Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sales Tip: Disagreeing and diffusing

You can get away with disagreeing with prospects as long as you show them the respect of really listening to what they have to say. Take into account when and if it makes sense to disagree.

You can diffuse an angry prospect by starting your answer to a question with the phrase, "You're making a legitimate point," or "I hear what you're saying," and really mean it.

Never underestimate how much prospects want to feel that they have been heard, and once you have given them that chance they will hear you. 

Marketers: How to Bridge the Generational Screen Gap

Strategies for Brands to Reach Users on Different Screens Based on Intent

Digital ad buys today are governed largely by the efficiencies in audience targeting that ad tech affords. But the screens that such buys are delivered on are to some extent an afterthought, primarily viewed as a channel to reach the generation being targeted -- millennials on smartphones, Gen Xers on laptops and baby boomers on PCs.
While content and messages are optimized for the size and function of each screen, these buys don't truly take into account how different generations choose screens based upon purpose. Marketers assume, for example, that all mobile devices are used in the same way and for the same purpose, regardless of the generation that is using them.
But new evidence is suggesting that there is significant variance in generational preferences for screen usage, ranging from content consumption to shopping, and marketers would be wise to take these variances into consideration if they hope to fully optimize their buys and maximize marketing investment.
recent study by Millward Brown Digital found that while younger audiences are more smartphone-centric, consuming less TV than older generations, the majority of consumers across all generations still rely on laptops or PCs. The study also found that for low-attention tasks, audiences prefer smartphones, but that as the amount of time spent on a task increases -- usually after a five-minute threshold -- so does laptop and PC usage for all groups. Screen size and speed were the biggest determinants of screen preference across generations.
So how should marketers approach taking differences in screen preference and usage into consideration when preparing their digital campaigns? Here are some tips:
1. Understand the audience your marketing is reaching by more than just demographics.
When evaluating digital ad performance, consider the differential impact of your creative and messaging by device. An ad will display differently across devices. For ads in which the visual attributes are more important (think retail, consumables or auto), advertising targeted to tablets can be very effective in boosting awareness and brand favorability, because the overall quality and display of the product being advertised is bigger and clearer. That same ad on a smartphone will have to be cut down and resized, and its impact will be different.
What is so exciting about this is that with the promise of programmatic, marketers can use these types of findings to sequence ads across devices to achieve a brand's objective (for example, building awareness and favorability of the product on a tablet, then following up with laptop/desktop ads that allow a consumer to compare features, and then closing with mobile ads designed to drive in-store behavior). These sequences can be built out by brand objective and target audience to tell a sequenced story and move consumers down the digital purchase funnel.
2. Optimize messaging across screens based on audience and generational screen preferences.
If a campaign's goal is to drive consumer behaviors like purchase and research, ensure that the marketing investment and delivery match the screen preference. For example, in categories such as financial services that require in-depth understanding of product features and comparison of multiple offers, digital marketing focused on product benefits and features is better targeted to more desktop and laptop screens, where users can pay attention to and act on the content in the ad. This is particularly true for boomers, who are more likely to do research on financial service products on a laptop than on a smartphone (31% of boomers have done research for financial service products on a laptop compared with 7% who've done that research on a smartphone and 5% on a tablet).
Alternatively, a hyper-local ad that requires a lower level of attention and research, such as an ad for clothes or apparel, may be better served on a smartphone where younger audiences like millennials are almost as likely to shop for clothes and apparel on a smartphone (35%) as on a laptop (37%).
3. Invest in the next and the now. While audiences are shifting to mobile, in the short term they are still reliant on laptops and PCs for purchase and acquisition activities. Commit to obtaining holistic insights that not only explore the individual components of your marketing's performance -- such as audience, brand lift and consumer behavior insights -- but tell the complete story across delivery and impact.
4. Consider how screen preference influences the consumer journey.
Consumers still rely heavily on laptops and PCs for shopping across categories. Millennials are the first generation to push the envelope on mobile shopping, but they still reach for their laptops for some categories, depending on the amount of time needed and the importance of the task. For example, millennials' use of smartphones and PCs for consumer packaged goods purchases is almost identical (39% of millennials have used laptops or PCs for CPG purchase and research, and 37% have used smartphones). However, for a higher-investment product, like consumer electronics, 36% have used their laptops v. 27% who have used smartphones. This has implications for all marketers -- before you put all your eggs in the mobile basket, consider how your consumers engage with your category and optimize accordingly.
Each generation uses digital differently to consume content and shop for products and services. Shifts in generational screen preference give us insight into both the present and the future -- while audiences are shifting to mobile, for now they still rely on laptops and PCs for many content and purchase activities.
By Published on .

