Month: August 2015


The ROI of Digital Communications is… Relationships!

The future of marketing is about to rely very heavily on marketers who know how to integrate technology throughout every process of a customer’s experience. The biggest question that faces everyone right now is: How do I leverage online and mobile experiences to produce successful ROI?

Again, what is ROI? Return on intelligence?! Seriously… We need to ignore ROI when it comes to marketing. I get it; we need to measure our results to understand what is working and what isn’t working. Marketing should not be driven by revenue. MARKETING SHOULD BE DRIVEN BY RELATIONSHIPS!

“Twitter is not a good tool for a lot of things. It’s great for conversation, it’s great for relationships, it’s horrible for sales, it’s horrible for marketing, it has no shelf life, and I love it because it creates relationships.” ~ Scott Stratten

What if we took the question, “How do I leverage online and mobile experiences to produce successful ROI?” and re-wrote it to say, “How do I leverage online and mobile experiences to produce valuable experiences?” Better yet, let’s think in terms of the customer:

“How do I leverage online and mobile experiences to produce valuable returns on investments for my customers?”

After all, we are asking our customers to talk, engage, research, and ultimately buy from us. We’re either producing valuable experiences for them or incompetent interrupted experiences that reflects positive or negative on our brand experience.

Remember, there is never a neutral experience with a brand. It goes up or down!

So let’s answer: “How do I leverage online and mobile experiences to produce valuable returns on investments for my customers?”

That depends on the size of your company, industry, and whether you’re a B2C or B2B. There are many factors that go in to creating heuristic experiences, including:

  • Business Purpose
  • Business Values
  • Business Objectives
  • Marketing Objectives
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Marketing Goals
  • * Digital Objectives
  • * Digital Strategy
  • * Digital Goals
    * Digital objectives, strategies, and goals are limited to only a select few companies in the world that have large brand recognition, such as Pepsi, Starbucks, Coke, ect

As you can tell, there are numerous variables that go into answering the above question. It’s not as easy as you might have though. Consider all the above factors for your business and let’s revisit this in the next post. Here is one tip: I repeat, don’t create a separate Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube strategy! You would never have a separate telephone.

What are some successful strategies or activities that have worked for you? I’d love to hear them! A follow up post will highlight case studies with key do’s and don’ts.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube… WTF Is Social Media?

Social media is…. A blog, twitter, facebook, YouTube, digg, reddit, and more. Is it really?! The continued debate of what social media truly is has raged on for the past year or more. People, Companies, and Brands are jumping all over the bandwagon as a must have new channel of marketing. Social media is this.. it’s that.. it’s…. Seriously people, grow up and listen to yourselves!!!

We’ve been in this debate of what social media really is now for the past year or two. Many businesses and corporations are caught up on the open transparency of social media and the danger that technology is now presenting in terms of privacy. That is one major element, but the other element is that many people view these new advances in social networks as a technology medium to creating a new channel of marketing. In all honesty, social media is the most overused word in the history of the Internet for the past 10 years.

I hate the term social media! Mr. Unmarketing himself say’s it perfectly “It’s called talking!!!”

Why can’t we as human beings be able to talk as part of our business? That is after all how we sell product. Why have we not been able to get over the fear of creating conversation around our brand? For years, word-of-mouth has been one of the number ways of purchase decisions, yet we’ve never been able to hold such public conversations with our customers until now. So what is the biggest challenge facing businesses to understand “talking”?

So if social media is “talking”, then why am I not a talking consultant? I guess that’s a little too simplified for business purposes. So my definition of social media does not involve the term “social media” at all. In fact, I call it “digital communications”.

Digital communications is:

“A communication system with multiple channels of online conversations designed to engage in online conversations for driving offline engagements.”

Digital communications is simply an evolution of communications over thousands of years. From lights flashing in the sky and smoke signals to Alexander Graham Bell’s Telephone inventionand Guglielmo Marconi’s radio telegraph system to TV and finally the Internet. Our communication systems have simply gone from a vague mass and non-relevant system to a mass complex system that allows for one-to-many and one-to-one personable relevant conversations.

Now that we have technology that allows us to have one-to-many and one-to-one personable or relevant conversations, we’re freaking out because the conversations are immediate and constant. The ability to communicate by phone, text, tweet, or post has allowed for constant conversations over multiple channels creating a sense of lunacy in immediate and obsessive responses. This is where digital communications as a system will sort itself out in terms of applicable usage in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on the evolution of social media? Do you like the term digital communications better?

What The Heck Is Digital Communications?!

Now that I’ve defined what digital communications is and calmed down the paranoid around “social media” (hopefully), what is digital communications, what are the channels of digital communications, and what are the wrong ways to be effective at digital communication?

Effective digital communications can take many forms, but the basic premise is the understanding of how your customer receives important key brand messages while completing an online transaction, entering a contest, giving a comment or feedback, creating or engaging in a conversation, and so much more! We refer to this online interaction as an experience that creates an emotional connection with customers.

Digital communications for any business use to be limited to experiences strictly on your website. However, in the past five years, the multitude of channels for experiences has grown immensely. Advances in technology and software development have created new channels that shifted the population towards the new phenomenon in Facebook and social networks. This ultimately shifted the communication away from a company’s website to numerous channels.

This shift in communication has forced businesses to have less control over the experiences of their brand(s) and more engagements with their customers. Businesses are now forced to pay attention to or own multiple channels of possible congregating fans, such as:

  • Blogs
  • Facebook Pages
  • Facebook Groups
  • Facebook Messaging
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Yelp
  • Mobile Apps
  • Social Gaming (eg: Farmville)
  • Forums
  • Newsnets

With an abundance of channels and an infinite amount of online experiences, your customers can never have a neutral experience with your brand. Your brand will either go up or down. There is no middle ground!

Engagement techniques have been around for a while now, just not in the same form as we think of them today. Tip: Don’t talk back to a customer that wants to talk to you. You only turn them away!

As Scott Stratten pointed out in last weeks Unmarketing Conference, “It’s not your job to tell your audience how to consume your content, you just want them to consume it.” In otherwards, don’t kill the spread of content by creating new channels that force customers to engage elsewhere than where they are use to talking. They won’t come!

Second, be cautious of engaging on multiple channels. Creating content for Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blog, and website may not be necessary for your brand. The danger with this approach is that you can spread your resources, time, and content too thin across the digital spectrum and your customers may begin engaging on a medium you’re not comfortable with. Then you really are S.O.L.

I highly suggest building up one or two platforms at most that provide high levels of engagement, such as Twitter and/or Facebook. Having said this, there is no question that you need to own a presence on all, if not most digital channels, but your content and resources should be heavily focused on just one or two channels.

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