Companies Need To Focus Data Collection On Identifying And Forming Consumer Habits
Companies are very fixated on the concept of loyalty. Loyalty, or faithfulness or devotion, is an emotional state that is extremely difficult to quantify. Instead of using the term “loyalty” we should be using the term “habit” and measuring the habitual response of consumers.
This ties into big data and market intelligence.
Companies need market intelligence but they also need strategies to help identify habit-forming moments in their target demographics as well as how to help form habits with consumers when those opportunities present themselves. The reason being is that a majority of consumer behavior is driven by habit – right around, if not more than 50%. It is much higher, for example, in women over 40 (75% of women form buying habits to 49% of men). This means that a majority of purchases are made through subconscious habits, which make it harder for alternative habits to form (or in other words, for alternative products and services to break in and win over a consumer).
Thinking on the consumer side (though this can be applied to B2B and B2G offerings), if consumer product manufacturers and/or retailers can identify the moments when new habits can be formed and target consumers at those times, they will establish longer-term customer relationships.
If you are depending on people to make a conscious decision to change their habit, then you need some kind of trigger or consumer pain. Great salesmen are very skilled at identifying pain points. But from a data perspective, think about how a company’s aggressive data collection of a competitor’s online reputation can yield a trigger for a change in consumer behavior? If you know a product or service is not performing well, you can target solutions and try to force a change in habit. This is using data to be disruptive to existing habits and create new ones.
Looking at it from the consumer side – say you are supermarket and you knew that a man was waking up every day at 5 am for a swim workout. You could use geotargeting through a mobile device to identify healthy ways that person could recharge and send them a personalized deal set. The daily deal concept for example, which is strictly price driven and not habit-forming, gets turned on its head because now the merchant has access to a habit forming moment and can use target deals to hook the consumer and then build the habit going forward. Instead of a one-deal for all, you are now using technology to identify consumer habits and create new habits going forward.
With the growth of data collection allowing companies to measure virtually every moment of our lives, there is no reason why companies should be offering cookie-cutter deals or why as consumers we should accept them.
- Published in Idea Building, Marketing, Mobile
BIA/Kelsey and Marchex: Google’s AdWords Enhanced Program
Today BIA/Kelsey’s Senior Analyst, Mike Boland, and Marchex VP of Operations, Travis Fairchild, and Head of SEM, Cody Kunning, discussed how businesses and those managing online and mobile advertising campaigns can best maximize performance with Google’s AdWords Enhanced Campaigns, which are set to kick off on July 22nd.
Enhanced Campaigns is a topic that has been talked about quite a bit over the last few months. It was discussed at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading In Local conference in March (read Leading In Local 2013: Enhanced Campaigns: Google Speaks), and Michael Boland has written about it extensively (see Google “Enhances” Cross-Platform SEM: What Does it Mean? and More on Google’s Paid Search “Enhancements”: The SMB Angle)
Marchex brought additional firepower to the discussion yesterday, because Fairchild, Kunning and team have spent the last several months testing 100s of customer campaigns on the new AdWords Enhanced platform. The weight of Marchex’s early work is certain to help many companies and an industry where billions of dollars in advertising are at stake.
Click here to read BIA/Kelsey and Marchex: 7 Critical Things To Know About Google’s AdWords Enhanced Program
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- Published in Conferences, Events And Contests, Marketing
Thoughts On Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Creativity
In marketing departments and elsewhere in companies, internal communication, collaboration and creativity are important, but often handled poorly.
One of the most frequent complaints I hear from professional colleagues and friends is that there is very little insight from senior management at their organizations into overall project objectives, or what senior management is planning – short term and long term. What’s more, I often hear questions about just how much real collaboration is taking place among senior management (as well as from managers with their employees), as well as questions around the overall creativity of senior managers and whether or not they have a strong set of core business objectives.
Much of this aligns to surveys I’ve seen over the years where employees often rate their managers and executives as poor communicators, and in some cases – a danger to the overall business objectives of the organization.
Interestingly enough, I read this morning (courtesy of Baseline Briefings) that the American Management Association conducted a skills survey of over 750 managers and executives in December of 2012 about the importance of: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
Managers and executives in this survey reported that most of their employees were “average” in all four categories (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) and that compared to data from 2 years ago the number of people who are “below average” in those skills increased.
Another data point in the survey that I found of interest was that managers and executives “believe” it is easier to “develop these skills in students and recent graduates (59.1%) than it is to develop them in experienced workers (27.1%).” The rationale is that younger workers have not developed their work habits. The study further reveals that one-on-one coaching is the preferred method to improve skills.
What Does This All Mean To Your Company?
There are a number of points a company can take from these two perspectives and the American Management Association survey. Here are some of mine:
1) Never assume you are communicating, collaborating, or harnessing creativity and critical thinking well at any level of your organization. One way to learn where you stand is to use direct communication, anonymous surveys and frequent team meetings. But do not make everything top-down. Allow your employees to receive anonymous survey results from senior managers and executives. Implementing an environment of near total transparency will enhance your business, improve working relationships and open up everyone’s eyes to what skills need to be improved.
