Posts tagged honesty in marketing

A young man discussing market research with colleagues in a meeting.

Be Careful Where Your Market Research Originates

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A young man discussing market research with colleagues in a meeting.

Without proper market research, your data has no real meaning.

One thing that modern brands can’t live without is market research. Unfortunately, you may be surprised by how much of that data is tainted. For example, we frequently rely on online researchers, but who is actually taking the surveys that provide this vital research? Often it is paid panelists.

It makes sense for the research company. After all, paying people to take surveys is a great way to end up with a large turnout. But that doesn’t mean the information that comes from the survey will be high quality. Is this the kind of data that you want to trust with your company’s biggest decisions? Bad data could doom a brand.

So how can you collect data that has real meaning for your company, rather than basing your brand decisions on the whim of people who are simply trying to make a buck for answering some questions? Mobile has provided us with a great medium for doing market research. Here are a few suggestions for putting it to good use.

Incentivize Responders

Hold on a second. Did I just suggest that you pay responders instead of the research company? Not at all. You need to provide enough of an incentive for a person to respond without it becoming the only reason they respond, as is the case with paid panelists. So what can you do? Instead of paying participants, give them an entry into a contest with a fun (but not too pricey) prize.

Design the Right Market Research Survey

Asking the wrong questions to the right people is as bad as asking the right questions to the wrong people. Be sure with every question that you stay on topic and work toward the overall goal of the survey. You need to design your survey so that your customers come into contact with it in the right place—a phone call, an app, in-store, etc.  Getting consumers to interact with you where they feel most comfortable will also result in better responses.

Remember that the secret to market research success is asking the right questions to the right people at the right time, so you get an honest and reliable response.

How Media Buyers Can Build Confidence in Online Advertising

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A lot of finger pointing occurs when it comes to online advertising. It’s always someone else’s fault that ads are blocked, impressions are outside of the viewing range, or fraudulent traffic eats up ad dollars. In an industry that faces scandal after scandal, let’s look at an ongoing issue — how media buyers can build confidence in online advertising.

The burden should not rest completely on vendors to make transparency a priority. The worst thing a media buyer can do is to perpetuate the problem by not asking for the right information. For example, every media buyer should know and have access to three things:
1. NHT (non-human traffic) Percent – If a vendor doesn’t know the percentage of non-human traffic viewing your ads, it’s time to shop somewhere else.
2. Viewability – How often is your ad spot located on a viewable part of the page?
3. Placement Performance – The vendor should share information regarding how ads perform based on page placement.
Which Metrics Matter to You?
Sometimes, the metrics we think are important are actually the most potentially misleading. For example, click-through rate and conversion rate can often fall prey to NHT and fraudulent use of cookies. Try to focus on performance indicators that are not as easy to fake, such as:
• Cost-per-acquisition
• Cost-per-lead
• Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM)
Focus on Quality, Not Price
The big mistake media buyers make is in focusing only on CPM. The result: we go after the cheapest media possible, forgetting that sometimes you need to spend money to make money. Focus on getting a high return from purchasing high-quality media.
Don’t Retarget Consumers to a Point of Annoyance
Retargeting is a great way to remind a consumer to return and actually buy those items he was looking at, or even left in her cart. But no one wants to see the same ad on every site she visits for the next two weeks. This is a sure way to send a consumer searching for the “Clear Cookies” button, or worse, it may drive him to ad block. Definitely use retargeting, but couple it with these techniques:
• A frequency cap on how many times the consumer will see the same ad
• A time frame based on the product (short times for impulse buys, and longer times for long-term decision items)

Long Term Customer Engagement

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Long Term Customer Engagement: It is the Results That Count

The customer life-cycle has an end goal and that is a sale. It all starts when a consumer is first made aware of your company. A lot goes into altering perceptions so that consumers come to not only know but trust your brand. Long term customer engagement can thus be the key to turning first time buyers into long term customers. So, let’s take a look at that first sales experience, and discuss what to do next.

Action is the easiest part of the customer lifecycle to track. Sales figures are easy to look over. For example, you can browse total revenue or the number of sales for a given day. But what happens once you make that first sale? First-time buyers will now have a new perception of the brand. This experience will either confirm the testimonials they heard from others or create a discrepancy in their mind between what they thought and what they have found out on their own.

This makes good customer service and support a vital component at this stage of the customer lifecycle. If a consumer has a problem with a product, a good return policy could make the difference between a bad or good experience. In fact, it could cause them to further trust the brand. Similarly, what if a consumer has trouble operating a product? Good support can create a situation that results in the consumer knowing that they can count on your company.

Make sure your company is accessible. Staff an in-store customer service desk with helpful, friendly people. Provide phone support and chat support, rather than just an email address that gets checked once per day. Respond promptly and try to settle all issues in an amicable way unless the consumer just isn’t open to agreement. Even social media can be used to provide a good after-purchase experience for buyers.

This good experience not only creates loyal customers, but potential proponents of your brand. It is true that happy consumers often share their experiences with others. Long term customer engagement, therefore, is the best way to build and maintain your business.

B2B Marketing Tactics

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B2B Marketing Tactics: Marketing to Marketing Companies

One of the toughest things for a marketing company is to enjoy good business partnerships with other marketing companies. Let’s face it. We are very adept at getting people to fall in love with a product or service and give up their money. Our fellow marketers know this. Just like you can’t con a con, it’s tough to market to a fellow marketer. They know all your tactics. They use them too. With B2B marketing tactics you have to throw out the playbook and try something different: Be simple and direct with them.

