understanding marketing foundations and best practices
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understanding marketing foundations and best practices

there’s an old saying if you don’t know
where you’re going any road will take you there
unfortunately this mindset has grown prevalent in the AIDS of social
marketing surveys show that many brands are unsure how to execute an effective
integrated marketing communication strategy and even less sure how to
measure their success to get the most out of your IMC efforts start with a
SWOT analysis which stands for your brand strengths weaknesses opportunities
and threats central to this conversation is one question what specifically are
you trying to accomplish with your marketing strategy first we start with
strengths what is your brand good at you’d be surprised how many brands don’t
know the best brands however highlight their strengths in every marketing
message for instance because of good branding we all know that Apple is good
at innovation Disney is good at family experiences and McDonald’s is good at
creating the same customer experience at every location across the globe if
you’re unsure of your own strengths use customer and employee surveys analyze
your capabilities determine your resources and study your processes this
fresh data will also help you with our second item weaknesses as we all learn
from the story of Achilles in Greek mythology it’s important to understand
your weaknesses and to protect against them because ignoring them could be
fatal often turning a weakness into a strength is easier than you think you
just have to listen look at Lego for instance for years people complained
that they didn’t support fan communities or offer more kits featuring pop culture
icons finally Lego listened and today their brand is even more popular
inclusive in the verse than ever third invest in opportunities the best
brands see opportunity in every social technological or
industry change and they embraced them amazonian gives us a clear example of
this in action they looked at the popularity of streaming content and saw
an opportunity to create and deliver their own they looked at emerging drone
technology and saw an opportunity to revolutionize delivery and with prime
they saw an opportunity to roll some of their best selling points into a
profitable subscription-based model fourth identify threats over the past
several years we’ve seen plenty of examples of brands that fail to take
external threats seriously just look at what happened to Kodak when digital
cameras storm the marketplace or Blockbuster when streaming content
transformed the way people rented movies no matter what industry you’re in
nothing stays the same forever the quicker you can identify threats the
better prepared you’ll be to transform a threat into an opportunity finally this
leads us to your next step using your SWOT to create your brand value
proposition now that you know where you want to go as a company it’s time to ask
yourself what kind of brand can you create to get you there your brand value
proposition must reflect what you do and believe you in marketing your brand value
proposition is a lot like your golf swing it’s easy enough to understand but
it takes countless hours of patience and practice to master a strong bvp doesn’t
just give your customers a reason to choose your brand it also drives things
like messaging special offers sponsorships and community events and
even our D so just as the golfer gets out to the driving range for practice
let’s refine our BVP game with this five-step process step 1 set project
objectives and scope a good be VP starts with a clear plan central to this
process are two questions what value do we deliver to our customers and why do
our customers buy from us your answers should not only be reasonable but also
actionable and with an unwavering focus on your target personas when considering
scopes start designing a balanced strategy that includes content marketing
social employee advocacy and both traditional and earn media step 2 to
find your possible be VPS this is the first thing people associate
with your brand for instance apple offers peerless
design Nordstrom offers superior customer service and Walmart offers the
lowest prices around what does your brand do whether your be VP is
functional or emotional your customers must relate to it if you’re a tech
company for example do your customers care more about performance and
simplicity or your commitment to green and renewable technologies in this phase
focus on idea generation and keep your options open step 3 refine your bvp
narrowing this down begins with qualitative analysis namely talking the
customers what about your brand resonates with them what about your
competitors brands resonates with them don’t forget them
social channels to get a better understanding of current conversations
surrounding both your brand and your industry next use quantitative analysis
to supplement your findings current market research customer needs data Net
Promoter scores competitive analysis and insights from your marketing team all
offer great data sources step 4 develop messaging architecture for key
segments so now that you’ve refined your bvp it’s time to get the message out but
how your messaging strategy should account for industry standards your
customers known preferences and a little bit of good old-fashioned creativity so
remember your goal is the foster of fundamental belief system about your
brand that is deeply rooted equally in both data based strategy an authentic
storytelling step 5 determine your expected outcome as Seth
