Previous month:
July 2012
Next month:
September 2012

13 posts from August 2012

Is there better data in the big data?

Who has been joined by where, when, why and how. Don't collect data indiscriminately. Instead, figure out what you could do for your customer when you know more. Then look for these types of data.  Tq-120831-pb

1. Who the customer is as a person: name and contact information. 

2. Where your solution will be used... as specifically as possible. 

3. When your customer would use it, but even more importantly, when would the customer NOT use it. 

4. What personal interests in your customer can you connect with? 

5. What's the cultural context of your customer? What are the norms there?

Fast Company: Do you really need big data?, 2012-Aug21, by Bryan Pearson

Data comes in many forms, from in-store shopping activity to online browsing patterns, and it can be sliced and diced to show many different aspects of a consumer. But there are four general areas that should help shape what inspires your customers: their physical location, their phase in life, their personal interests and their cultural influences. By developing its communications around these factors, an organization can demonstrate an understanding of its consumers needs, the shortest path to attaining relevance.

Use data responsibly This should go without saying, but ascertain what you want to achieve with the customer data and then collect only what you need to do so. Once collected, use all of it in a way that benefits the consumer as much as the organization, which will earn the organization the right to obtain more data over time.

What does loyalty mean?

For much of the business world, loyalty is a behavior of repeat purchase. As a marketing manager, I find that "repeat purchase" is often blocked by external factors beyond my control. Where I can make a contribution is in the building of solid, long-lasting relationships with people who may purchase or may influence purchase. Tq-120829-pp

Many companies cheapen loyalty with discounts and barriers to exit. But if you create what Signorelli calls "brand affiliation," you can build a base of supporters that will hang around even when the kids are grown and they don't need to buy your toys anymore. These supporters will bounce back stronger when the grandchildren are born, and recommend you to everyone. 

There are days when I feel like the only professional who sees this. And then there are days when I discover professionals like Joanna Lord at SEOmoz

Entrepreneur: 5 Ways to Take Customer Loyalty to the Next Level, 2012-Aug-6, by Joanna Lord

Tracking and improving customer loyalty can be a challenge if no one specific is managing it. Good candidates for this responsibility often come from customer service, marketing, operations or product teams. The key qualifications are the ability to work well with others and a belief in the value of both qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

Whoever you choose should understand that customer loyalty may touch a number of departments at your company, but it deserves its own champion for maximum success.

On making friends and networking

Vulnerability has turned up a couple of times in the last few days, as a way to get people on your side. Self-deprecating humor has tremendous value in business relationships. When you're planning your image, think about using your weakness to make friends.   Tq-120828-hd

Penelope Trunk: Networking Means Making Real Friends, 2012-Aug-23

You cannot connect with people if you cannot show them where you’re weak. People don’t have a capacity to care about someone who is not vulnerable. So there is no point in networking with people you won’t connect enough with to show a weak side of yourself.

The Atlantic: Why do so many pretty female comedians pretend they're ugly?, 2012-Aug-23, by Ashley Fetters

...why are we laughing at Diller and Fey for their shabbiness, their sofa dependence, and their chronically sad love lives? Why do these well-loved, impressively accomplished women invent incompetence to fuel their comedy?

Barreca, a humorist herself, puts it simply. "Women lead with their vulnerabilities," she says. "This is how we get men and other women to like us."

Humor, Barreca explains, is in itself an act of power and aggression; audiences are known to be intimidated by comedians, especially at live venues. (That's why nobody sits in the front row, she says.) "When women in are in comedy, there still needs to be a certain mitigating factor for the ferocity that goes with any kind of effective humor," Barreca says. "So if we show someone our neck, rather than our squared shoulders, we'll be more appreciated--and they'll permit us into their company."

Robert Lynch, a cultural anthropologist from Rutgers University and a part-time stand-up, agrees: "Maybe women have to go overboard with the self-deprecation because comedy can be an alpha thing," he says

In a new model for economic success, people are slack resources to be leveraged

I believe the next big wave of successful entrepreneurs will find a way to tap into our under-employed people. The old model of searching for a low-risk peg to fit into the hole in your organization is becoming uncompetitive. Instead companies need to look at the under-utilized human resources right under their noses. The managers who can leverage the desire of everyone to make a contribution will build the next business empires. 

Edge Perspectives: From Race Against the Machine to Race With the Machine, 2012-Aug-22 by John Hagel Tq-120824-bd

If we reduce work to highly specified and standardized instructions that can be performed efficiently and predictably, what have we done? We have reconceived work so that it can be performed by computers and robots. In fact, computers and robots are far more preferable than humans because we humans are ultimately unpredictable and have a really hard time following instructions to the letter, day in and day out.

In this environment, it’s quite natural to view workers as fungible, cost items.

How to be inspired by business-to-business marketing

It's too easy to get bored by your own information. Be sure and check out what other people are doing. Here's a great selection. Tq-120822-eu

Hubspot: 10 B2B Companies that Create Exceptional Content, 2012-Aug-21, by Meghan Keaney Anderson

One of the biggest concerns we hear from B2B companies when we explain the importance of content creation in inbound marketing is that their focus is somehow not interesting enough to sustain a blog or other creative content.

Why customers don't stay happy

Wouldn't it be nice if happy customers were enough? Unfortunately, you have to plan on evolving with them. And they can seldom explain the situation to you, even if they had the time.

Tq-120821-lhCustomer Centric Growth: Understanding Your Brand's Ecosystem, 2012-Aug-20, by Steven P. Dennis

During the nineties we [at Sears] worked hard to improve within our narrowly defined ecosystem (existing product focus, mall-based distribution), rather than see how the ecosystem was evolving. If we had truly understood and accepted the evolution of the ecosystem we had dominated for years, it would have been clear that we HAD to be in the home improvement warehouse business.

You know how this has played out. The fundamentally stronger organisms began to win out. Sears’ failure to participate meaningfully in the evolved ecosystem has doomed them to mediocrity at best; eventual demise in the most likely scenario.

Sears is just one high-profile case, but there are many other brands that have become extinct or largely irrelevant by neglecting to truly understand the ecosystem in which they live. Or die.

Don't let someone else define leadership

Tq-120817-lpWhenever I absorb someone else's idea about leadership, I always become anxious that I won't measure up. When I think about what I have to share and how well I want other people to do, I'm energized again.

Penelope Trunk: How to tell if you have leadership potential, 2012-Aug-9

When you look at your own potential for leadership, look at your capacity for transparency, your ability to deliver difficult news to the people around you, and your interest in inspiring grand behavior in people who might not be feeling so grand. These are the tasks of leaders today. It’s a different challenge than leaders of earlier generations, which is why so many people fear there’s a leadership vacuum. In fact, we are entering a new realm of leadership that is collaborative and uplifting. And for some of you this will mean your time has come.