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8 posts from October 2015

Why lead generation is hopeless, but good business is not.

When I explain to business people that I build marketing databases, they usually respond by asking, "Can you give my any tips for generating leads?" Actually, I have quit framing my work that way, but I still encounter so many people asking "can you help me find new customers?" IStock_000019856923XSmall I have started to reply that, "I can help you value the customers and contacts you already have."

Nick Bird said it more elegantly than I can (emphasis added):

Traditional businesses ask - "How can we define the group of prospects who are most likely to want product X?" From this flows others such as "How can we increase the leads for X?"

The CRM business asks a different type of question. "Given our skills and resources, who can we build the most profitable long term relationships with?"

Nick's comment was made inside the LinkedIn Group for CRM Experts, which you could join... https://www.linkedin.com/groups/43621/43621-6059678651115462659, or you could find more excellent advice by visiting his profile: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/nickbirdcrmadvocate


Loyalty to suppliers and supporters: Ina Garten

Otherwise known as the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten has built a sustainable empire from a food shop to media brand. Strategically, she knows exactly where she wants her business centered: writing cookbooks. She builds a broad variety of relationships, and not everyone survives, but she clearly makes it a goal to find a partner around whom she can stabilize her business and her personal life.  IStock_000021085297XSmall

Loyalty appears to be instinctive for Garten, but we can all learn from her approach: find someone who fits your values and grow together. When our partner changes, look to growing with them. When we have to change, be sure and try to bring them along. 

Eater: Ina Garten Does It Herself, 2015-Sep-30 by Choire Sicha

This endless parade of friends and visitors only highlights her strange and extreme loyalty. Barbara has been with her in the kitchen since 1999; her marriage to Jeffrey is almost half a century long. She has been with her agent Esther Newberg at ICM since ages. Ina has never changed cookbook publishers; in fourteen years, she also has not changed producers of the show....

She is ready to crush this next cookbook. "I'm actually more interested in writing cookbooks now than I was when I started," Ina said. "I think I was really nervous about it then. But I could just do this forever — and hopefully I can, until they drag me out by my feet." 


Sharing customer happiness with a photo booth

The rising popularity of Photo Booths is driven by a few different benefits. I enjoyed using one during a party at Story a few years ago, but now many retailers are using them on a daily basis. Let's break down the benefits so you can see if they apply to your business: IStock_000017373886XSmall

1) Better experience for your customer: If you sell clothing, gifts or souvenirs, people may enjoy sharing their purchase or purchase idea with friends. Of course, they could use their own camera BUT a booth may provide better lighting. Seeing the booth may remind them to share. 

2) Better exposure for your business: Photo booths can be configured to print your company logo and additional information that becomes advertising. 

3) Better interaction with your customers: Once they've shared an image publicly, you can support them with additional exposure, even reward them. 

4) Collect customer data: We can give our customers the option of paying a few bucks for the photo OR we can ask for their email address, etc. If we want to booth to be always free, we can invite them to order more prints by sharing contact information.

Photo booths now come in many types, including a station with an iPad and no booth at all. 

NY Times: Smile! Photo Booths Prove You're a Happy Customer, 2015-Oct-6 by Courtney Rubin

The photo booth, that fixture of one-off events like weddings and parties, is now taking up permanent residence at fashion and lifestyle brands, as companies like [Warby Parker,] Urban Decay and Topshop realize that some of the best advertising they can get are well-lighted branded photos of customers having a good time....

“People take better pictures of themselves than photographers, because you don’t have that same level of insecurity,” Mr. van S said. “It’s a very cost-effective way to do marketing, especially when this stuff is going out to social.”

The financial arrangements are complicated: Some booths are rentals; others are bought. Features and pricing vary widely....

For the health food company Juice Generation, which last month installed a booth in its financial district store in Manhattan, the photos are the basis for what the founder, Eric Helms, called “a kind of modern loyalty program.” Instead of offering cards that are stamped with each purchase, three Juice Generation employees who monitor the company’s social media invite people who post a lot of photos to come in on their birthdays with friends for free drinks and other surprises. 


Be loyal to your contribution, not your employer

Loyalty to our employer is never going to be compensated in the way we expect. Enterprises are not capable of keeping everyone employed, even if they are inclined, which most are not.  Tq151015ld

When we have an employer, we owe them good value for the money they pay us, and we owe it to them not to undermine their success by anything else we do, until we resign. Being a loyal employee is a matter of self-respect for ourselves. When I am loyal, I respect myself, but I don't expect a company to be able to do any more than treat me fairly. Louis Gray does a great job of explaining. 

