Category Archives: B2C Marketing Communication Strategies

The Benefits of Business Marketing Automation

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Brand Management, Research and Trends | No Comments

Business man pointing to transparent board with text: Automation

While marketing automation is still in its early stages, more and more businesses are opting to use this marketing style. As companies now have to work harder than ever before to keep their brands in the minds of consumers, the optimization of marketing automation can help make the entire process easier. Below are some of the benefits of business marketing automation.

  1. Productivity

One of the primary benefits of marketing automation is the elimination of routine marketing or organizational tasks. By removing them, employees and staff are better able to focus their efforts on projects that require more manpower and monitoring.

  1. Increased revenue

While investing in any new software is never cheap, the increased revenue created by marketing automation can offset – and overcome – the costs. More than 78% of marketers identified automation as the key to their improving revenue. Even B2B businesses see the difference; when compared to nurtured sales, automation increased sales by more than 20%.

  1. Customer retention

Using marketing intelligence, businesses can work to keep the customers they have while continually working on acquiring new ones. By gaining more insight and information on customers, automated marketing can help target products or promotions to the right consumers and the right time.

  1. Monitor campaigns

Although data analytics are an important part of marketing, automation provides the ability to instantly measure and monitor the data collected by a campaign. This, in turn, helps you determine the success or failure faster and adjust future marketing strategies accordingly.

  1. Improve accountability

The data collected by marketing automation creates an impartial picture of your company. This not only improves the accountability of departments such as marketing and sales, but can also identify areas that need improvement. This impartial feedback can help insure that all areas of your business are operating effectively.

Marketing automation can provide businesses with unprecedented amounts of data about their customers, while at the same time increasing productivity and identifying areas that need improvement. Because of these benefits, marketing automation can help businesses improve, grow, and better serve the consumer.

How to Create a Great Email Marketing Template

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Entrepreneurship | No Comments

Businesswoman checking email

Instead of individually formatting each and every marketing email, creating a great template can help streamline and simplify the process. Likewise, it creates a cohesive look and brand that customers can easily recognize and navigate. Below are some of the best ways to create a great email marketing template.

  1. Use the right software

Creating an eye-catching email marketing template is not the time to utilize Microsoft Word. Instead, programs like HubSpot, Dreamweaver, and even Notepad can be used to help you create code that won’t go wonky in an email.

  1. Manage email width

If you want to allow your emails to be viewed in Outlook’s vertical preview pane, email widths should not exceed 650 pixels. Likewise, limiting width can also ensure users with slower software or connections do not experience issues opening up your content.

  1. Avoid HTML text

While HTML text, such as the pretty bullet points, may seem more exciting and enticing than their plain text counterparts, they can also cause serious issues with spacing and readability for recipients who do not have HTML rich text enabled. Instead, write content in plain text to ensure all readers, including those on mobile devices, can read your text without issue.

  1. Create a plain text version

In addition to minimizing the use of HTML text, emails need to be accompanied by a plain text version. Not only does this mean that everyone can have the option to view your email regardless of the device or platform they use, it also prevents your messages from getting flagged as spam.

  1. Check your photo formats

No matter how great your email’s graphics are, if they can’t be viewed, they take away from your template. While .jpeg and .gif files are generally accepted – and the most widely used – formats like .png may not open up in certain platforms.

  1.  Include an unsubscribe link

Nothing frustrates readers more than not being able to easily unsubscribe from email marketing they no longer want to receive. Including it as a permanent part of your email template – along with the company name and physical address – ensures that you are CAN-SPAM compliant and that these items are never left out of an email.

Why the Customer Experience Matter So Much

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Business Management and Leadership | No Comments

The Customer Experience is illustrated on a number of sticky not

After the recession in the late 2000’s, consumer spending habits began to drastically change. Gone were the days of purchasing something simply because of convenience; more people are concerned about finding the best value for their money. Likewise, consumers now spend more time reading reviews, doing research, and shopping around for products than ever before.

