General Business Archives - Page 6 of 10 - Klaxon

Customer Insight is the Foundation of Marketing

We are often challenged with helping a client to improve the impact of their marketing and communications.

Customer InsightMany think they are advertising in the wrong places, or their value propositions aren’t impact full, or perhaps they don’t have enough budget for events, or their social strategy isn’t engaging enough. And yes, some or all of those may be true. After all they are all aspects of marketing, along with the four, seven or eight Ps – whichever school of thought you subscribe to there – which you need to get right.

But the fundamental difference between a good marketing campaign and a great campaign is a deep understanding of your customer.

That sounds a bit hackneyed I know, but it’s one of the true fundamentals of marketing: understanding who your customer is in order that you produce and sell good and services profitably.

This may sound like marketing school rhetoric and it is, but if you don’t believe me just look at the billions spent on market research and insights. Add in the effort brands are putting into social data analysis and you start to get the picture.

It’s a massive industry helping marketers understand who their customer is. What they like and dislike, what products they want or need and finally how to connect with them. Yet so many marketers are inward looking.

Ask yourself what you know more about, your products’ feature sets or the problems your customers need to overcome that lead them to your business in the first place.

I’d put good money on most marketers knowing more about the product than the customer. If that’s the case for you, take a look at your whole business through the eyes of a customer and see what you can learn. You might be surprised by what you find.

An Introduction to Inbound Marketing

I have been invited to speak at the national conference for Dieticians in the UK about social media and blogging, but instead I’m going to talk about the notion of inbound marketing.

Why?

Because social media and blogging are just tools for engaging with a target audience. In order to be effective tools, you have to underpin them with a plan, or a strategy.

Imagine trying to build a house with a hammer and some nails, but without a plan of how the house will look. Chances are the end result will not be a great house.

We need therefore to start off with the strategic decision to focus on social media and blogging. For me that’s all about inbound marketing.

The value of a good social media program is not in broadcasting marketing messages, rather in creating a dialogue based on a real understanding of your customers needs and challenges.

This understanding and the resulting content shared via blogging and social is what generates inbound marketing leads.

Here’s the proposed outline of my presentation. What do you think? Am I missing anything? 

1. The old rules of marketing no longer work for small businesses

2. Move to a model of marketing through value

3. Understand your target customers’ needs and wants

4. Build awareness, engagement and trust with content that answers their questions (and get permission to market)

5. Create your digital marketing platform

6. Choose the right tools for the job

7. Don’t forget the search engines

Let me have your thoughts in the comments below, or send me a message here. 

 

What I Learned today about Sharing & Social Business

Today I chaired a panel session on social business with some seriously smart people.

Sharing Economy Throwdown Panel about Social Business

The event was part of Social Media Week London and was called the Sharing Economy Throwdown.  Since I have no idea what a ‘throwdown’ is I’ll focus on the ‘sharing economy’ side of the story, which in my mind is the very same story as social business.

The crew I was charged with moderating included (from right to left above):

> Luis Suarez, Lead Social Business Enabler, IBM
> Gareth Davies, Head of UK at Studio D (Waggener Edstrom’s digital arm)
> Doug Shaw, Consultant, What Goes Around Comes Around
> David Keene, Head of Enterprise Marketing, Google UK

The idea of the session was to take a look at the new ways of working following the recent and massive shift in the technology landscape. Not just with advances in social media i.e. facebook, twitter, YouTube etc, but how these consumer style applications and platforms have transformed our working lives.

Not only how we work but what this means to the very industries we operate in. People are increasingly bypassing organisations to buy from their peers e.g. AirBnB and liftshare, or skipping traditional contracts to buy up idol inventory on assets such as office space e.g. neardesk. Make no mistake, the world in which we live and work is changing and sharing is a huge contributory factor.

What’s driving all this sharing? Advances in technology sure, but societal needs and economic factors too. The global population is ever increasing and yet our resources are ever dwindling. We are coming through (at least in some parts of the western world) one of the worst recessions in history, which has led to a lot of belt tightening and new business models being created.

We have the perfect storm for an explosion in sharing and it’s happening. We are all going to need to learn to share more.

In preparing for the session I couldn’t help but to read plenty of Jeremiah Owyang’s writing on the subject. His views are pretty clear on this, organisations need to evolve or die. I very much like his pyramid model where products evolve to services, services evolve to market places and market places to products.