The problem is that you get a huge variance in the knowledge level of CMOs. Some are very knowledgeable when it comes to the ins and outs of digital marketing, but most aren’t. It’s still a fairly new field when it comes to the well-established marketing world. On the other hand, that leaves you an in when it comes to gaining an advantage by being a straight talker. CMOs with little experience in the digital world respond strongly to clear ROI. That doesn’t happen a lot with digital marketing, so data analysis and reporting is an important part of winning a wary CMO over.

Many times, marketing to fellow marketers is about education. They know the marketing industry well as a whole, but have concerns about digital marketing itself. “What is programmatic marketing?” for example, is an important question to answer. Does your company provide training or will they be reliant upon your firm forever?

Social media is also an important part of the B2B marketing process. It’s a great place to show off what your company can do. Do you post engaging content and see interaction such as comments, likes, and re-posts? Seeing how well social marketing is working for your business will inspire wary companies with confidence that you know what you are doing.

There’s no other way to put it: marketers are skeptics. B2B marketing tactics must take this into account. After all, we know the science behind how we get people to spend their money. So, if you want to earn a marketing company’s money, you need to shoot straight and come prepared to offer evidence of what you can do.

Keep Your Online Shoppers Coming Back

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Keep Your Online Shoppers Coming Back: Treat Them Like You Would Like to Be Treated

A disgruntled customer isn’t going to storm out of your online store and come back to drive their SUV through the glass. They just won’t come back at all, which means lost sales. Here are some suggestions you can apply that will keep your online shoppers coming back.

First of all, you should not charge the customer for returns. It is annoying to pay for the return postage just because someone ordered the wrong size. However, if you think of it as overhead, just like what brick-and-mortar stores have, it may be easier to take. And, think of it this way, you don’t have to worry about customers walking out of the store with a product they didn’t pay for.

Second, be sure your product descriptions are worthwhile. Here’s an example: Don’t sell speakers and forget to list the frequency response range. Informed consumers want to know these kinds of details, even if it’s just a portable speaker. It is also important to provide information like accurate product dimensions, including weight.

Also, make sure your ‘Search’ works correctly. If a customer searches for hard-shell luggage and they get 3 results, well, that is good. However, if they go to buy or select another item and your site’s ‘Recommended products’ includes another hard-shell luggage piece that wasn’t in the original results, they will quickly get frustrated and move on.

“How many hoops do I have to jump through to get you to take my money?” If a customer is wondering this, then the odds are items will get left in the cart—and they won’t be back for them. Make the site easy to navigate, especially the checkout procedure. Make it easy to adjust items in the cart, whether it is removing an item or adjusting the quantity.

Finally, customer service may be even more important to online shoppers. If there is an issue, respond promptly and try to resolve it to the customer’s satisfaction the first time. If you follow these suggestions, you will keep your online shoppers coming back, time and time again.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

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Word-of-Mouth Marketing: The Intelligent Way to Market

Word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool. A fundamental trait of humans, seemingly instinctual, is the desire by humans to share their experiences. When tapped into, this tendency can be a powerful force for a company. With all the different ways of communication that exist in our society today, it is very important to know what you are doing when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing. Marketing by means of word-of-mouth is based largely on three things: Your reputation as a business; your business culture; and, the way your customers are treated. With this on the line, the messages that you spread must be honest and clear.

If you want to inspire this type of marketing, your performance needs to be extraordinary. Keep in mind that being both extraordinarily good, as well as extraordinarily bad, will inspire your customers to start talking. So, make sure that your performance gets you good press, not bad. You want your customers to feel important and taken care of. If you want them to share your message, you have to be sure to come through on your promises. If your customer’s experience is positive, then their stories will be positive.

When it comes to your presence on social communities, the goal should be to be present. Your customers expect you to answer immediately. To that end, it is vital to have a team of well-trained representatives. It is their job to respond and provide high quality content.

The goal should always be to inspire fans, not to buy them. If they feel like they are being manipulated, you will lose their trust. Learn what is important to your customers and what types of rewards are going to motivate them. Once you have this information, you can provide them with ways in which to reach those rewards.

Members of your social community expect you to deliver trustworthy, helpful content. This requires research on your part. Find out what your customers want and what they feel is important. If you rely on what you think they want, you may find yourself completely off base. So, use the valuable tool of social networking to connect with your customers and let them tell you the content that they want.

Remember, your customers are people too. So, what matters to people? They want a good deal. They especially want what they receive to touch their emotions. Your content should add worth to their hopes and dreams. The more that your fans feel like they benefit from your content, the more they will feel the need to share it with others. The virtual world is another thing you can take advantage of. Virtual games have taken the world by storm, and provide a unique advantage to their creators.

While you go forth with this technique of marketing, there are a few things that you should to try to avoid. For example, you should never employ sneaky or under-the-table strategies. If your audience doubts—even for one second—that you are trustworthy, you have lost them. So, never leave any space for them to feel manipulated. For instance, if you are connected with a blogger, make sure that you are up front about the relationship. Your clients know that your ultimate goal is to sell your product. So, if you try to hide that fact from them, then they are going to feel tricked and lied to. Don’t let that happen. Be transparent and up front.

When you put these strategies into practice, you will find word-of-mouth marketing to be a force for good and not evil.

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