LinkedIn: Layoffs and Loyalty in a Liquid Valley*, 2015-Oct-14 by Louis Gray

Loyalty is wonderful when you find a passion and team you can believe in. But it can all be discarded in an instant, through a fight with a manager, or a merger or acquisition that sees you as redundant. A stock market crash. A change in heart. A bad quarter.

Layoffs happen. They can make you question everything you worked for. All the thousands of hours you put in caring about the little things that got you to where you are. All the conversations and debates that made the product you own.

You have to reexamine what’s important and decide on a new trajectory....

*article also available at Louis Gray's blog


IBM shows us how to be loyal to our prospects

It's pretty easy to have loyal relationships with our customers, but loyalty leaders like Hershey and IBM are loyal to their prospects, to the entire category they hope to win. It helps to have deep pockets, IStock_000019813515XSmallbut we have to start with a desire to benefit a category of people, and to be a little selfless about making it happen. 

Harvard Business Review: 6 Ways to Tell Stories with Data Throughout the Customer Lifecycle, 2015-Oct-2 by Alexandra Samuel

A smart strategy is to create data-driven content that’s a must-read for your target—like the content IBM has built from its series of surveys with C-level executives, including The Customer-Activated Enterprise. By surveying thousands of CEOs, CMOs and other top executives—and then gating the results – IBM created a data asset that all but guaranteed it would get contact information from thousands of executives worldwide.


Lead your customers to greater satisfaction with their own data

Privacy experts have been shocked to discover how easily we consumers part with our data in exchange for a few benefits. IStock_000021992634XSmallMy personal example is the app Waze. In exchange for constantly sharing all the information about where, when and why I drive, it tells me how to get around more easily in heavy urban traffic. It is SO worth it! (As long as no one ever wants to stalk me or frame me.)

The real challenge is making sure our customers see how much they can benefit from the information we collect. The guys at OKCupid have had a few stumbles, but overall, they want people to understand their own biases.... and I think everyone benefits. 

Harvard Business Review: 6 Ways to Tell Stories with Data Throughout the Customer Lifecycle, 2015-Oct-2 by Alexandra Samuel

...by telling your customers how to get more from your products and services, data-driven content can help you keep your customers. That’s a big part of the value of OkCupid’s long-running data blog, which has explored a wide range of topics by tapping into users’ dating profiles. While the company has attracted a lot of media attention—and generated a book!—with topics like racial bias in dating and the role of appearance in dating preferences, its posts have also offered concrete insights that can help users themselves optimize their dating experience. From the optimum number of characters for an on-site message (see the chart they published below, “Men Contacting Women”), to the best questions to ask on a first date, OkCupid’s data-driven insights help its users find love. The data your company uses to optimize its business performance may well offer insights to your customers, too; if you can find a way of sharing those insights, you make your customers’ experience better—and your product or services stickier.


Plan to collect data about your customers regularly

If we want a stable base of business, we have to be steadily moving toward our customers, giving them more of what they want. Unfortunately, our customers are changing constantly, even moving away from us. By constantly collecting data we can follow them, or replace them, if necessary.

A satisfaction survey is seldom enough, unless we use it to open a dialogue with our customers. Our best bet is to have a customer tracking plan in place. Sort out our best customers, then collect information about them and from them. Compare it to trends in transactions. Are we moving with the market or bucking the trends?  IStock_000019653085XSmall

Loyalty360: Hershey Company: Listen to Customers and They Will Guide You Toward Brand Loyalty, 2015-Oct-1, interview of Brian Kavanagh by Jim Tierney

“At Hershey, we have invested significant time synthesizing many different data sources to give us a full picture of what is going on with our brands, category, and the full retail environment,” he explained. “Whether that’s weather data to help us understand how burn bans in the Midwest impacted summer s’mores sales or synthesizing data to find clusters of stores that sell our York brand incredibly well for a targeted product launch. Be clear upfront about the actionable insights you are looking for and create a plan to implement them. Our entire organization has adopted a data-centric mindset, and that’s what it takes to be serious as an organization about using actionable insights. Marketing, supply chain, research & development, innovation, and sales all need to be speaking the same language.”

Hershey’s consumer philosophy is consumer-first. “Our customer or retailer philosophy is always category-first,” Kavanagh said. “We will always do right by our consumer and category. A high tide lifts all sails–this philosophy has proven out for more than 120 years and it’s a value we’ll hold true to.”