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Why You Should Never Automate Your Twitter Marketing Campaigns

Automation isn’t necessarily a four letter word, but when it come to social media, it’s close.
Using automation can certainly make your Twitter life easier, and there are situations where it is highly effective. However, automating an entire marketing campaign? It’s probably not a great idea.
If you’re already sending out robotic, automated interactions on Twitter, you’re probably too far gone for any help. But if you’ve flirted with the idea of automating a campaign – not interactions – maybe this will deter you: Coca Cola was recently “tricked” into tweeting quotes from Mein Kampf, all because they automated their marketing efforts.
The campaign itself was quite cute: The goal was to make Twitter a happier place by asking people to reply to negative tweet with the hashtag #MakeItHappy, and Coca Cola would respond by turning the negative tweet into a happy little ASCII picture. Pretty harmless stuff, right?
Well, Gawker’s editorial labs director, Adam Pash ended up creating a bot that tweeted quotes from Mein Kampf, then retweeted them with the hashtag #MakeItHappy. For several hours last week, the @CocaCola account (which has 2.85 million followers) tweeted several passages from Mein Kampf in the shape of cutesy bananas and mice, before the automation was shut down and the campaign pulled.
So what went wrong here?
The campaign started off simple enough, but the lack of human oversight made it easy to exploit by the folks at Gawker. Because it was automated, there was no one behind the wheel to steer away from the cliff the second they saw the suspicious tweets appear in the queue.
Automating a campaign leaves you open to vulnerabilities like this. For Coca Cola, this will likely be a bit of an embarrassment before another major campaign takes its place. But for a local mom and pop? A similar gaffe could seriously hurt their public perception and their bottom line.
Of course, businesses should never automate interactions on Twitter. That’s a big no-no, since interaction implies that you’re actually “there” sending the tweet. If found out (and it’s pretty easy to tell when a bot is doing the talking most of the time), customers will probably write off that account as fake, untrustworthy, and dishonest.
Coca Cola’s campaign was not necessarily sending out personalized interactions, but the entire campaign was left up to automation – a big no-no.
There are times when automation on social media can be helpful. Scheduling pre-written tweets (as long as they are evergreen in nature and useful to your audience), can save time. And programs that build automated lists based on who you interact with most, or which suggest who to interact with based on influence, can nurture relationships.
However, automating an entire marketing campaign can result in embarrassment, ridicule and lost business. So learn from Coca Cola and stay attentive during your next Twitter marketing campaign.
Lauren Dugan, SocialTimes, Feb 7th, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