Godin says in a world of too many choices and not enough time it is easy
for people to ignore you you need to be remarkable
in other words Godin likes to say your brand needs to be like a purple cow both
conspicuous and intriguing recently CBS decided the pivot strongly in the
direction of health and wellness so they changed there you chances are whether you sell cogs
sprockets or gizmos you’re probably not the only brand that does the question
that prospective customers want to know and that you must always be prepared to
answer is simple what makes you so special why should someone buy from you
and not from another brand with a similar product according to recent
route who initially proposed the concept successful brand positioning amounts to
owning a piece of your customers mind and most importantly holding on to it
just like the homesteaders of old once you’ve staked out your claim you’ve got
a defendant by highlighting your brand’s quality innovation and value so how can
you do this first develop a strategic positioning document since brand
positioning is essential to your organization’s success this is no place
to cut corners your goal is to review as much existing market data as possible
here are some essential questions to answer in your document what is the
market for your product what similar products are out there and how is yours
the same or different how do your competitors brand themselves
who is your target buyer persona once you can answer these questions you can
determine which segments will be most receptive to your offerings and begin to
position yourself accordingly second write your positioning statement while
your strategic positioning document should be as in-depth and thorough as
possible your positioning statement should be simple your goal is to create
a clean concise statement of how your audience should perceive your brand the
statement can be used to do the following provide a blueprint for
marketing and product development focus the efforts of all marketing and
development activities and precede the development of sub strategies such as
trademark selection copy media promotion and distribution so let’s use an example
to illustrate the format ideally you want your position
statement to read something like this to the target market Brand X is the brand
of competitive framework that provides meaningful point of difference see it’s
short simple and gets right to the point here’s an example of how DirecTV might
follow the same template for serious football fans let’s call them football
fanatics DirecTV is the only entertainment service provider that
offers subscribers every NFL game every Sunday in high definition
finally don’t forget to test your statement and someone who is literally
tested hundreds of concepts over the years with consumer and business
audiences alike I can’t overstate the value of hearing directly from your
target audience any format where customers can interact with their brand
works traditionally this has come through focus groups since the core of
your statement is your point of difference your primary concern is to
see how audiences react questions you might want answered include does your
audience relate to the point of difference that you’ve identified does
your audience see value in the consumer benefit your highlighted is your
positioning statement persuasive does your positioning statement remind your
audience of any other brands if so who ideally through this process both your
marketing you personas are all about the who know not
the famous rock group but everyday consumers like you and me this isn’t to
say that marketers and the who don’t have anything in common in fact in their
1978 song who are you the who repeatedly asks the same question
today’s marketers ask of their consumers who are you buyer personas matter in a
nutshell knowing who you’re selling to makes it a lot easier to sell to them
this may not sound like a revolutionary concept but of course the best brands
are often the most diligent buyer personas give a face to all that
demographic and market data you’ve painstakingly researched and collected
since you don’t sell the data points personas help you develop a winning
human messaging strategy your mission is empathy the goal of buyer personas is to
provide an authentic impactful customer experience personas help you get in the
mind of your buyer building up a–they for their needs or concerns and pain
points the best marketing departments create personas not just for their
buyers but also for those likely to influence the purchase decision for
example the University focused on attracting high school seniors we build
a persona for prospective students and adults who might influence the students
decision such as parents teachers and coaches here’s how to get started
building buyer personas first gather buyer data what are your customers
saying about your brand your competitors or your industry at large data can come
from a variety of sources including demographics psychographics geography
purchase behaviors social media behavior and independent observation social media
listening is another great tool whether through review sites like Yelp or public
facing channels like Twitter today’s customers offer plenty of frank
unfiltered insights in to their preferences and buying habits
second assemble your team the more Minds you have on the task the better good
persona brainstorming sessions are lively and open to all ideas the more
conversation you can generate the more nuanced your persona profiles will be
create an environment ripe for input by encouraging your team to leave their
