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Permission Marketing – From strangers to friends. From friends to customers.

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Seth Godin, a very famous entrepreneur, author and public speaker (I’m sure you know him, if you don’t, please google), wrote Permission Marketing in 1999. Even though it’s not a new book, its principles are still considered essential for any marketeer. Here I’ll sum up some of ideas Seth put on the book.

Interruption Marketing

Did you remember when we used to have only five channels on TV? Everyone was part of the same community, watched the same commercials, discussed the same programs and bought the same type of things. This made it all easier for marketeers, they basically relied exclusively on one type of advertising, which Seth calls – Interruption Marketing. This is defined by “the science of creating and placing media that interrupts the consumer and then gets him or her to take some action”. This used to work in a world where the audience wasn’t as segment, people nowadays don’t care as much as they used to.

From Mass to Niche – The evolution

Companies have noticed that mass market strategy isn’t working as well as it used to. They’ve tried to overcome this by spending more advertising in odd places, such as ads on parking meters, floor of the supermarket aisle, etc. Another technique used was making ads more controversial and entertainment, and changing those ads more often in order to keep them interesting and fresh. The last approach was to abandon ads and replace them with direct email and promotions.

Although this worked for a while, interruption marketing still fails because it is unable to get enough attention from consumers.

Permission Marketing

Different from a mass marketing approach, “permission marketing encourages consumers to participate in a long-term, interactive marketing campaign in which they are rewarded in some way for paying attention to increasingly relevant messages”.

Most of us understand now that targeting customers individually isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Staff and budget doesn’t have to be that huge. “Permission marketing takes the cost of interrupting the consumer and spreads it out, over not one message, but dozens of messages”. Interruption marketers are all about spending money with strangers, people they don’t know but assume might be potential customers. Permission marketers think this is too risky, and it doesn’t drive as much result. Instead, they “move as quickly as they can to turn strangers into prospects who choose to opt-in to series of commutations”. You create a relationship with consumers since the beginning, and motivate the consumer to five more and more permission over time.

The Pros and Cons

Permission marketing campaigns require patience. You need to believe in the concept, growing it over time. Even a not very good interruption marketing campaign gets instant results, while permission campaigns take longer, they are build a stronger relationship and are easier to measure.

Getting a new customer is expensive, you need to get his attention and educate him about your business. If you think about it, it’s also expensive for the customer, who has to learn and evaluate the benefits and features of a product he does not know. Permission marketing, instead of focusing on getting new customers, it’s all about keeping customers longer and getting more money from each of them over time.

The New Process

Seth says the process of getting new customers needs to be reengineered. Some of the marketers “don’t notice, track or interact with people until they are a customer. And some don’t even pay close attention until the consumer becomes a loyal customer”. It looks simple, but it’s essential to look at it like this if you want to create meaningful relationships and long term customers. It’s necessary to nurture strangers from the moment they indicated interest in your business.

Strangers – Friends – Customers – Loyal Customers – Former Customers

But remember, you can’t build a one to one relationship with a customer unless he explicitly agrees to it. Similar thing happens when you have a current customer which is not inside this process, which doesn’t mean quality for the future of business. You might think about firing him! I know this sounds harsh, but Seth’s got a point. “A customer that distracts you, or one that cherry picks your line of products, or one that requires a disproportionate percentage of your company’s time and resources, is going to cost you money”.

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Written by Cristina Dresch

June 24, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Posted in Marketing, Media, Strategy

Social Media and Customer Engagement Cycle Stages

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As I already said here, social media is a great way to engage with your current and prospect customers, creating a more meaningful relationship that will hopefully lead to higher loyalty and awareness, resulting in increase of sales. Basically this means social media can be influential in any of the customer engagement cycle stages – awareness, interest, conversion and advocacy. But don’t try to do it all! You want to focus in one stage, which will hopefully naturally lead to the others.

So, before starting to use social media it’s necessary to identify which goals you, as a business, is planning to achieve. Let’s check some different scenarios:

1. Returning customers level is low

You managed to achieve one of the most important goals in any business, gain customers! Unfortunately, you’re not keeping them, which is a huge issue. This might be happening because of different factors: (a) your product is not good enough (b) there’s no value to the customer in keeping a relationship with your brand (c) customers are quickly forgetting about you. You can solve any of these issues through social media, by engaging with your customer and asking for feedback. Why not create a channel for customer service, which will be responsible for contacting the customer after one week he purchased from you? This way you make sure he doesn’t forget about you and that he actually enjoys the product. But remember, you need to add value for him as well. Depending on your brand, value can range from offering good content to giving good discount in future purchases.

