Surprise in Your "Bag-of-Tricks"
Case Studies convincingly define why your company is different and special by demonstrating how a business relationship with you has benefitted “XYZ Company” through growth, expanded outreach, financial upturn, etc. Case studies provide alternative selling propositions, such as:
- Demonstration of success
- Sales report promotions reports
- Substantiation for trade journal articles
- Effective ‘closer for sales’
- Demonstrating solutions
- Company newsletters
- Annual reports
Think of case studies as testimonials on steroids. Used as valuable alternative marketing tools, case studies promote your product or service through a reliable and credible source … but you aren’t making the claims. The impact of case studies increases your credibility because you aren’t the voice promoting. Remember that case study ‘acclamations’ bestowed on your brand often make a significant impact - whether online or used in your marketing toolbox.
Asking customers for a case study is an artform; if your approach is casual and appropriately timed, they are generally pleased to participate when asked.
Ready, Set. Go for It
Your happiest customers make the ideal first candidates since they’ve already voluntarily shared their satisfaction about your product or service. Specifically, those who have thanked you for your support or for helping resolve a problem … almost always respond eagerly because they’ve already expressed their unsolicited gratitude.
After reaching out to customers that use your products and services regularly or have sent you referrals … and then agree to be the subject of a case study … ask open-ended questions that allow them to define the ‘solution you provided’ in their own words. Below is a sampling of frequently asked case study questions:
- Please provide a brief description of your company
- How did you first hear about us?
- Why were you seeking an alternative?
- What solution were you looking for?
- What feature of our product was most appealing?
- What was the initial reaction to our solution?
- How has our solution helped since implementation?
- Has this solution saved money and/or increased productivity?
- What have you been most impressed with?
- Is there anything else we should know?
Emphasize Mutual Opportunity
Help customers view a case study as an opportunity from which both you and they will benefit. Define how exposure of the story can be advantageous – increased sales, growth, how a new solution caused a dramatic change in their market, etc. Then ensure the development process will be timely and not burdensome to them.
Case Studies are far less costly to produce than most traditional marketing tools. They become your most appealing “self-promotion” because they are verified and honest. Contact HQZ Experts www.hqzexperts.com or 949-454-6149 - allow us to assist you in soliciting case study referrals for your company.
Put some umph in your marketing messages.
It's All About the Customer's Sandbox
Because customer experience is replacing mass advertising as the preferred customer connection, marketing pros must also shift gears and incorporate greater complexity in their program. Why? Because the accelerating pace of technology change, mobile lifestyles and an explosion of potential marketing channels (connected objects and locations) have already begun changing marketing.
By 2020, based on new interactions created between you and your customers, vast innovation will be viewed on small screens. The three technology-specific trends expected to have the biggest impact on marketing organizations by 2020 include: Mobile devices and networks (59%); Personalization technologies (45%); and the Internet (39%).
Now more than ever customer analysis will include factors such as demographics, psychographics, clickstream (purchase behavior), customers’ devices or locations, the content they’re viewing, or other data points. Yet, defining a “best” customer profile requires deeper evaluation:
- Uniqueness: Is the data specific to the user or common to a target sector?
- Privacy: Does the data require a customer’s permission or consent?
- Applicability: Will the data apply across marketing and business processes?
- Value: Will the data help a marketer meet key performance or business goals?
Marketers identify one customer profile that strategically integrates marketing analysis, creative development and marketing automation capabilities. All which helps marketers sustain the customer throughout the transaction.
It’s no surprise that marketing complexity has accelerated. 2020 will see noticeable marketing practices changes, resulting from heightened technology changes, mobile lifestyles and a significant increase in marketing channels. Specifically, these technology trends will be mobile devices, networks and personalization technologies.
Today the top three channels that link you and your customers include: Mass-media print channels first, Television, and Radio last. Not surprisingly, interactive media conduits like the WWW, social media and e-mail rank the highest.
Looking ahead, customer marketing channels are predicted to see social media increasing sharply while the WWW will decline. By 2020, mobile apps and mobile web will overtake e-mail as a top channel to the customer – it is already happening. This migration suggests that the top three channels to the customer will be those focusing on personalization and engagement, while the bottom three channels focus on publishing.
Win, Nurture & Retain Customers
So, expect and prepare for changes in your traditional marketing approaches. These efforts should adapt to a well-defined customer profile, then drive that personalized customer experience across platforms at every touch point. Meaning that as data and analytics skills alter marketing strategy, a new model of value and exchange - based on personalized customer experiences - must evolve.
Why? Because a customer ‘experience-based’ marketing approach is a better model than advertising in a crowded, information-rich marketing environment. Besides, you must interact with prospects and customers in their sandbox ... because your competitors certainly will.