phones at the door and to be prepared to speak third create a story think of the
buyer personas as the heroes of your brand story here are some questions to
get to know your personas what is their name what do they do for work where do
they do for fun what are their buying habits what are their hopes dreams and
aspirations where do they look like how can your brand reach them at
different points in the buying stage is your customer b2b or b2c and in either
case who influences their buying decisions what are their pain points and
how can you alleviate them and finally revisit and revise creating buyer
personas is not a one-and-done process customer needs market conditions media
habits and pain points all can change in other words always be ready to ask who
are you and know that the real you let’s say you’re an online shoe retailer
sales have gone well the past couple of years but lately you’ve noticed they’ve
been slipping after some research you learn a few things first your site is
still getting a lot of traffic in fact prospective customers are filling up
their digital shopping carts that’s when you notice that a lot of people are
abandoning their carts right before buying without a doubt you’ve just
discovered a customer pain point but what exactly is it and what can you do
to solve it first brainstorm possible causes what could be causing so many
people to get so close to buying only to change their minds could it be a poorly
designed checkout system on your website or your competitors offering the same
product at a cheaper rate what about incentives or buyer rewards programs
perhaps your customers are going someplace else for more enticing
long-term benefits these are all promising possibilities but it’s
important that you gather more information before jumping to any
conclusions this brings us to our second step check the data good brands collect
data here are some information streams to check are you encouraging customer
feedback if so when and how often further what kinds of questions are you
asking where the visitors go after leaving your site are they going to your
competitor sites instead what about industry data this is a great way for
determining whether your challenges are part of a larger trend or unique to your
brands in the case of the shrinking shoe sales you learned a few things
customer feedback indicates positive view of your brand overall but lower
marks on price this seems odd since your prices are generally lower than your
competitors who’s reported earnings are still growing clearly some key
information is still missing third try social listening customer feedback is
helpful but not everyone is going to be honest with you
fortunately social channels offer great new ways to get
unsolicited feedback checkout conversations about your brand on
channels like Twitter Facebook or Instagram if appropriate ask questions
but your main goal is to just listen what are content writers saying about
you industry or consumer blogs can be very helpful for identifying problems
what are consumers saying about you and your competitors on social review sites
after checking out the conversation around your brand you learned that
people really like your selection especially your exclusive offerings then
something catches your eye reviewers are constantly praising the shipping and
return policies of several of your competitors it looks like you may have
just found your pain point you’ve learned that customers like your brand
and selection but have had hang-ups on price leading to a lot of abandoned
shopping carts that they’re looking into it further you realize that the price
point wasn’t just the cost of the items themselves but rather the cost of
shipping not only are your shipping rates higher than your competitors but
your system for returns and exchanges also leaves something to be desired so
your new goal don’t just fix the pain point beat your competition at their own
strengths that said make sure your solution doesn’t create any new pain
points in the process you what’s your story and what are you doing
to tell it in the early 2000s ups was looking for a new marketing campaign
something to reestablish the brand as a premium international shipping company
unfortunately the marketing team was stumped
and when leadership pressed them on the issue the team basically said what can
we do we’re a brown company from the other end of the room a member of the
upper management team shot back oh yeah well let me tell you what this brown
company can do then he launched into a speech about UPS’s commitment to quality
its strong sense of identity and its pride in its distinctive Brown trucks
everyone could feel the electricity in the room and as the manager finished his
speech everyone realized they had captured the very essence of the UPS
story and they found their new slogan what can Brown do for you according to
Stanford professor Jennifer ocker stories are up to 22 times more
memorable than facts alone in order for something to be meaningful relying on
logic just isn’t enough we have to connect emotionally as well so let’s
talk about storytelling and how it can help you unlock the emotional core of
your brand first start with the why thought leaders simon Sinek said it best
people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it the most successful brands
build the why into every piece of content they create Apple dares
customers and employees to think different
IBM enlists stakeholders to create a smarter planet MasterCard provides the
keys to priceless moments for their customers to cherish forever to put the
why front and center follow sanics Golden Circle start with the why follow