These factors mean that the customer experience matters more than ever before. Because consumers are more likely to spend their money on a business they are emotionally invested in, companies have been forced to reevaluate how they view, manage, and improve customer experience.

The age of the consumer

While businesses used to control the market, that control now lies firmly in the hands of the consumer. Whereas there used to be a limited local selection of goods and services available, your competition is now a simple Google search away. Because of this, the customer experience is more important than ever. 

Especially for businesses providing consumer goods and services, customer experience can create or cripple the expansion of the business. Online reviews remain one of the primary way consumers select service providers; unfortunately, it seems that only customers who have absolutely fantastic or unbelievably horrible experiences post online feedback. Because of this, one (or more) bad reviews can seriously negatively impact a business.

Improving the customer experience

Although businesses have begun to shift to more consumer-oriented practices, it is often difficult for company leadership to identify with customer experiences. Think of a pilot at the end of a flight; while he considers the trip a success because the flight landed safely, he has no idea the struggles or drama that occurred in the cabin. So too CEOs, CFOs, and other executives are removed from customer experiences.

One way to improve the customer experience is through engagement on social media. Social media provides businesses with unprecedented access to the customers – and their complaints. More and more, disgruntled customers are airing their complaints on social media, sharing their negative stories with their followers. In situations like this, losing one customer can suddenly turn into losing dozens – if not more. Oftentimes, a simple reply to a tweet or post can help consumers feel heard or understood, turning them from bitter and disgruntled into loyal fans.

Another way to improve customer experience is by allowing real consumers to test new software, products, or procedures. Oftentimes, the desire is to have all the kinks ironed out before new solutions are presented to the customers. Unfortunately, this can often backfire, creating situations in which real consumer experiences and input have been disregarded. Instead, green light new services or products in target areas or with selected customers; not only can their feedback help improve your new idea, but customers often appreciate the ability to be trusted to test and review new products.

In the digital age, customer experience can make or break a business. By improving customer experience, you can help ensure that, no matter what happens in the economy, your business will continue to thrive and grow.

The Benefits of B2B Social Media Marketing

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Brand Management | No Comments

Social Media Background

While many consumer brands have begun to shift to a more digitally-focused style of marketing, many B2B companies have been making a much slower transition. Because social media relies heavily on consumer engagement, many B2B companies have felt that social media marketing tactics do not apply to their business or target audience. 

As social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have become a more ingrained part of our daily lives, more and more B2B businesses have begun using them. Companies like Cisco, IBM, and Intel have all run successful recent social media campaigns. By embracing social media, these companies are expanding their potential client base and helping to ensure future success. Below are just some of the benefits of B2B social media marketing.

  1. Increased exposure
    Social media offers unprecedented exposure. Facebook has more than 1.3 billion users per month, with even less popular sites like LinkedIn still boasting an impressive 187 active monthly users. While not every contact will lead to a business deal, the exposure social media provides can help expand your network of contacts. Likewise, a greater social media presence can also help companies stay relevant in the changing digital marketplace.
  2. Increase engagement
    B2B companies are finally catching on to what consumer brands have known for years – social media offers unprecedented access to customers. Media such as video tutorials and customer stories can help increase interest and build loyalty. Likewise, customer service can now occur one-on-one across a variety of platforms; because social media users tend to be vocal about their experiences – whether good or bad – this gives companies a unique opportunity for engagement.
  3. Increase traffic
    Every update, post, blog, and tweet contributes to your website’s search engine ranking. This, in turn, brings more traffic to your site. Next, because the B2B sales cycle is longer, it is important to continue producing consistent, compelling content that will lead to future sales. The better quality content that is either curated or created, the more it will be shared; this further expands your business to customers that might not have been reached before.
  4. Increase market insight
    Using social media can help you get to know your target audience better. Doing so can help you create content that is relevant to them, continue to increase traffic, and lead to future sales growth. Likewise, analytics can be used to evaluate user data like never before in an effort to learn more about your target audience.