2. Business needs more clients

Your sales are simply not good enough? And you have already tried reaching to current customers and offering them deals to make sure you increase revenue over one single customer? This might not be enough. You need awareness! People need to know your business exists in order to gain new customers and reach a new audience. Social media is the perfect place for that. First you need to clearly understand who your audience is. Then go through different channels (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, etc) and find them! You need to know who they are and then create your social media presence around that. Don’t wait for customers to go where you are, you need to go where they are. Then you need to start reaching out to them, don’t be shy; you must be confidence about your product. If you believe it’s going to be beneficial to them, why not? If you’re targeting the right audience, they will thank you for that!

3. Customers are not converting

So, you’ve got traffic but people are not doing what you expected them to do. This sucks. There are so many different possibilities for why this is happening, so first, research. This might be solved without any help of social media. Analytics is the best tool for that. Make sure this is not an usability issue. If it’s not, move on the content strategy. People need to understand what your business is about. Ask friends, family, and colleagues to go through the content and make sure at least they understand what is going on. You might realize your product is not easy to market, and there’s when social media can be a strong player. Social media is a great place to educate people about your product, make people interested. You can do that by creating multimedia content, which always helps with interaction and engagement. Identify people from your company or in the market who can add value, are passionate about the products. If you can’t think of anyone, do it yourself! What a better advocate then the business owner? Of course, don’t be too selly. The whole goal is to educate people and make them interested, and then they need to find the value by themselves.

So what does that mean?

If you work on specific goals your business is trying to achieve, the success in social media is always going to be more measurable and reachable. Again, don’t try to do it all! Hopefully by focusing in one specific stage of the customer’s engagement cycle you will then influence the others, leading to a complete successful cycle achieved through social media.

Written by Cristina Dresch

June 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Planning, Social, Strategy

Why should you care about F-commerce?

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Social Media is a great way to engage with your current and prospect customers, creating a more meaningful relationship that will hopefully lead to higher loyalty and awareness, resulting in increase of sales. But we all know that, don’t we? Well, we should. What we don’t know is if we can go beyond that, and do what we’re actually trying to achieve – sell products.

“If you as a retailer simply copy your website to Facebook without a social strategy, the initiative is most likely to fail.”

Facebook is a powerful platform, according to ComScore “one out of every eight minutes online is spent on Facebook”. So shouldn’t retailers take more advantage of that time? You need to keep in mind that it’s not easy to offer commerce on social media. You need a great app. And more important, if you as a retailer simply copy your website to Facebook without a social strategy, the initiative is most likely to fail.

“The average conversion rate is 3.4%, which is about the same as an ecommerce website”

Now you’re probably wondering, “does this effort pay off?” According to a recent study from Adgregate, it definitely does. The average conversion rate is 3.4%, which is about the same as an ecommerce website. Surprisingly the average order value is $104, with 24% growth each month. These are very encouraging statistics.

You probably heard about Asos Facebook page, it’s one of the brands that does the job best in the UK. They are promoting, presenting and using F-commerce well. Different from Best Buy, which tries too hard to use Facebook’s functionalities, giving the user a poor experience. At the end, if you choose to buy a product, you’re directed to the company’s website. Don’t do that, it confuses the customers and you’re more likely to lose the sale because of the dramatic change in scenarios.

“Shopping has always been a social experience.”

If you think about it, shopping has always been a social experience. This is clearly reflected in ecommerce by the addition of social features such as ratings, reviews and share. On Facebook this can be easily executed, and more importantly, without asking customers to leave the place they feel comfortable with.

“You shouldn’t replace your ecommerce website for f-commerce”

But at the end, it doesn’t really matter how much you sell on Facebook, this shouldn’t be your primarily objective. You still need to focus on engagement, dialogue, letting fans get involved and build your community. Selling products should be a plus in the middle of all that. Because remember: you shouldn’t replace your ecommerce website for f-commerce. At least not now! Maybe in the future the market will be more mature and this will be an option, don’t worry, I’ll make sure to write another article then.

Written by Cristina Dresch

June 10, 2011 at 5:42 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Ben and Jerry’s Social Media Strategy

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I’ve written this quick analysis about Ben and Jerry’s for my Advanced Social Media class in my Digital Marketing Masters. I’ve chosen this brand because I considere myself an advocate, I really didn’t know ice cream could taste that good before I tried B&Js. Simply ♥ the brand.