with the how and drive it home with the what this way the emotional connection
comes first second let’s talk a little bit more about emotional connection
according to the Harvard Business Review customers with an emotional connection
can boost a revenue profitability by 25 to 100
and more than just satisfied customers so how do you build these connections
here’s a tip according to Nielsen 92% of people trust peer and family
recommendations more than they trust any other source so to determine whether
you’re building emotional bonds with your customers measure conversations
about your brand who’s talking about you what are they saying and what kinds of
content are they sharing third ask which is better creation or curation if your
goal is to create emotional connections what do you think is better content your
design in-house more curated content produced by third parties naturally when
you create your own content you have better control on the message and the
quality enabling you to put your story front and center however this doesn’t
roll out content duration just remember two things one when you’re curating ask
yourself whether the content mirrors your own brand story two when you share
others content include your own commentary upfront to personalize the
experience there’s one last thing to think about as you set out on your
storytelling journey invite your audience to be co-creators of your brand
story remember that social marketing is all about two-way interactions not
one-way monologues you seth godin once said content marketing
is all the marketing that’s left today’s consumers want helpful
easy-to-understand content and they want it on their terms if they sense you’re
just trying to pitch your product and not add value they’ll happily take their
business somewhere else so what is content marketing we define content
marketing as the creation and distribution of content across all
relevant touch points focused on delivering the right content to the
right person at the right time and place put another way content marketing lies
at the intersection of the content that brands like to publish and the content
that consumers and prospects actually want so how do you develop a compelling
content marketing strategy here are five steps to build a content strategy
blueprint that is scaleable to your business reduces marketing spend drives
revenue and increases visibility and brand recognition step 1 conduct a
Content audit compelling content both informs your audience and serves your
business goals a Content audit helps you determine the priorities and to identify
potential gaps does your supply of content and map to your buying stages is
it relevant to your target personas and is it in sync with your brand value
proposition most importantly is your content easily accessible and all of
your audience’s preferred touch points step 2
remember your brand value proposition effective content marketing links your
bbp to your brand story ask yourself the following questions what value do we
deliver to our customer why do customers buy from us why should they care step 3
target buyer personas and your story who do we want to reach at the core of your
content marketing strategy is your target persona the better you know your
buyers the more compelling your messaging strategy next focus on a good
story not only are good stories more memorable they can make the complex
simple identify the core story at the heart of your brand create narratives
that feed the story and customize your content to suit different touchpoints
step for sourcing and managing content research shows that the more valuable
content you produce the better it is for your brand when considering how to feed
your content stream taken all the above approach with the following sources your
employees customers ad agencies and crowd sourcing remember while quantity
speed and efficiency are very important don’t cut corners on quality regardless
of who produced it each piece of content should represent the best your brand has
to offer while delivering rich customer experiences step 5
build your content team and start publishing common roles in an effective
content team include the following content creators channel managers
designers curators editors and SEO specialists in most leading brands
content teams are driven by a chief brand choreographer who works to ensure
consistent integration across touchpoints and finally the most
critical tool in your publishing arsenal is the editorial calendar the best
brands think like publishers timing the release of their country you they say that great ideas come to us
when we least expect them like driving in our car relaxing on the beach or even
taking a walk since great ideas are the key ingredients a great content the
question is how do you keep the good ideas flowing the best creative teams
have regular opportunities to come together and pitch new content ideas
themes and formats that align with your brand’s goals here are some tips to help
your team green means go leave your critical mind at the door
after all the goal is to generate as many ideas as possible build an idea
vault most likely you won’t be able to act on all the good ideas at once it’s
always good to save a few gems for later bet the winners now that you’ve
identified a good set of ideas it’s time to narrow them down so ask yourself
which ideas are most relevant to your target personas which ideas are most
helpful or address specific pain points do your ideas align and represent your
brand story after generating a set of strong ideas it’s time to develop your
content and fuel your supply chain here are five potential sources number one