The Top Trends in Digital Marketing

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Digital Marketing on the Internet and Other Media

Digital marketing was once considered a small component of overall marketing campaigns. However, as more and more of our lives take place online, digital marketing has started to become the primary advertising medium for many companies.

Like some many things online, digital marketing relies heavily on what is currently popular. Below are some of the top trends in digital marketing.

– Think outside the Google box

While Google is still the overwhelming favorite, more and more consumers are looking for alternatives. Small, up and coming search engines like Duck Duck Go, are growing in popularity; although Google is still the most popular and most used search engine, marketers should stop solely relying on Search Engine Optimization and start engaging in more forms of direct marketing.

– Mobile matters

Mobile devices now account for the majority of internet usage in the United States. Likewise, with emerging devices such as Smart TV’s, watches, and wristbands, more people than ever are turning away from their PC’s. Because of this, marketers should make mobile searches, optimizations, and conversions their top priority.

– Brands as publishers

Because social media offers unprecedented connections between companies and consumers, even the smallest startup can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Vine to connect with their customers. Likewise, more and more corporations are creating and publishing their own apps and mobile games, further pushing the boundaries of brands as publishers.

– More individual marketing

Another way that mobile devices are changing the landscape of marketing is through geolocation. Using this tool, companies are able to provide specific information through push notifications, to their consumers, based on where they are. This, in turn, provides customers with timely and relevant information.

– Marketing and sales convergence

The one-to-one mindset of sales and the one-to-many mindset of marketing are beginning to converge in meaningful ways. Now more than ever, both sales and marketing are using the same techniques of real-time engagement and content creation. This may even lead to companies merging their marketing and sales divisions into one new, digitally focused department.

Many companies view the trends in digital marketing as too fickle to be a legitimate part of a marketing plan. However, incorporating these trends into your marketing strategy can help your business grow and connect with customers in the digital age.

Reevaluating Your Business Marketing Strategy

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Business Management and Leadership | No Comments

Marketing Positioning

Marketing isn’t about communicating with the clients you already have; it is about expanding your influence while reaching new customers. However, with the sheer volume of ad content produced each year, doing that can be difficult. 

The ad industry spends more than $465 billion each year to try to capture our attention. However, despite their best efforts, many marketing tools, such as direct mailers, wind up going straight in the trash, without being opened. With all of the content that consumers are bombarded with each day, how can you make your company stand out?

The following three questions will help you reevaluate your marketing strategy, leading to more successful campaigns and increased business.

Choose a different medium
Modern marketing is so much more than direct mail or email. Instead, the most successful advertising campaigns are often those that utilize unusual mediums.

In 2009 T-Mobile orchestrated large scale flash mobs to promote their “Life’s Worth Sharing” campaign. The videos of these events have more than 100 million YouTube hits, raised online searches for the company by 38%, and sales by an incredible 52%.

Choosing an unusual, or out of the ordinary, medium for your next marketing campaign, is an opportunity to be creative, while standing apart from your competition. Comic books, music albums, art installations, or flash mobs are all unusual ways to generate buzz about your company.

Choose what you’re marketing
Consumers, especially in the younger demographic groups, are becoming more interested in business practices than products. Because of this, running a campaign focusing on the ethical treatment and wages your corporation provides to overseas workers, may be more effective than a breakdown of the features of your latest project.

This also gives your company a chance to highlight your mission statement or values. For example, in 2012 Zappos released a comic book titled “Delivering Happiness”, which highlighted two of the company’s core values. The comic has consistently been in the top five best-selling customer service and retail books.

Choose who you work with
How you implement your marketing campaigns is often just as important as the content that contain. Because of this, it is important to work with a marketing group that supports and understands your visions. If you have been doing in-house marketing, consider employing an outside team for part or all of your marketing. Likewise, if you have a single company handle all of your material, consider diversifying with and using a new company for a print or radio campaign or even creating content yourself.