Ben and Jerry’s is a global ice cream brand, originally from Vermont, United States. The brand has build different communities around each country, especially because of language, cultural and distribution issues. I’ve analyzed their UK community, where their main platforms are Facebook, Twitter and their UK website.

Global UK
Facebook Fans – 3m Facebook Fans – 200k
Twitter Followers – 10k Twitter Followers – 4k

Interesting to notice that although the regional community has a smaller number of followers, it generates more interaction compared to the global. I believe people are more interested in joining a group where deals are more targeted and members are from the same region. This way there’s more room for conversation.

Fair Trade – Overall Theme

Ben and Jerry’s is currently running a campaign about Fair Trade. At first, by the way they are advertising it, it seems that the campaign is about bringing new flavors from the US to Europe. With a bit of investigation, we can figure out that Fairtrade is actually a foundation that the brand supports. According to the website, Ben and Jerry’s “will be going 100% Fairtrade in the UK and throughout Europe by the end of 2011 and globally by end 2013 – which means that every ingredient they use, from sugar to nuts to cocoa, that can be Fairtrade certified, will be.”

They could have done a better job trying to make this more clear to the customers, since it represents the kind of brand Ben and Jerry’s is in a very positive way. Interestingly, Ben and Jerry’s decided to use Fairtrade as a theme for various campaigns in Social Media, which seems to be working very well.

Unfairly Desserted Flavors Facebook App

  • Goal: Vote in the new flavour for the UK
  • Best interaction bit: Flavour personality test
  • Best aspects: Fun, engaging, sharable and informative
    

First, the cuteness of the app is great. The brand has a very distinct style and this is well represented in the app. The attention to detail is great and the layout is very easy on the eyes. The app opens with an introduction explaining (in a fun way!) that some flavours from the US have never arrived in the UK, and now its up to the users to decide which flavour is going to make it.

The users should vote in their favourite flavour. In case he has any doubts, since all of them look yummy, he can choose to take the personality test. This is a very fun test (I almost forgot to take screen shots, because I was really enjoying it). There are five very simple, and again, fun questions to be answered. At the end, the ‘Doctor Cow’ shows the user what flavour suits best his personality. The user can easily share the flavour with his Facebook or Twitter friends.

Fairtrade Arcade Facebook App

  • Goal: Play games and have fun
  • Best aspects: Fun, wide audience reach, interactive

The user has five game options. Some of them are inspired in well known arcade games, which makes it easier for the user to interact and start playing. All games are easy and fun, attracting a very wide audience. Again here they don’t forget to add the social bit by allowing users to share their game results on Facebook and Twitter. Even though the app is not about the ice cream itself, everything is very well branded. Several bits are inspired in the brand’s main characteristics such as – fudge brownie, nuts, and milk.

Fair Tweets Campaign

  • Goal: Promote the World Fair Trade Day
  • Best aspects: Supports a good cause, easy to spread, creative

Ben and Jerry’s launched Fair Tweets to celebrate the World Fair Trade Day, which happened on May 14th. By entering in the campaign’s website or using its browser extension, the user could tweet as he normally would and the application would use the characters left to promote the fair trade day, together with a link to an article about the fair trade movement. In this campaign Ben and Jerry’s didn’t promote the brand as much, except for a few details highlighting the logo and a link back to its website. The campaign has its own Twitter account, and even though the day has passed, the application is still running and people continue to tweet about it.

SWOT Analysis

STRENGHTS

  • Brand is seen as informal and fun which helps with their social media presence, making it a natural environment for the brand
  • Global brand, higher reach
  • The community is segmented by country, which allows for easy content targeting and meaningful conversations
WEAKNESSES

  • It relies on third party platforms
  • The country segmented community should be better advertised in the main page, so customers understand which page they should like in order to receive more valuable content
  • It might be seen as a childish brand, diminishing the brands reach
OPORTUNITIES

  • Customers tend to be brand advocates
  • Brand could invest more in brand awareness
  • Promote more in Social Media the Fairtrade Foundation, so the brand can be instantly perceived as ethical
  • Give a better reason for customers to interact with the brand (aka: prizes)
THREATS

  • Change of seasons can increase/decrease the amount of participation in the community
  • Malicious users can get in the middle and ruin the positive community’s atmosphere
  • Other game apps on Facebook could steal potencial users from the Arcade Game app

Conclusion

Ben and Jerry’s is definitely a successful story with lots of good cases to tell. They are doing an excellent job by interacting with their customers in a fun and innovative way.  It was very smart to create an overall theme around fair trade, which is a global cause that says a lot about the brand’s values and quality. It also helps to connect each separate campaign and channel, giving almost like a narrative feeling to the customer’s journey through the campaigns.