4 Key Trends For Healthcare Marketers In 2015

A report by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) is projecting a 6.8% increase in medical cost growth in 2015. The report notes that this increase is due in part to consumers who postponed non-essential medical procedures or treatment during the recession. Although the growth year over year is just .03% (HRI estimated growth of 6.5% for 2014), it raised eyebrows because growth had slowed significantly since the recession that began in 2008.
Smart healthcare marketers will take note of how the recession has altered consumer preferences and buying decisions, including medical care. Curated content leveraged via owned media should play a big part in overall strategic plans moving forward, given that these media allow healthcare marketers to start conversations and control the messaging on a micro level. Marketers will also look to integrate content marketing efforts with CRM platforms, as well as paid and earned media efforts.
Act II in Affordable Care. In 2015, a new provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will tie physician payments to the quality of care they provide, which will put a large emphasis on value over volume. Physicians will see their payments modified so that those who provide higher value care will receive higher payments than those who provide lower-quality care. For the past several years, marketers for healthcare plans and providers have tailored messaging to individual consumers and increased content marketing, allowing them to communicate outcomes and performance.
According to a December 2014 survey by Contently.com, marketing companies have earmarked nearly a quarter of 2015 marketing budgets to content development and management. Marketing companies are also considering lifetime customer value (LTV) as a measurable metric, along with traditional ROI, which indicates that marketers are looking to build relationships with consumers via content platform experiences and owned channels.
Throw Out ‘One Size Fits All’ Marketing Strategies. With new provisions of the ACA coming into effect, marketers need to also bear in mind regional differences of state health insurance marketplace types being offered as part of the ACA. Marketers that are already adjusting and customizing their messaging to targeted groups are one step ahead of the rest of the pack.
To give you an idea of the breadth of marketplace types, there are 27 states offering federally facilitated marketplaces, 14 states offering state-based marketplaces, seven states offering state partnership marketplaces and three states offering federally supported marketplaces. Creating engaging, relevant content targeted demographically and geographically will become more and more important as consumers survey the new healthcare landscape and the many available options. Marketers will also need to help plans and providers build and sustain long-term relationships with smaller, targeted audiences, rather than creating ephemeral interactions. 
A Retail Mindset for Consumer Healthcare. In 2015 we will no doubt see the increased “retailization” of healthcare. In fact, this trend has already begun to develop. In October, Walmart launched Healthcare Begins Here, an in-store program designed to educate customers on health insurance options, in partnership with DirectHealth.com, an online health insurance comparison site and independent licensed health insurance agency.
The world’s largest discount retailer has also hinted that it will create a model that offers primary care via retail clinics and specialty care through the Centers of Excellence program, which Walmart offers to its employees. Walmart boasts both wide access — there is a Walmart store located within five miles of 95% of the population — and big data in the form of transactional customer data. Expect Walmart to help usher in the retailization of healthcare on a large scale. Healthcare marketers that embrace this new retail-focused mindset will be well positioned to guide clients’ strategic direction.
by , Media Post January 6, 2015

Treat prospecting like an appointment

Sales Tips
It's usually a good idea to put your prospecting time in your calendar and treat it like you would any other appointment.

If you leave prospecting to "whenever I can get some time," chances are you'll blow it off day after day, week after week.

It will be a lot more effective if you determine how much time you need to invest each day, week or month in prospecting and block the time off on your calendar.

Emails Should Be Personal To Capture The Reader

According to a report by Erik Schulze, VP at Yes Lifecycle Marketing, summarized in Direct Marketing News, this coming year email marketing messages will be even more personal. The reason, says the report, is that Email marketers must make their messages standout in the crowded inbox.
Schulze says that “… the number of emails that each of us get increases each year… conversely, as the number of emails go up, the engagement with those emails goes down… it's much more important to have a more personalized discussion or address personal needs… “
Personalization can include specific details, says the report, such as a recipient's name or perhaps a birthday mention. But Schulze warns that in the New Year, email marketers must go far beyond those simple elements. “… personalization should be less about getting somebody to transact in a moment… (but rather) fit into a broader strategy… “
As email marketers develop strategies for 2015, the report suggests several ways to go about making each email personal for each individual who opens it:
  • Consider personalizing emails when the reader opens them rather than solely based on past behaviors or when the email is sent. Discount countdown clocks, live social feeds, and changing hero images can all be optimized at the moment reader opens an email
  • The elements that a marketer uses depends on the device. It's important to recognize when and where the customer will receive a message, to determine the approach with personalized content
  • Yet another effective way to personalize an email is by using predictive analytics. With that, marketers can embed the right calls-to-action, make videos more personal, and even tailor the right frequency of emails for each person. Even frequency is a form of personalization, so it’s important to recognize how often a person wants to communicate with you, says the report
  • And, Schulze says email marketers should consider location as they personalize their messages, and match the culture, look, and feel of a reader's location. He stresses that personalization is more about an understanding and relationship of “… a single individual, never one big mass….”
by  - Media Post January 9th, 2015