While reevaluating your marketing strategy can be risky, when done correctly it can have enormous payoffs.

Unique B2B Marketing Ideas

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Marketing Segmentation

Business to business marketing can be a competitive and cutthroat environment. Your marketing needs to make an immediate impact and have a strong message, or risk being lost in the crowd.

While B2B marketing can be difficult, it is not impossible. The following unique B2B marketing ideas will not only help your business stand out, but can also increase the number of contacts, meetings, and sales your marketing materials generate.

Don’t just show up – sponsor
Walking in for an unscheduled sales call is a thing of the past. More and more companies are finding innovative ways to create meet ups between their sales teams and their target corporations. One way to do this, is through event sponsorship. Sponsoring an event or seminar your prospects will be attending, is one way to get your foot in the door when it comes time to make a connection. If they regularly read an online publication or newsletter, find out about sponsoring an email or prominent ad space. Likewise, sponsoring a charity or philanthropy event, hosted by your prospect, is another way to almost guarantee a face to face meeting. Websites like Meetup make this even easier, especially for small businesses with limited resources.

Let go of “What we can do for you”
When it comes to B2B marketing, most companies focus their message on “what we can do for you”. While this tried and true marketing strategy tells your prospects why they need your services, it is rarely exciting. Instead, focus on major successes you’ve had with other clients; a mailer bragging about how you saved one client $10 million in one year is much more effective than a multi-page cost benefit analysis of why they should work with you.

Create less content, not more
Over 90% of B2B companies rely on content marketing to generate sales. While this is an effective strategy, it also leads to market oversaturation; in an effort to get their services noticed, business wind up flooding their prospects with marketing content. Instead, reduce the quantity and increase the quality. Most target corporations will appreciate receiving 4-5 well designed, easy to read, and relevant messages, as opposed to 8-10 general or universal messages.

While the B2B marketing world can be difficult to stand out in, it is not impossible. By focusing on creating authentic and meaningful interactions between your company and your prospects, you can decrease the amount of time spent making cold call and increase sales.

The Latest Trends in Business Intelligence

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Multi-Ethnic Group Of Business People Working In A Board Room

Business intelligence is a competitive area that keeps the industry moving forward. Because of the innovation present in the field, this year promises to bring lots of improvements and advancements in the field. Below are some of the latest trends in business intelligence.

More competition

Big companies and independent developers have become fiercely competitive in their attempts to create new and innovative BI platforms. Some of the most popular – and innovative – independent developers include Advanced Visual Systems, Tableau, MetaLayer, Pentaho, Tibco, Infer, and the cleverly-named Qlik. For those looking for more market presence, or a proven track record of success, Google, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Cisco Systems all have their own DV platforms. 

Data from internal and external sources

In order to make informed business decisions, companies need to look at data from a variety of sources. This means not only looking at internally generated data sources, but also considering overall market and consumer trends. Using information from multiple sources, will give business the edge to excel in their fields.

Increase in data governance

Corporations are providing their workers with unprecedented access to data and data sources. Because of this, there is an increased need to manage and monitor how and for what this data is being used for. For many companies, this will be done by adding a Chief Data Officer.

According to Gartner, there are currently twice the amount of Chief Data Officers as there were two years ago. These numbers are expected to continue to climb, with as many as 25% of all companies having a data management position by the end of 2015.

Simpler ways to view data

As we are constantly bombarded with images and information, data needs to be easy to read, interact with, and interpret in order to hold our attention. Because of this, dashboards and analyses are becoming increasingly simpler; by displaying the most important information in a faster and more efficient way, businesses can better understand their data and directly apply it to their operations.

Focus on social intelligence

More and more companies are beginning to view social media as a legitimate way to gather data. By allowing corporations to follow trending topics in real time and giving them unprecedented access for customer interactions, social intelligence continues to evolve and change the face of BI.