2) Ask yourself, “What training do I have at changing work habits?” This applies to yourself and changing the habits of other people. Habit formation and modification is not something taught in college or in corporate America. But it’s also not something people as a whole are very good it. Millions of people try to eat better, exercise more, stay in contact with friends and family – all to see their bad habits resurface and take back control. And yet – modifying habits is an essential skill for success in business and in life. One of the reasons why managers are ineffective is that they do not know how to help their employees (or themselves) learn new habits to be successful. If you can improve this facet of your business, you will have a very positive impact on productivity, morale and retention.
Lastly, believe it or not, this is something at Colliding With The Social Web we can help with. While we do not have all the answers, we can help you build a better working environment. If you are interested, reach out to us today and we can discuss it in more detail.
- Published in Creativity, Marketing
How Are You Different?
When you brainstorm your new business idea, or look at your company, it is critical to ask yourself, “How are we different?”
Differentiation is critically important when it comes to connecting with your target audience. This is especially true if the chances are high that there are others delivering a similar product or service.
People are naturally inclined to look for how things are different. Without even consciously thinking about it people often ask these kinds of questions when confronted with similar options:
- Is this new app a significantly better way for me to get x, y or z?
- Does this university offer more online classes in my field of interest?
- Will this company provide me more relevant and actionable data than the company I am currently using?
- How does this company’s customer service compare to the company I am using now?
Differentiation covers a lot of ground.
Constantly look at how you are different, and do not be afraid to consistently highlight those differences as a key value.
- Published in Marketing
Defining Your Website Scope
Building out a new website for your company, campaign or organization is a significant undertaking.
There are decisions to be made on who you select for your team, what technology to integrate, what platform to build on, the needs to your target audience, vendor selection, identifying who will manage the vendor, identifying the right internal stakeholders, setting the budget and a million other things that require careful evaluation.
One area that causes significant challenges and is often the most over-looked is correctly defining the scope of the project.
Failure to define what work needs to be done, your core needs and the technological realities, is the fastest way to blowing your budget out of the water with multiple new work orders and consulting fees, as well as to create a sour working relationship internally and externally with your vendor.
The construction of a new website should never just be the sprouts from the vision of a few executives or a project run by an isolated group in the marketing department. If you do not have someone who can anticipate a person’s online behavior, who understands site architecture and has a blend of marketing, social media and technological know-how, you are going to end up with a website that has significant holes and user-flow problems.
Here are three questions to ask yourself when defining the scope of your website project:
1) Do we have someone that can help the team to create a visual site map, and discover the initial design gaps before the site goes to build?
2) Do we have someone who has several years experience in SEO that can build a strong URL, page and content structure for the website that will generate the necessary search engine juice and help drive more organic traffic?
3) Do we have an expert in social media, online engagement and user behavior to evaluate the effectiveness of the new design and page structure?
If you have someone who can address all three of the above, then you have someone who should be part of the team that builds the scope of your project and sets the technical requirements.
Biggest Challenge to Marketing is You
There has been a good discussion brewing over the past month in the B2B Technology Marketing Community in LinkedIn around one word to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B marketing.
Some responses have included:
While there are many great one-word answers, my perspective of the biggest challenge for b2b marketing is the same as it is for marketing in general: It is you. You are the biggest challenge that you will face.
I say this because over the years I see the same patterns over and over again. People in marketing often do not know important things like who they really are, who and what their company is about, who their customers are, what their customers want, or what they want or where they want to go. The answers are often right there in front of them (customer feedback, internal questions, poor market performance, etc), but something inside these people prevents them from being able to see it or from being able to listen to others.
In my view, all the challenges a marketing professional will face pale in comparison to the battle one will wage against him/herself.
- Published in Marketing
Are Business Cards Dead?
Every once in a while, I’ll stumble upon an online discussion debating the value of business cards.
Often people wonder if they are still of value, given the prolific use of email and online social and professional networks. After all, in a world of smartphone apps that wirelessly transfer contact information, plus online profiles, company websites, and scannable badges — how can a plain old paper business card compete? And who wants to carry those things around, when you’re going to end up sending them an e-mail or typing their info into a contact database, anyway?
So, “Is the business card dead?”
Well, regardless of how you incorporate modern technology, a business card is a personal and professional introduction to someone that you cannot obtain simply by email or digitally reaching out.
Sharing a business card is up there with the handshake and verbal introduction as essential elements to building a positive impression and starting a business relationship.
Would you ever say the art of a handshake is dead?
Or the art of introducing yourself?
Or how you dress?
Though we rarely teach these things anymore, it does not mean they are any less relevant to how we communicate and interact. If executed correctly, you position yourself to leave a powerful impression on the people you are meeting. If executed incorrectly, your relationship could either get off to a horrible start or no start at all.
What is your perspective on using business cards? Are they passé? Or do you still find them essential to building a successful first impression? And what information should government contractors (especially small businesses) have on their business cards? Please submit your comment below.
- Published in Marketing