your customers some brands that do very well with customer focused content
include Southwest Airlines HubSpot and Ford others like GoPro and redbull have
staked their brands on either user-generated stakeholder inspired or
community based content this could come in the form of testimonials or a live
stream event whatever your typical buyer might prefer number two your ad agency
the role of the traditional ad agency has shifted somewhat in the digital age
however there’s still a great resource for valuable compelling content to get
the most out of your agency make sure they’re up to speed on your business
your products and branding goals share the ideas you generated in your
brainstorming sessions and see what they can come up with number three employees
with a social employee advocacy program your brand has access to a diverse group
of people who are in sync with your mission vision and values further their
passion for your brand and regular interaction with stakeholders provides
much-needed insight into your audience and improves your brand reach through
employee networks whether your employees are curating or creating content this
authentic approach will help drive your message beyond traditional marketing
channels number four in-house creative talent recent data shows that marketing
departments are increasingly looking to in-house talent for their content needs
not only can it be more cost effective afford greater control an able quicker
turnaround but your content creators will also have a deeper understanding of
your brand products and services number five crowd sourcing crowd
sourcing has come a long way in recent years the key to understanding how to
engage creatives who know your market have a track record for engaging
customers and know how to create compelling content as part of your
regular content mix crowd sourcing can help you deliver affordable content both
quickly and with minimal risk if you’re known as an engaging collaborative brand
talented content creators will leave it the chance to work with you at the end
of the day think of content sourcing up you in football the best quarterbacks are
always ready to pivot to a new strategy to keep their opponents guessing even at
the line of scrimmage they can call out on the spot changes to improve their
team’s chances of winning the best marketers take a similar approach with
their paint owned and earned media strategy today flexibility is key and
knowing your audience is more important than ever running against so many new
and emerging cost-effective options traditional approaches simply aren’t
bringing the same returns especially if you’re not tied to a broader branding
effort so if this is the case what strategies do work in today’s marketing
climate first we’ll look at General Electric’s unambitious campaign in 2016
ge released a series of videos that challenged the wisdom of common sayings
in one video GE engineers prove that a snowball does really have a chance in
hell in another they show audiences how to capture lightning in a bottle
a third example illustrates that you can in fact fight fire with fire these short
YouTube videos were accompanied by empowering brand messages like we love
doing things that supposedly can’t be done or imagined all of the other
impossible things that we can do to produce these projects ge marketers not
only had to come up with a fun concept but also enlist the knowledge and
talents of their engineers the end result made for viral ready conversation
starters that both humanized the brand and demonstrated their ingenuity and
value as a company next let’s take a look at an integrated CO branding
campaign between Audi and Airbnb also in 2016 Audi and Airbnb teamed up for a
video called desolation in it you see a family living out in the desert
realizing they’re out of coffee so the father gets in his out er age sport
coupe and zooms off to a tiny coffee stand in the middle of nowhere just as
the husband realizes he’s forgotten his wallet another Audi pulls up the window
lowers his wife says forget something George and they speed
off toward the home the commercial ends by informing viewers that this could be
reality they can actually book the house in question and drive the Audi’s through
Airbnb so here’s what you can learn from these examples don’t blow your budget on
paid media just like a quarterback can’t keep going to the same play brands just
can’t buy ad time and hope for the best data shows that customers are
increasingly willing to pay a premium to avoid ads brand choreography helps vary
your PlayBook optimised own channels GE ot and Airbnb used blogs websites and
social media to engage their audiences coupled with a good content marketing
and social sharing strategy own channels can generate more attention and better
engagement than paid channels earned media is word-of-mouth on steroids
the videos in these examples are short fun and ready to share this is great
because research shows that people trust peer recommendations such as shares
retweets and user reviews more than any other form of media while paid media
certainly has its place a strategic focus on owned and earned media can
inform you what’s the best mode of transportation a
bike a horse or a car well the answer depends on your needs a bike is great
for exercise and running small errands around town horses are great for
wandering the countryside on a sunny afternoon while cars are certainly your
best bet for a cross-country vacation traditional media works much in the same
way there’s no single best way rather there are several potential best ways
