CRM software runs my life

Tag: marketing

australian youtube logo doodle

Happy Australia Day!

Happy Australia Day 2011 to all the aussies who read my blog! Ernesto, 3DM and I worked hard to deliver the first YouTube custom logo for Australia ever and a custom video mapping gadget! The basic premise is that Australians can upload videos to YouTube and plot them on a map. This map then visually “fills in” to create essentially remap Australia in terms of summer memories. I am really looking forward to seeing how much momentum we can build off this one and it is great showcase for local creatives.

australian youtube logo doodle

Custom YouTube logo and youtube.com/MapMySummer gadget

Google also put up a custom doodle for today, which indirectly drives through to the YouTube channel too:

google doodle for australia day 2011

Google doodle for Australia Day 2011

Is it weird that I get a buzz from having input into the creation of these programs that re-craft some of the most recognised brands in the world? Must be my inner marketing geek showing through…

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffery A. Moore – Book Review

I have just finished reading Crossing the Chasm (Revised Edition) by Geoffery A. Moore. I purchased this book on Amazon after seeing it on a number of Googler’s Amazon wish-lists on LinkedIn, which is a good way to prepare for an interview with a new company! Truthfully however I decided to read the book because I have a deep appreciation of marketing and a strong desire to be an entrepreneur.

The Whole Product concept instantly resonated with me. The only thing worse than an engineer that thinks “I built it, now I just have to wait for them to come” is a sales person who thinks “we need a custom version for every customer who promises millions”. The central theme to the book is that getting a product to be successful is like organising a battle; from amassing a strong force to landing on the beach and finally taking the flag. At each stage there is a huge pit of despair that you can easily fall into. The key to it is where you spend your effort. Don’t focus too much on satisfying every product need, but just enough to appeal to a mass market. Don’t focus too much on a sophisticated marketing message, customers will get confused by and forget anything that is longer than two sentences.

One of the key learnings for me was that you shouldn’t pitch your product as a one of a kind, because nothing freaks a pragmatic buyer out more than having nothing to compare you with. How can you make a decision without a reasonable comparison? First you need to establish a market alternative (a familiar problem you are solving in an innovative new way) and secondly you establish a product alternative (a familiar solution that you have uniquely tailored to this application). By drawing a line between these two points of reference, you have created a new niche that customers will understand and appreciate.

The only aspects of this book I didn’t like were some technology references were a little outdated (even the revised edition is now 11 years old). I understand the historical examples where there was a conclusion, but some predictions are a little off (although probably good “what went wrong?” case studies). I also felt the book was a little repetitive in places, with the author jumping ahead and back again.

Overall however it was a great book and really thought provoking. It is a hard topic from my perspective because how do you teach minimalism, balance and keeping things simple? It is easy to go off on a tangent and over-invest in the area that has your short attention span as an entrepreneur. I guess not seeing the forest for the trees is a simple analogy? Anyway, I will no doubt use this book as a source of re-focusing when I do eventually realise my entrepreneurial dreams.

Seth Godin – Marketing is too important

Seth begins his speech by saying he is going to go fast. I was initially sceptical, but now I have watched this video three times and I am still finding resonating ideas within it.

A good product should sell itself. Good products will get recommended. A personal recommendation is more valuable than a website lead. And so the circle continues. Now back to watching the video again…

MasterChef – Generation Y Best Practice Marketing

MasterChef LogoMasterChef has been a huge surprise hit in Australia. The TV ratings have been sensational for Channel 10, with an average of 1.96 million viewers nationally (not bad from a total audience pool of just over 20 million). What keeps this average so high? The key, ironically, is the stickiness created by the side dishes. The MasterChef website gets an equally, if not more, astonishing 2 million views per week.

This website content is what keeps people engaged. Full show episodes stream very quickly from the site not long after screening, letting you catch up if you have missed an episode or just feed your addiction. Every recipe on the show is uploaded and available for those at home to have a crack, and beautiful images are cycled past the viewer. The taunt of “Can you master this MasterClass dish?” next to a picture of a beautiful coffee eclair is a great teaser to engage those at home.

The engaged community that has been built can be confirmed on Twitter. There doesn’t seem to actually be an official MasterChef twitter account, but that hasn’t stopped loyal fans creating unoffical ones and swamping Twitter with comments about how hungry they are, which recipes they love and who they want to get kicked off. The episode finished over an hour ago, but tweets are still coming in faster than one per minute. I really hope someone is monitoring this community really closely, what a great way to get feedback on the franchise directly from your customers.