Converting your marketing dynamics can be tricky … HQZ Experts understands that and will assist your marketing shift to prepare for the shift.
Mix Up Your Messages
Make It An Easy Read ... Guests Will Return
Once your heavy lifting website optimizing is complete – local citations/links, your business profile perfection and loaded Google Places, etc. – regular blog posts become very worthwhile. First build your website then take the following steps to make the whole effort worthwhile.
Blogging Builds SEO Muscle:
- Gives your website a unique link profile!
- Timely and compelling content draws in Google’s algorithms
- Talking to like-minded guests who interact or inquire about something … each time they do, boosts your Google ranking one notch up.
- Ranks you in Blog Search
- Ranks you in regular keyword searches
- Ranks you in Local (Maps) search results
- Engages other bloggers
- If you’re an expert in your field, you can “crow” and get noticed
- Blogs feed content to Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as well as other social media sites
Points When Creating A Local SEO/Social Media Blog:
- WordPress already has a lot of search engine optimization basics baked-in
- Avoid themes that you can’t customize
- Integrate your blog as part of your existing site
- Avoid menu navigation systems that don’t use SEO-friendly links
- Incorporate by-lined posts and articles and author tags
- Use blog posts to reinforce your website SEO key words
- Include tag pages and related post links
- Post frequently!
- Keep it pithy and DON’T BE BORING
- Join a blogosphere – contribute to another blog with a crosslink
- Get organized; create a content calendar
- Keep posts brief! We’re all too busy to read talkie stuff. If you have a point, make it and keep it informative and interesting. Then shut up!
It’s not a book so your blogs should be several informative paragraphs. Mix up your messages – write something about as long as this article … believe it or not, if you make it an easy read and instructive – they’ll return.
If you’re serious about getting found on the Internet, you just gotta TAKE THE ABOVE steps. Call HQZ if you want help setting up a Blog on your website or Facebook - we can help you get started right now, and even do the writing too.
HQZ Experts assists clients in designing and writing effective blogs.
Branding Tactics Beyond 2020
Branding Tactics Beyond 2020
Ever wonder about which technologies and customer trends will change marketing organizations the most over the next five years? Here are some thoughts on the topic.
Marketers understand their customer through personalization, but the old methods aren’t getting the job done and are forcing change in the “new” way they must proceed. Pressed to explore new tactics combining customer’s changing dynamics with timely, tailored relevant content and new tools is the new norm.
Projections of personalized customer experiences expected to define how to creates customer value:
- Own the Customer Experience. By 2020, marketers must own the end-to-end customer experience by examining—its role as a direct brand interface with customers—everywhere, anytime and across platforms.
- Managing Marketing Complexity/Growth. Customer experience is going to replace mass advertising as a preferred tactic. By 2020, the accelerating pace of technology change, mobile lifestyles and exploding marketing channels via connected devices and locations will change marketing strategies the most.
- The Winning 2020 Top Customer Channels Will Be: social media (63%), the WWW (53%), mobile apps (47%) and mobile web (46%). Traditional publishing-centric channels—television, radio and print—score far lower.
- CCustomer Experience Becomes the Driving Force. A personalized, efficient and consistent customer experience translates into customer loyalty and brand value. To gain brand loyalty forces marketers to elevate customer loyalty.
- Future Innovations. The technology-specific trends to have the biggest impact on marketing organizations by 2020 are: Mobile devices and networks (59%), personalization technologies (45%) and the Internet (39%).
These technologies—mobile and broadband technology, social media, data, analytics and, Artificial Intelligence (AI)—will accelerate the adoption rate of other innovations.
To be competitive going forward marketers can’t merely port the same creative idea across tech and media platforms. Their departments must engage the customer with contextually relevant, personalized experiences—everywhere and anytime.
You’ll like this—the more powerful technologies tailoring and targeting content and messaging become, the more complex and variable the customer connection will be. Customers will access similar content on similar websites, apps or platforms and will willingly connect transactions and blend technical and social elements unique to them. They will cross over.
Thus, marketing strategies must engage the mainstream, via mobile and socially connected devices and services. 2020 audiences as "Internet of Things" (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, along with AI cause interactivity to branch into the outside world ... it’s a big expansion curve.
So how will brands find/win/grow/retain customers across fragmented audiences with unlimited digital shelf space? Marketers must devise a single, clear customer understanding then ‘push’ personalized customer experiences across diverse platforms. This means resetting a value-and-exchange model based on customer’s personalized experience to a crowded, information-intense marketing environment ... designed to out-perform the traditional advertising route.
*Survey data based on a global survey/interviews with 499 CMOs and senior marketing executives.