Tag Archives: Digital Marketing

How to Transform Today’s Traditional Midsize Companies and Literally Drag Them Into Digital and Social 21st Century Transformation? (Part 2)

My favorite book (The Bible) states: without vision people perish: what a true statement and without vision many companies disappear such as this old-fashioned German Drugstore outlets Schlecker struggling to find an angel investor before the end of this very month! It is sometimes sad to be able to predict that some businesses won’t be around within the next 3 to 5 years if they do not drastically change their Modus Operandi! Often companies are way too busy with “business as usual” while not spending enough time on strategy! “If you do not know where you are going you will most likely end up somewhere else”: an old adage we all know!

Today many SME (if they have not done it yet) should heavily consider creating a new responsibility, which could be something like a “Business Facilitator”: a savvy strategic thinker, who ties up four main challenges companies are facing today!  An all-around talent, visionary, influential, inspirational and above all motivational! Some would name it a CIO but may be it should be a bit more like a CBF (Chief Business Facilitator)?

I came across some quotes from CEO leaders not only talking but walking the leadership walk and embracing the turbulent changes our networked society is forcing upon us!  In the social enterprise people and culture are the two driving forces and building blocks our Business Facilitator will increasingly have to take into account:

1. Social Culture

Creating a “Culture Is Your Brand” philosophy à la Zappos and studying Tony Hsieh’s culture book would certainly be a very good start! Without enterprise culture it is going to be tricky to create motivated employees to positively and actively participate in social media communication!  How many companies out there still use Twitter as an “Inbound” marketing tool or a pricelist Email alternative? Painful! Check out the Marketing Master Coca-Cola Content 2020:  CEO Muhtar Kent thinks that marketing is getting more and more data driven and “Coca-Cola needs to be part of Digital Marketing and IT closer to customers”.

2. Content or Inbound Marketing

How does one keep patrons drinking coffee?  By providing WIFI in all Starbuck outlets so that both business people and Twitter addicts may connect to their favorite social media accounts while sipping on their preferred coffee specialty. Or by starting a monthly campaign such as: “Global Month of Service”! How about letting customer pay in its U.S. stores with a smartphone app tied to their loyalty and payment cards? Social is important to Starbuck providing its Facebook fan page with an online suggestion box while letting fans send gift cards! Being sociable seems to be “a must” for Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz who is also upgrading his IT Infrastructure for point of sales inventory management, CRM and Labor Scheduling tools!  Desktop Virtualization is also a hot trends IT department are implementing in order to accommodate BYOD and the commercialization of smart phones and tablets.

3. Social Business

Social Media is constantly changing and the first three most visited platforms in March 2012 were Facebook, Twitter and surprisingly Pinterest overtaking layout-old-fashioned “veteran” LinkedIn! It is now impossible to do business without making Social Media full part of a Marketing Strategy: And this involves a lot more than sticking a Facebook and Twitter logo on a website!  Videos themselves are becoming an integral part of the social media portfolio and if you have not yet seen the 2012 Cartier Video, I recommend you watch it! To this day it has been viewed 14.586.933 times! Airlines are also beginning to use videos such as: “KLM Surprise” and “Air China in Sweden” as well the outstanding Mini Getaway Stockholm Case Study, which already took place a year ago in Sweden! Some funny campaigns also involving an entertaining “Dollar Shave Club” and the Guinness St Patrick’s Day Commercial 2012!

4. Modernize IT infrastructure and move to the cloud while embracing mobility

Legacy systems may sometimes be responsible for slowing down technology growth and we all know mobility demand is on the rise: it is now time to reconsider a more focused cloud outlook!  Lowe’s CEO Robert A. Niblock has understood Lowe’s need to zero in on modernizing IT infrastructure with faster internet connections and deploying a gigantic action to equip store personnel with 42.000 IPhones. He also recognizes the challenge of a multi channel strategy while planning to equip both call centers and retail outlets with better access to company’s 250.000 products, customers’ accounts as well as being able to close sales on Iphones! TJX’s CEO Carol Meyrowitz has similar priorities with a multi channel strategy: “We continue wanting to marry shop and web since Ecommerce gives TJX the opportunity to sell things, which are not carried in the physical shops”. Procter & Gamble’s CEO Bob Mc Donald plans to move accounting from traditional responsibilities to operational: “accounting systems aren’t designed today for operations–they tend to look backward–but we’re working on integrating our operational system with the financial system to move in that direction.”