depending on your budget marketing goals and target audience here are 10 tips to
help guide your traditional media decisions number one how do your
customers like to be reached not sure just try asking them you’ll be surprised
at how many are happy to tell you as former Ford CMO Jim Farley once said
customers are spending as much time with the mobile smartphone or online as they
are watching TV now so our advertising dollars have to flow to where the people
are number to match your message to the media a one-size-fits-all messaging
approach is risky in any era but especially so since the rise of social
media whether you’re designing ads for TV radio or print make sure you’re
playing to the inherent strengths of the format for example the power of TV is
sight sound and motion radio brings the theater of your mind into play number
three be creative a big ad buy during the Superbowl won’t amount to much if
your commercial fizzles on arrival to help ensure you have a winner on your
hands revisit your brand value proposition focus on what makes your
brand unique and above all be authentic number four test test and test in an era
of crowdsourcing testing your marketing message is in a matter of how but a
matter of how much mix things up as much as you can and feel free to use social
media channels to test your ideas concepts logos visuals layouts and
messages number 5 attention spans are fleeting the
average person is exposed to hundreds of marketing messages every day we decide
quickly to engage those messages or to ignore them your goal is to be engaging
but don’t be intrusive number six don’t be taxing paid media is becoming a tax
that many consumers don’t want to pay remember it’s better to leave audiences
wanting more than the overstay your welcome number seven paid media
complements own media while your paid media should be strong enough to stand
on its own it should also invite customers to learn more and own media
sources such as your website blogs or social channels number eight make an
emotional connection whatever the media choice your audience needs to connect
with your message to strike the right emotional note tell a story and focus on
what makes your brand unique number nine know your options we live in what some
call the tread digital world remember that your traditional ads don’t exist in
a vacuum and work to balance your message across channels and number 10
know your audience the marketers goal in an IMC world hasn’t changed you still
need to know who you’re selling to this is why it’s so important to have a
strong brand value proposition and develop action you who are you marketing to people or
robots I know the answer may sound obvious but you’d be surprised at how
many brands overlook this in their digital marketing efforts in a digital
economy we cannot forget the human side of the customer says Cheryl Burgess CEO
of blue focused marketing the world is becoming increasingly digital and as
traditional media struggles to stay relevant brands are realizing that the
digital movement isn’t just some fad it’s the future so how can you embrace
digital channels to build a dynamic brand and foster rich customer
experiences here are three suggestions number one know your audience think of
it this way if you set up a hotdog cart at the bottom of the Grand Canyon you
might get some foot traffic now and then but who really wants to buy a hotdog in
100 degree weather anyway recently the auto industry realized that customers
were spending less time at dealerships and more time researching cars online
specifically they found that while YouTube powered a huge percentage of
customer research automakers represented only about 5% of industry related
content knowing this made the goal simple for leading automakers share
relevant content on YouTube and guide prospects to interactive sites that
combine both product features with local listings it wasn’t rocket science just
smart marketing number to go visual the brain actually processes images 60,000
times faster than text to get your audience’s attention get visual after
all you’ve got plenty of options infographics 360 panoramas virtual
reality and augmented reality memes and animated gifs of course let’s not forget
both live and prepackaged video which remain a brand’s most important source
of visual content recent data shows that while online video revenue is growing
faster than any other form of advertising only a quarter
brands actually use video to market their products further according to
Cisco about 75% of mobile traffic will be video by 2020 and speaking of mobile
traffic number 3 it’s time to embrace mobile did you know that roughly
two-thirds of all digital activity occurs on mobile devices further
according to eMarketer about 20% of mobile use takes place on apps a number
that has risen sharply in recent years app use is generally concentrated around
five key activities listening to digital audio social networking gaming watching
videos and messaging consider which of these categories might be a good fit for
your brand and then work to design content that is eye-catching and
relevant but not intrusive recently Campbell’s teamed up with IBM Watson and
The Weather Channel to deliver targeted AI driven ads to mobile weather apps
through this mobile platform Campbell’s delivers customers interactive soup and
food suggestions and pairings that are perfect for any weather even more
integrated user generated recipe and food suggestions create a broader range
of suggestions for customers to try you well the possibilities for good social
media marketing are just about endless here are some proven approaches for