How to Improve Your Email Marketing Subject Lines

By | B2B Marketing Communication Strategiesv, B2C Marketing Communication Strategies | No Comments

Set the Tone words on a computer keyboard button or key to injec

Most people receive dozens – if not hundreds – of emails every day. Because of this, it can be hard to make your email stand out in the sea of other inbox messages.

Your email marketing subject line is often the most important part of your entire message; after all, great body content will go to waste if the message heads straight to the trash folder. To help get more of your messages opened, follow these easy steps on how to improve your email marketing subject lines.

1. Keep it short and sweet
When it comes to subject lines, the shorter they are the better they are. Research has shown that the ideal subject length is around 50 characters. While it may seem difficult to get your message across in such as small amount of space, doing so allows you to distill down your message to one or two key points.

2. Add preview text
Most email providers show the first few lines of an email along with the subject line. Make the preview text count! Pack as much enticing content as you can into the first few sentences to substantially boost open rates.

3. Show readers how they’ll benefit
Entice your readers with subject lines that show them what they can gain by opening your email. Likewise, people love numbers; the subject line “Eight reasons no one is reading your newsletter” is much more likely to get opened than “Reasons your newsletter isn’t successful.” But…

4. Don’t make false promises
A catchy email marketing subject line is important, but you need the body content to back it up. If your emails can’t deliver on what they promise, they’ll be deleted faster than you can say “unsubscribe”.

5. Create a sense of urgency
Subject lines that advertise phrases like “today only” or “24 hour sale” are much more likely to get immediately opened. This sense of urgency helps ensure your message will be read now rather than being put off until later, when it might be forgotten. A similar tactic to creating a sense of urgency is creating scarcity with phrases such as “limited release” or “limited quarantines”.

6. Personalize
Whenever possible, use the recipient’s name in the subject line. If you don’t want to use personalization tokens, use pronouns such as “you” and “your” to make your readers think you’re speaking directly to them.

7. Ask a question
Readers are more likely to open an email that presents them with a direct question. This helps initiate a conversation and draw them in with what you have to say. “Can you live without these beauty products?” is a much more intriguing subject line than “Beauty products you can’t live without.”

The Pros and Cons of Cloud for Businesses

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Business People Working with Technology

Cloud computing has experienced a recent burst of popularity. More and more businesses are switching to a cloud operating system because of the flexibility, price, and storage cloud computing can provide.

Although cloud computing has a number of benefits, there are also some disadvantages in switching to this style of computing. Consider this list of pros and cons before switching your business to a cloud operating system.

Pro: Cost efficiency
Cloud computing can eliminate a number of costs associated with a traditional network, such as multiple licensing fees for software and the need for an in-house IT department. The cloud is normally available at lower rates, and businesses can chose between different methods of payment including one time or pay-as-you-go payments.

Con: Technical problems
Even the best cloud networks are still prone to technical issues. Because all the computers share the same cloud operating system, when the network goes down work is halted company-wide. In addition, as so much information is constantly being shared, businesses need incredibly fast internet connections with lots of available broadband in order to function properly.  

Pro: Easy backup and recovery
Because all information is stored on the cloud, retrieving and restoring data is much easier than with a traditional computer. Likewise, most cloud service providers can quickly and easily restore data when needed.

Con: Security and vulnerability
When utilizing a cloud operating system, your company’s most sensitive information is being stored by a third party provider. Likewise, cloud networks are much more vulnerable to hacking and other internet threats. 

Pro: Location flexibility
Cloud computing allows employees full access to their files from any location and on any device with an internet connection. This gives companies greater flexibility to work remotely, either from home or while travelling. In addition, employees have the freedom to work from the device of their choice and can even bring tablets or smart phones from home to use at work.

It is important that companies understand the advantages and disadvantages of a cloud operating system before making the switch. By evaluating the pros and cons and looking at how it will affect their business, companies can make a more informed decision about whether or not cloud computing is right for them.