The Business Facilitator’s challenge is immense but one thing is for sure silos have to be dismantled: Over are the days were company departments could allow themselves to work “independently” as a block almost against each other! Time has come to transform our work environment into a social networked place following the example of Apple and Starbucks with their IT helpdesk coffee shop allowing employees to choose IT smart phone & Tablet on display and directly bill them to their departments as well as technical support and suggestion on how to make IT run better!  

10 Fundamental Ways to Transform Your SMB, Promote Innovation and Optimize Your Sales Results (Part 1)

Social media or not, Customer Service is what is being added to customers’ purchase before and after the sale has been executed! B2C retailers and B2B platforms should heavily reconsider rewarding both regular customers and brand faithfulness with additional perks and special privileges! Customer loyalty cards are already a given and let’s be frank we all know that most of those are not adding much value anyhow! It is now time to harness your creativity and develop a state of the art Social Business Marketing Enterprise!

1. Ratify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition and Unique Selling Passion) in order to focus the targeted customer audience your business will want to reach! The more precise the better! Brainstorm and debate: If you are still not sure about your USP make a turnover hit-list of your top 30 to 50 (or more depending on your business size) best customers and ask them personally to give you some input into what they would love your business to communicate about and sell! This will be a great way of getting them involved right from the start.

2. Your first piece of real estate should be your blog before even starting a website! Create one right away if you do not have one already and start communicating with your clients, prospects, visitors by posting relevant information around your USP relating to your audience, business and core values by publishing the following information:

  • Own and guest posted articles
  • Own videos (think of Gary Vaynerchuk’s creativity and audacity)
  • Videos uploaded on your site relating to your audience
  • Interviews, Podcasts and Webcasts on specific topics of interest
  • E-books, White papers, E-articles
  • Pictures, Recipes (if you are in the food business)
  • Featured articles linked to other sites (it will help SEO)

3. Refine your Social Media portfolio by making sure you have accounts in the following areas narrowing it down to 10-12 platforms at the most:

4. Create a digital company newsletter, which should include blog content with some specific items reserved to your exclusive circle of contacts and personally delivered to their mailbox always including a call to action! Consider making this letter custom made according to their preferences and interests by adding personal perks and offers.

5. Customer Content Marketing: Communication goes both ways: Reserve plenty of space for your visitors to upload the same sort of material your company is uploading:

  • Customer articles and / or links.
  • Give them the freedom to build their community on your website: it will dramatically increase your traffic!
  • Customer videos, personal videos even if not relating to your business (be personal and social and grant them the freedom to communicate)
  • Personal pictures, anecdotes they would like to share with their peers
  • Events customers want to share with your business and their community
  • Trust them first, in return they will start trusting your business

6. Read, listen and consider what your customers are sharing with your business on your blog / website; it will definitely help you fine tuning and adapt your blog-menu to your audience’s tastes, needs and expectations.

7. Make it simple and easy for visitors to sign up and upload any media content (picture, sound, video & text) and please drop this annoying “Captcha” by facilitating the signing up process with most popular media sites Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or YouTube.

8. Transform all your written collaterals by physically including your customers’ most relevant Social Media Icons

  • Ad your company’s blog & website link(s)
  • Ad Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and Pinterest logos to all your printed collateral including business cards
  • Facebook, Twitter logos and links should automatically be printed on your cash register receipts with a call to action changing on a regular basis
  • Make your inside signs with your blog address, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest discretely visible on both physical and virtual shop.

9. If your business owns a physical shop give your customer the flexibility to sign up on site (with a touch screen computer) to your blog, Facebook Fan page or follow you on Twitter: Reward them on the spot with some free goodies and thank them with a smile.

10. Embrace mobile devices (Smart phones & Tablets) Please do your company a favor and organize smart phones for your sales and marketing people ASAP! It is not a toy it is a modern marketing tool you cannot afford not to have! Make also sure that the same web / blog content is readable on any platform and remember BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is not a buzz word anymore it is reality! Welcome to the 21st century “tradigital” business!

It is extremely important to keep up communicating with customers while delivering content in real-time! In future posts we shall review more items on how to make SMBs more competitive in this thriving mobile social media environment!