making the most out of your marketing efforts number one so what you stand for
stakeholders don’t follow you on social media to learn what you do instead they
want to know what you’re all about in 2015 Hershey’s realized they weren’t
highlighting their social responsibility efforts they knew that social media was
a great way to do this but they didn’t want to just jump into the fray without
a plan so over several months they coordinated their efforts they worked
with HR on platforms like LinkedIn to create a unified voice and released
their first campaign which focused on the efforts to supplement the daily
diets of over 50,000 schoolchildren in Ghana the result better visibility for
the brand and better support for the humanitarian efforts number to focus
your content strategy as we always tell our clients at blue focus marketing the
brands with the best plans create the best content Intel is always improving
their b2b content marketing game one way to do this is by ensuring that the
content fits the platform then they let the day to do the talking if an unpaid
organic piece of content is performing particularly well they’ll pay to boost
its reach knowing that it’s something the target audience wants to see and
speaking of target audience number three know your audience and respect them
when Wendy’s rolled out its line of premium beverages they knew they wanted
to reach a millennial audience but how the answer get more specific as Brandon
wrote and VP head of advertising media and digital at Wendy’s noted when you
say millennial it’s the laziest way to define your target to find them by what
they actually care about beyond their age with this in mind they took a right
person right place right time approach creating
hundreds of different pieces of content each were the message tailor-made to
specific kinds of buyers with different kinds of likes and interests why all the
effort well they knew that if they were to earn their audience’s business they
first had to earn their respect ultimately it is that final component
respect that will make or break your brand in the world of social media as
hal connick wrote for the American Marketing Association customers trust
must now be earned at every turn these days when someone doesn’t like
your service they’re more likely to tell the entire internet than to write a
letter good news travels fast on the social web would be careful bad news
travels even faster always navigate social channels responsibly focusing on
two-way exchanges shared experiences and authentic messages you do you know how your customers
experience your brand more importantly do you know what they want their
experience to be the best experiences don’t happen by accident
but through a process we call customer choreography mapping which aligns your
business goals with customer needs and behaviors while customer choreography
mapping is a dynamic ongoing process it begins with the following five steps
step number one assemble a brand choreography task force marketing is
everybody’s job your task force should reflect that
fill your team not only with marketers but also with expert employees working
in areas such as product design IT HR and customer service next setup a 1-day
customer mapping session customer engagement starts with an engaged team
so do what you can to enliven the meeting by setting up shop somewhere fun
then define your sessions vision goals and objectives identify the days
deliverables and get started step number two mapping session use updated buyer
personas to help your task force get to know your target customers questions
your team can ask include the following what kind of buying strategies do your
customers often use how well is your brand set up to accommodate them how can
you support customers through research purchase and post purchase phases as you
begin to map out the buying process remember that modern buyers move an
increasingly nonlinear path your customer choreography maps should
reflect this branching out in a variety of roads that all ultimately lead back
to a purchase decision step number three the current state experience let’s say
you’re a hotel chain that offers a host of helpful amenities to your business
minded guests such as comfortable workspaces free Wi-Fi and complimentary
refreshments these are all great points of difference but now you must determine
whether they’re helpful do your guests know about these Amana
is it easier for them to learn the guests enjoy these amenities and what
would make us more likely to recommend your hotel remember good ideas still
require good execution your job in this phase is the target areas for
improvement step four the ideal state experience now
comes the detective work market research social listening and
internal data are all useful in designing the ideal state experience at
your hotel let’s say that you’ve learned that while your business guests do in
fact enjoy your amenities three out of five weren’t even aware of them
this is an avoidable experience gap now it’s up to you what can you do to make
these amenities more visible and to encourage guests to share the benefits
with others perhaps your confirmation emails or content marketing could
highlight the amenities perhaps you need better signage on site or perhaps your
check and staff can help play these amenities up step 5
testing your ideas to create the best customer experience test and validate
your ideas by seeking both customer and employee feedback next perform a
cost-benefit analysis to prioritize the most helpful and cost-effective changes
finally remember to create accountability you

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