Even if they are not monitoring the Twitter community, they will at least be monitoring their public forums. Yet another nod to the importance of communities in building a loyal following behind a brand. Over 30,000 posts proves that people are enjoying it, and breaking down the forums by participant gives a great selection criteria for the next season’s contestants (rumoured to be celebrities). Finally, they also have a Digg-like rating system on each recipe, so again the community can feel engaged and contribute back to itself.

How do you then cash in on this community? The product integration with Coles is subtle yet very effective. Recipes have a cost from Coles listed below them, for example this tasty soup is a mere $3.50 per serve. The PDF that you print to take to the shops of course has a Coles logo in the top right corner, as well as any notes about whether Coles stocks the item or not. They could have even taken this to the nth degree by having “MasterChef Prefilled Shopping Carts” from Coles Online, what armchair chef doesn’t want the ingredients delivered straight to their house? Even better, you could pre-empt the episode and deliver the Mystery Box challenge ingredients on the night of the Mystery Box episode! Now that would be challenging our engaged community.

The only thing that Channel 10 have done wrong, is screen Biggest Loser USA directly after MasterChef on a Sunday night. Then again, for some reason Biggest Loser makes me hungry too… 🙂

What is Social CRM?

Social CRM is a buzz word that is spiralling out of control at the moment. What does it mean? I googled around and didn’t really find a consistent message. Instead I am going to explain my interpretation, let me know if you think it makes sense.

Social networks have two strong points, they are full of customers that are linked by relationships. These are the first two letters of CRM! The multi-billion dollar question is how can you manage them without destroying them or being seen as an evil spy.

Social CRM Feedback Loop

Social CRM Feedback Loop

The first step towards Social CRM is using social networks as a feedback loop for your customer relations programs. Who better to learn from than your customers themselves? It’s the perfect way to refine your customer relations processes and add another source of feedback and innovation into your company.

The next stage is to develop relationships with your customers. From a business perspective I would assume that this is due to repeat business delivering higher margins, mostly because it doesn’t require expensive mass marketing or other customer acquisition. Businesses justify it to consumers by saying it gives the customer an opportunity to dictate and receive a personalised product.

I like idealistic goals, I think when you are talking about customers it is good to at least aim towards being noble. The question is, how many businesses intentions are simply to maintain the margins of their mass market product?

As with everything in life there will be a balancing point, somewhere in the feedback gathering process I think the social networks will reject further interference. That balancing point is what Facebook and others are thinking day and night about, and the point they have crossed at times with projects such as Facebook Beacon. If a social network hits that point perfectly there is definitely big money at stake, but until then companies need to monitor the social networks in their backyard and just listen. There are plenty of companies that struggle to do that internally, let alone through fast moving external networks.

Email Marketing Problems Explained

Email Delivery FlowchartEmail marketing is not just spam, it is an important way of updating and maintaining a relationship with your customers. For many however it is a black art (literally) plagued by blacklists and emails disappearing into black holes. The various explanations for failed email delivery however are often highly technical and involve trial and error to resolve rather than guaranteed solutions.

The first resource that I created is a 1 page document to explain the problem areas in the email delivery process. It is simply entitled Email Delivery Explained (click to download the PDF). It is by no means comprehensive, but it is instead targetted at first time email marketers and budding e-sales people trying to understand the world of email marketing. If you found it interesting and want to know more, or want a great email marketing provider, then check out the MailChimp Resources page.

The second resource is a very cool program called Litmus. This software validates your email marketing collateral against the various email clients (desktop clients such as Outlook and Lotus, as well as web based clients like Hotmail and Gmail). It will provide a visual image of exactly what went wrong and where, so you can keep tweaking until it looks right. Not only will it improve your email marketing presentation, it will also check the content against spam filters like Norton, SpamAssassin and many others. You really can’t be much more thorough than that!

Integrating your CRM and Website

Closed for BusinessAs far as I am concerned, having a website without having a CRM/sales system behind it is like having a shopfront with no shop. People can view your products, but they can’t offload their hard earned cash. Why do that to yourself?

Unfortunately it seems that companies need to literally see people banging on the store door (via hits, emails, phone calls etc.) before they will open the store. How many customers have you missed in that time? You’re paying for the store location, so why not fit it out inside?

Salesforce announced at Dreamforce that they are taking this view to another level. Your website should be linked into the core of your company. Every process your company runs should be accessible (and deliver value) to the customer at all times. Zdnet give it good coverage, but I think Smoothspan explains it best. The basic premise is know your customers, and then deliver the best experience you can to them. CRM’s have always tried to get close, but it requires a company to be completely online and committed.

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