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Deck The Malls With Boomer Shoppers

Baby Boomers
How can marketers reach more Boomer shoppers this season? For answers, let’s turn to the blizzard of holiday shopping surveys out there. 
First of all, will 2014 be dominated by Santas or Scrooges? The National Retail Foundation has tidings of joy: For the first time since 2011, holiday sales will increase more than 4%. However, a short selling season of just 27 shopping days doesn’t leave a lot of time to capture Boomer customers. So, what’s the best way to reach them? Although different surveys reached different conclusions, some common themes emerged. 
The FIVE W’s of Boomer Holiday Spending
For WHOM are Boomers buying? According to the 2014 Mintel Holiday Forecasting Study, the purchase of most categories of gifts declines with age. However, women aged 55 and older are very likely to buy food to entertain the extended family at holiday meals. 82% of women aged 55 plus also buy gifts for family members, many of them earmarked for grandchildren. In fact, according to a recent Forbes article, Boomers spend a collective total of $35 billion a year on their grandkids.
WHAT are Boomers buying? 
The generation that marched on Washington now leads the country in purchasing small, rectangular pieces of plastic. According to the Shullman Research Center, Boomers buy more holiday gift cards than any other demographic. 62% of Boomers purchase gift cards, more than Gen Xers (57%), Millennials (38%), and seniors (18%). Boomers are right on target with their gift choices: According to a National Retail Foundation study, gift cards are the most requested gift item for the eighth year in a row. 
If your business doesn’t already offer gift cards, the holidays are a good time to start. If you already offer gift cards, consider offering them electronically. According to Pace Perspectives, electronic cards are gaining in popularity since plastic gift cards are so easily lost. In fact, 40% of 18-29 year olds admit to having lost at least one gift card. 
WHERE are Boomers shopping?
According to Mintel, Boomers’ number one source for researching holiday gifts is the Internet, but many still prefer to make their purchases in the store. 43% of men ages 55 and up, and 38% of women in that age group, say they research items online, then wait to find them on sale in stores. How can you capitalize on their shopping habits? Mintel suggests offering online coupons that shoppers can redeem in the store. 
WHEN do Boomers shop? 
According to a recent PunchTab survey, Boomers are the least likely of any demographic to shop on Black Friday or in the entire month of November. They spread out their shopping throughout the season: 22% in September, 20% in October, 34% in November, and 21% in December. In contrast, Gen. Xers and Millennials do the bulk of their shopping in November. 
WHY are Boomers buying?
During the holidays, it’s important to look at Boomers’ life stages, not just their ages. That’s because Boomers in larger households tend to spend significantly more than empty nesters in one-to-two- person households. Another surprising fact reported by Mintel: Affluent Boomers do not necessarily spend more than their less-wealthy counterparts, unless they have children at home. 
HOW do Boomers choose gifts? 
According to PunchTab, Boomers are influenced by a number of sources. 62% ask friends and family for input, 61% browse in person, 50% check recipients’ wish lists, 39% browse brand websites, 38% read online reviews, 30% check flyers or catalogs, 24% open emails, 17% browse online magazines or blogs, 14 turn to Facebookand 9% log on to PInterest.
Are Boomers motivated by price? Not as much as Gen Xers, according to the CFI Group Holiday Retail Spending Report. Only 23% of 55-65 year olds are influenced by sales and coupons, versus 40% of 25-34 year olds. 
One final idea from Mintel to get cash registers ringing: Since only 11% of grandchildren currently give presents to their generous grandparents, how about leaving something for Boomer Santas under the tree? Art or photography classes, books for Kindle, or restaurant gift cards are all possibilities.
 , Media Post Nov 24th, 2014