Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Customer Data Is Essential To A Digital Strategy

The cornerstone of any Digital Transformation Programme, to move an organisation to a place of improved digital maturity, is customer data

The collecting, storing, processing, analysing and presenting of data collected about your users needs to be a fundamental requirement. From data comes an understanding of who your customers are and what they are doing.

Who they are:
(Typically obtained from account / registration database)
Age, sex & other demographics
Communication preferences

What they do:
(Typically obtained from your online analytics package)
Device(s) used
Time of day they visit
Browsing behaviour (e.g. pages visited)
Marketing campaigns they have interacted with
Goals completed

Or put a different way... structuring your digital transformation efforts around your customer is more important than you possibly realise.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing

From the pen of Marketing cartoonist comes another witty illustration, this time on the 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing:

Which do you practice?
(I bet you do at least one, if not more)

The full selection of cartoons can be found here: http://tomfishburne.com

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Happy 16th Birthday Google

Can the search giant really only be 16 years of age today?

Has Google really only hit it's mid-teens already?

Yes, the site that made search simple and pioneered & perfected the pay-per-click advertising model was only founded in 1998 by two Stanford doctoral students called Sergey Brin and Larry Page who developed a bunch of algorithms that turned the search marketing upside down.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The 4 C’s of a Digital Platform

I've previously posted about the need for organisations to move away from just a website to a Digital Platform, so I won’t go into detail about ‘why’ you need one. However, from feedback I've had about this topic, I think I need to go into more detail about WHAT specifically one actually is.

To therefore keep things as simple as possible, I think the scope of a Digital Platform can be summed up in 4 terms beginning with the letter C:

Keeping any online property up-to-date requires a decent system for managing content. With free and easy to use CMS (Content Management System) tools available, the days of static sites are (or should be) long gone.
Note: although I know of at least 2 large eCommerce retailers who claim to manage their site content via their merchandising system, which only updates product and category information but still needs a fleet of developers to make HTML-based changes to their homepage, landing pages and anything else you would generally classify under the term content.

Having transactional functionality in your online platform is becoming more and more of a fundamental requirement for an increasing number of sites as they look to acquire and retain direct online customers rather than use a complex and commercially draining network of stores, partners, resellers or agents.
If you want proof of this, just look at the recent demise of the mobile retailer Phones4u in the UK. As the mobile phone operators have gotten more grown-up with their online selling and customer management propositions, then their need for an intermediate who takes commission and attempts to own the customer becomes less and less. In short, by having a mature online commerce and account management service, companies can now seriously consider or reconsider dis-intermediation in fast moving markets.
A digital platform should therefore have a host of features (shopping carts, integration to payment services, discounts & offers functionality and ‘my account’ database functionality, etc.) to enable your business to quickly allow your customers to self-serve.

Forget that desktop-only site you've been holding onto for the last few years. The use of mobile devices to browse and buy are increasingly overtaking PC and laptop usage in all sorts of markets. Your customer is now almost as likely to be using their smartphone or tablet (in an array of sizes) to inform themselves. However, just because your mobile visitors have increased, it doesn't mean that your conversions have… as on average (in my experience anyhow) conversion rates on desktop sites accessed from mobile devices sharply decrease in correlation to the size of the screen used.
Or in other words… make sure your digital platform can deliver your content and commerce capability to all users regardless of their channel of choice.

If you capture and manage customer data, then use it to communicate. To really leverage the user data contained in you Digital Platform it also needs to include (or fully integrate with) a range of digital marketing tools to get your message out and to build a relationship with your target audience. Can your platform:
  • Deliver segmented marketing emails to a set of subscribed users?
  • Send alerts to customers that they have left something in their shopping basket (and that they should jolly well come back to the site and buy it before someone else does or it is no longer available)?
  • Send out SMS messages to those who want or need it (think how useful those text messages about that flight you booked for next week are and how they don’t need you to have a modern 4G data connection to look them up).
  • Work out which of your customers are Tweeting and confirm what product they actually bought online from you?

Hopefully your answer to all of the above is “Yes”.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Flybe location picker touches down too far

I'm an admirer of the online usability shown on flybe.com's website (OK, they do have a few slightly sneaky techniques for increasing average order revenues - but you still have to take appreciate the way they do it).

So it came as a little surprise to see the site's location selection 'mega menu' partially disappear beneath the bottom of the page of my browser. This means that around half of the destinations the discount airline fly from (including Glasgow, my own local airport) aren't shown at full screen.

I know that Flybe do fly to and from a large number of destinations around Europe, but surely there must be a more economical way of showing as many locations on the screen at once.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Remember to spell your client's product correctly

Dear Jeep.

Can I please suggest you speak with your digital marketing agency pretty quickly and find out why they can't even spell the name of your flagship motor vehicle?

You would have hoped that the people creating the Facebook Adverts to entice people to view your large family 4x4 would be able to actually spell..... wouldn't you?



Monday, September 8, 2014

Build a Digital Platform not a website

I still hear a lot of businesses talk about “building a new website” or “creating an online presence”. Now by itself this is not a bad thing and these organisations will no doubt join the ranks of those that regularly move pixels about to create more impact or sell more.

But your web presence should be only one part of an entire toolbox that larger organisations should be using to influence more, engage more, sell more and retain more. But in my experience, a lot of them don’t understand that to have a joined up online customer experience and you need to have a joined up collection of tools that all work well together.

In other words you need a Digital Platform not a website.

So what can a Digital Platform do for you?

Provide ubiquitous online access
It should give as many users as possible easy access regardless of: device, connection speed and ability.

Improve the Customer Experience
It should create a relevant & consistent digital interface for each user segment, allowing all interactions to be as efficient & intuitive as possible, allowing your business to understand customers better.

Improve revenue
It should maximise any online revenue opportunities through better marketing campaigns, improved conversion and opportunities for additional revenue optimisation

Improve insight
It should allow you to understand digital visitor behaviour with the intention of informing and optimising future digital activity.

Provide consistent content
It should allow the central management of content (text, imagery, etc.) across all online devices and interfaces.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Brandjacking is getting tired

I'm a lover of a decent brandjacking, where a brand, campaign, hashtag, etc. gets hijacked by someone else.
However it needs to be done elegantly and with more style or impact than the brand being 'jacked'. If it isn't... then it falls on its face.
And in my opinion this is what Kia have done with their promoted tweets intended to leverage off the marketing mammoth that is XFactor.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Subaru mobile website is roofless

With mobile web usage rocketing and more and more potential customers looking to inform their purchase online... you'd think that Subaru would get their website working correctly.

However this landing page for the new Subaru Impreza not only gives a poor layout, but also manages to only partially display the actual vehicle. In fact, the top half of the car is completely hidden from view and gives an overall poor experience to users looking to find out more on their smartphones.