It is well worth reading Jeremiah’s blog, or at the very least listening to his useful discussion with Mitch Joel from Six Pixels of Separation. Ow Yeah…

I started the conversation today with Jeremiah / Altimiter Group’s definition of the sharing economy:

an economic model that means shared ownership and shared access between startups, organisations and people”

This got us started. Luis jumped on the idea of sharing from the outset: as humans we are built to share. Helping other people is a fundamental function of why we exist as humans. It’s ingrained. But sadly the companies we work for have driven this behaviour out of every day working life. Why? To satisfy that oldest of ideas: ‘knowledge is power’.

It seems in the sharing economy, knowledge is no longer power, collaboration and sharing are.

Sadly the decision makers in the top echelons of global industry are still remunerated on the knowledge is power model. This is a key reason why you rarely see the CEO of a FTSE 100 company, or many board members, openly embracing social media or social technologies. The knowledge is power mind set is far too well engrained.

Later on in the discussion it was even suggested that corporate executives are rewarded for not sharing. Their compensation structures prevent them from being open, actually quite toxic within organisations when you think about it. I really wasn’t expecting executive remuneration to be a topic that surfaced in a discussion about social business and the sharing economy, but it’s an interesting perspective none-the-less.

Gareth quickly jumped on the idea that sharing exists at multiple levels. Not everything has to be public; you might have a different presence for friends, family and the workplace. This evolved into the work-life continuum debate: “if you’re a knowledge worker you’re on all the time” said David from Google.

Doug illustrated this point with a story of how his use of the middle finger was shared via a photo online and which later prompted an interesting response from an elder colleague. The new rules of how we work and communicate are changing, is it really possible to share all of the time, or indeed necessary? Is there a work-life balance to be had any more?

I could go on, but the discussion was quite wide ranging and frankly, as chair, I probably missed half of the most illuminating points as I tried to keep the conversation moving. Thankfully the event sponsors (Herman Miller) have facilitated the session being recorded and it will shortly be available as a podcast on the Sharing Economy Radio.

In the mean time I wanted to share with you a handful of the other gems I jotted down in my notebook:

> Data overload is a symptom of sharing too much.

Could this be the impact of a deluge of good, bad and ugly content marketing? Do we all need to get better at sharing the right things?

> It’s all about behaviours.

Sharing is not new, it’s just back in fashion perhaps.  Is this a result of those three core drivers: economic factors, societal factors and the rapid evolution of technology.

> The rise of consumer style devices in the workplace has shifted how we perceive work.

I very much agree with this point. We now expect facebook style apps to be ever present in how we communicate, both inside and outside work. It’s no longer acceptable to most employees to be working on quicker laptops and smarter devices at home then the clunky old PC with proprietary software available at their office.

> Sharing and advertising are not the same thing.

Absolutely. In fact we hardly scratched the surface on what social business means outside of marketing and communications. For example how we collaborate with our competitors to create new products, or share our logistics network to ship goods and services at a fraction of the cost of the postal service. We certainly need to revisit this area in another session.

> The corporate firewall will be abolished.

I’ll believe this when I see it. Perhaps for this change to happen a lot of senior people are going to have to retire. The notion that the control of information is power came across again and again. People at the top of organisations require control of knowledge to retain their cosy remuneration.

I thoroughly enjoyed chairing the panel and my thanks go to Bernie Mitchell from the Sharing Economy Radio for inviting me to take part and for the permission to use his image above. This is the second year we have run this discussion during Social Media Week and I greatly look forward to advancing the topic again, either in a year’s time, or perhaps a little more frequently.

Is Social Business the New Frontier for Marketers?

I read an excellent article in this quarter’s Market Leader written by Mahesh Enjeti from SAI Marketing Counsel in Sydney.

Mahesh reasons that marketers have lost their seat at the top table, frequently relegated from strategic decision making to more tactical promotional and marketing execution roles. The rise of social media and the modern day marketers’ desire to deliver likes, shares and engagement online, has done nothing to raise the profile of marketing at all. It really needs to start conversing at a business / P&L level.

 Read more

Should Microsoft Buy Dell?

And would Steve Ballmer have the courage to make such a play?

Here’s my thinking.

Dell and HP until the last few years were the undisputed heavy weights of the PC making world. However with the lower cost base afforded to Acer, Lenovo and co, they have been struggling to keep pace and losing market share in an increasingly commoditised and price sensitive market.

