketers shared how they have developed and implemented their strategy for Voice.
Steve Keller of Pandora shared his thoughts on the topic of Sonic Branding and Sound Business.
On a side note, NJIT was nice enough to provide me with a tour of the start-up incubator and co-working space opening this September. I was able to see areas being built from the ground up just as startups are.
I also was able to see the Alexa Cup which is Amazon’s initiative to pair Marketers and developers to work on projects such as Female Empowerment and Mental Health.
What touched me on a human level was the closing keynote entitled “A journey through a deaf developer’s eyes.” In this keynote, Thomas Chappell of Prudential shared his story. Thomas is unable to speak.
After his talk, I was able to meet him. People communicate with him using Voice to speech technology and American Sign language. I was able to use the technology on a smartphone to have a full conversation with him.
Voice Summit was an amazing conference. I want to thank Pete Erikson, the Modev Team, NJIT, the City of Newark, and the State of New Jersey for having me as their guest.
Seth Godin’s new book This is Marketing sums up the lessons of his previous books.
In the past Marketing was Advertising. Many Brands and businesses used to buy ads to interrupt prospects in the hope that people would buy. However, with so many media channels, the advertising of yesterday has lost its effect.
What this means for Marketers is that they need to build trust, engagement, community and earn permission to contact prospects and customers. With the ever-increasing privacy legislation such as GDPR, Marketers will pay a high price for SPAM.
Also, today there are many micro-markets of products and services as opposed to one mass-market. Frequency has surpassed reach in terms of effectiveness. Marketers need to tell a compelling story that resonates with the people they seek to serve.
Marketers need to improve their knowledge of customers to enhance the customer experience and engagement. Brands need to have conversations with customers as opposed to talking at them.
Ideas that jumped out at me while reading and listening to the book
Seth dissects Marketing, showing the reader that today’s successful marketer is generous and gives value to the customer as opposed to stealing their attention.
Chapter 19, the chapter on funnels is very interesting because it shows how to look at the funnel in a new way.
Seth explains how to shorten the sales cycle by making it easier for prospects to engage and purchase a product.
He demonstrates how to do funnel math to see if and when marketers should advertise using paid ads along with how to know if ads will pay for themselves.
In this chapter, Seth shows how marketers should focus on serving micro-markets as opposed to the mass market.
This idea is illustrated in Jeff Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm. Seth takes this concept, and explains how to move a product from micro-markets to the mass market but surprises the reader by demonstrating that marketers can be successful by catering to a micro-market.
Seth illustrates this in the long tail concept where he shows that hits are exceptions to the rule. Instead he shows that selling a lot of different products to different people is the way that most marketers will find success today and in the future.
What is next in Marketing? Comment and share.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Seth on two occasions. Here are videos and pictures of the talks.
65 % of Consumers say their loyalty is influenced by companies sending personalized messages.
52% of Customers are likely to switch from a brand if they do not make an effort to personalize communications to them.
Customers need a consistent experience with Brands across all touch points.
Retail Shoppers that click recommendations spend 5 times more per visit.
79 % of Salespeople who use Social Media to sell outperform those that don’t.
Here is a Keynote from Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff.
Salesforce does a great job of providing information on industry trends. Everyone who attends Salesforce World Tour and/or Dreamforce is a Trailblaizer. The company brings people together and builds a community.
What insights do you use to make Sales and Marketing decisions?