The customers’ response has been very positive, and there’s been a lot of engagement with the brand. Most of the campaigns are aimed at brand loyalty and they do the job by either empowering the customer or engaging him with the brand’s content. Even though the campaigns have a lot of social sharing features, they should go beyond and focus more in brand awareness in order to acquire new customers and followers.

Written by Cristina Dresch

June 2, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Posted in Social, Strategy

Social Media Cycle

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Funny to stop and think about how Social Media evolved from a couple of years til now.

What is Social Media?

Back when I did my thesis in my Bachelors degree in 2009, about the New Market and the Social Web, I still struggled to find a good definition for Social Media (aka Social Web). We had heard a lot about Web 2.0 at that time, but not enough about Social Media.

That’s cool, let’s all be there!

When Social Media started to act more as a global channel and reach a wider audience, was when brands realized – “UH! That’s cool. Let’s do this!”

We need strategy

After a while, not too long, brands realized they needed to build their own strategy in Social Media. It’s not simply about having a presence, you need a plan – set goals, target your audience, figure out a budget and resources.

Wait, is this right?

Now we are starting to ask questions, such as – Should I really be in Social Media? Do I have enough time and resources? And what about my budget? What is going to be my ROI? What channels are best for my business?

… what’s next?

We are being a lot more critic regarding Social Media nowadays. I believe we’re finally reaching a tipping point. Finally, we don’t need to prove things work. There are a lot of success stories out there. But the key is, does it work for everyone? Is it really going to stick as part of our everyday lives for long? Don’t know. Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, the Social Media Cycle hasn’t closed yet.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Marketing, Social, Web 2.0

What’s Up With Social Media And Friends Recommendations?

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Ok. I get it. We trust friends with recommendations more than we trust brands or people we don’t know. That makes sense. But think about how social networks work nowadays. Do we know everyone we’re friends with? A research just came out this past week saying the average 22 year-old in England has over 1000 friends on Facebook. And now you tell me, do we really know everyone we’re friends with? I doubt it.

Google +1

Not long ago, Google launched Google +1 button. As Google itself describes, the button is a “shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.” They said you just have to click on it to “publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.” So basically, it’s a recommendation button.

New Facebook page feature

Rumors this week started about a Facebook page recommendation tool, where friends can recommend friends about which pages to like. Yet again, we are trusting our so called friends with recommendations.

Enough with that

Stop to reflect about it. Would you care about what pages your little brother likes on Facebook? Do you really want to get a recommendation from your best friend’s mother? People have different interests, and that’s perfectly normal. I believe that Google +1 can easily become spam if not handled right. I’ve been using the Google+like extension in my browser (Chrome), and it’s been great. Not for the recommendation bit, where I should believe the content my friends have shared is more interesting (cause I don’t), but because this is great for research. I can see how many likes a link has had, which is great to understand the reach and popularity of online content.

What does the future hold?

Saying all that, I still think recommendation is a great opportunity in Social Media. I think it would be perfectly normal for me to get recommendations from my Twitter followers, and you know why is that? Because my Twitters followers are not exactly my friends, but people who share the same interests as me. I wouldn’t follow them if I didn’t care for what they had to say. Recommendations should be about the relationship you have with someone, it should be about sharing and caring for the same things.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 26, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Facebook, Social, Statistics

The Replacement Habit

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I’m tired. Everyone keeps saying that books, magazines and newspaper are going to die. Can we STOP with this replacement habit?

If we look back, people used to say TV would kill cinema. Well, I still watch TV everyday and love to go to the cinema on weekends. We managed to keep both. Why? Because they are not the same thing. Each media has its own beauty. I turn the TV on, but I’m not always watching it. When I go to the cinema, I’m focused. Totally different feelings.

Photography didn’t kill paintings. Cinema didn’t kill books. TV didn’t kill cinema. And the web will not kill everything else!

It’s not about replacement, it’s about addition.

P.S. Can you figure out what are the medias in the image above? I know it’s not too easy, but I must say, this actually looks better than I thought it would. I definitely can’t draw, but illustrator helped a bit :)

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Media

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