 Read more

Customer Satisfaction Scores 2012

We regularly survey our clients to make sure we’re delivering what they want and need from an agency.  As part of our commitment to transparency we also report our customer sat scores here on the blog.

These results are from the first half of financial year 2012-2013 – apologies it has taken us a while to publish them. However we are rightly pleased with the scores, although they are not without room for improvement.

Klaxon delivers quality work, on time and with clear communications:

Average: 8.6 / 10

Klaxon offers intelligent advice and consultancy

Average: 8 / 10

Klaxon understands the market place and offers appropriate ideas and counsel:

Average: 8 / 10

Your assessment of Klaxon’s performance overall:

Average: 8 / 10

How happy would you be recommending Klaxon?

Average: 7.5 / 10

Kicking 2013 Off With The Why

It’s Christmas, which means along with over eating and drinking, we’ll all have some time to pause, reflect and recharge ahead of a new year.

2012 has been a real roller coaster for team Klaxon. Challenges from onboarding new clients and losing existing ones. People joining our team and leaving our team.  Breaking into new territories with our first clients in the Netherlands and Slovakia. Bringing in new technology partnerships with Nimble (social CRM) and Pardot (marketing automation).

The list goes on…

It has also been a year of learning for us. We’ve made a few mistakes along the way, but the biggest learning by far has been to focus.  By that I mean to focus on the service areas where we can achieve the most in terms of performance, client satisfaction and ultimately margins.

Those of you who have come across us before will hopefully already have started to see a change in our brand and messaging to reflect this. Anyone notice the new website for example?

Another key learning this year is to ask ourselves ‘Why’?

Prompted by the excellent TED Talk from Simon Sinek (watch below) we’re going to be asking this key question of ourselves.

Why are we running our b2b marketing and lead generation agency? What are we hoping to achieve?

The answer cannot be profits, which as Simon tells you in his excellent talk, is a result of doing business. It’s not a reason why.

Please end the year by watching this talk and start the year by asking yourself that crucial and challenging question. Why?

 

12 Days of Lead Generation

As it’s Christmas, I wanted to write a an awfully seasonal blog post for you all to enjoy. Without further ado, here goes my 12 Days of Lead Generation

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A social media marketing machine.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six perfect blog posts,
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Seven engaging podcasts,
Six perfect blog posts,
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight Payperclick ads,
Seven engaging podcasts,
Six perfect blog posts,
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine brand new webinars,
Eight Payperclick ads,
Seven engaging podcasts,
Six perfect blog posts,
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten twitter research reports,
Nine brand new webinars,
Eight Payperclick ads,
Seven engaging podcasts,
Six perfect blog posts,
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven half day workshops,
Ten twitter research reports,
Nine brand new webinars,
Eight Payperclick ads,
Seven engaging podcasts,
Six perfect blog posts,
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve email broadcasts,
Eleven half day workshops,
Ten twitter research reports,
Nine brand new webinars,
Eight Payperclick ads,
Seven engaging podcasts,
Six perfect blog posts,
Five optimised landing pages,
Four days of telemarketing,
Three speaking slots,
Two brand new eBooks, and
A social media marketing machine.

 If you’ve got this far well done you. Imagine trying to sing that after a couple of glasses of Sherry on Christmas Day.

And last but not least, enjoy this classic rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas

Creating Value Propositions

I came across this slide deck from Lingo Social recently on slideshare (via Publicate.it) that has some excellent frameworks to help startups – and any company really – to create a rock solid value proposition.

Unsure what that means? A value proposition is effectively how you tell the market and your target customer what you can do for them. Often referred to as an elevator pitch.

Personally I like Geoff Moore’s framework the most, largely due to it’s simplicity and directness.

If you can’t run through that framework for your business, it’s time you took a long hard look at yourselves. Chances are, if you don’t understand who you are and what you do clearly enough, neither will your target customers.

How Much Time Does Creativity Need?

We found this video in YouTube recently, posted by Hungarian marketing and communications magazine Kreatív.  It explores in a rather lovely way the relationship between good creative work and time.

It can be all to easy to squeeze the timeframe on creative work when in reality, for better results, you need to give your creatives more time to think: whether designing a new logo, drafting some copy, or planning out a story board.