Category Archives for In The News

Ten Ideas That Should Make Your Executive Checklist

To be successful in today’s extremely unpredictable, complex and unsteady business world, entrepreneurs must do everything possible. Checklists are a old start. So, here are nine quotes from The Executive Checklist: A Guide for Setting Direction and Managing Change, a book by James Kerr.

1. Create a Vision that People Can Relate to:
“Corporate transformation begins with a dream. It provides the context for every other change concept or improvement initiative that will follow. It is a leader’s responsibility to dream the dream and re-imagine what the organization is about and how it will conduct its affairs and execute its mission well into the future.”

2. Build Trust to Build a Great Business:
“High trust work settings are efficient. All the focus is on results and not on each other. Work is done well and quality is high in such environments. High trust businesses are resilient, as well. Trust provides strength against adversity within an enterprise. People just seem to pull together when they trust one another. Problems are addressed head-on–with no excuses made or expected.”

3. Create a Strategic Plan that Translates Vision into Action:
“Strategic Planning is one of those things that every company claims to do, but, few do it well. Most mistake annual budgeting for strategic planning. Because of this, many organizations are ill-prepared for the competitive demands that lie ahead and they lack the discipline and rigor needed to identify, organize and execute the appropriate work in any sustainable way.”

4. Engage Staff in the Change Effort:
“Workforce dynamics are radically changing in ways that we have never witnessed in the past. The situation can be best characterized as a melding of the old and new. Older personnel are extending their careers because of the financial pressures brought about by shrinking retirement savings and the systematic dissolution of employer sponsored pension plans…Couple this trend, with the fact that the next generation of younger workers is entering the workplace with a new set of assumptions about how work is to be done, and, are subsequently insisting that significant changes be made in exchange for their commitment and loyalty.”

5. Manage Work as a Portfolio of Projects:
“Strictly speaking, one can think of a project portfolio as a device used to administer an organization’s strategic plan. There is better alignment of strategies and implementation effort within a concern when a project portfolio approach is used as a means to direct and control strategic initiatives. Execution is made easier because project portfolio work brings with it a set of methods and disciplines that enable improved project planning and monitoring.”

6. Continuously Transform to Remain “Of Choice”
“Whether stated deliberately, or otherwise, every executive wants their organization to be “of Choice,” which translates into becoming the Organization of Choice, Employer of Choice and Investment of Choice within their enterprise’s niche, market and industry. To be “Of Choice” underpins virtually every strategic initiative that a management team imagines, staffs, funds and executes.”

7. Seamlessly Integrate Technology into Your Business:
“For the past two decades, computer gurus have predicted that computing technology will become so ubiquitous that it will one day be consumed as a utility, just like electricity and telephone service. That day is quickly coming upon us–made possible by advances in the Internet and mobile computing devices, and all of their related offshoots and requisite supporting substructures.”

8. Transform Your People for Success:
“Training, measurement and reward are three pillars on which the platform for staff transformation is shaped. Each of these pillars is equally important and mutually supporting of the other. If one of the pillars is weak the transformation effort can tumble; if one of the pillars rises past the others the whole change process can be jeopardized.”

9. Create Communication Transparency:
“Open and honest communications is a vital ingredient for success within the modern day work setting…Staff members must be able to readily access all relevant information and know-how, wherever it exists, in the format desired, and have confidence in its quality in order to use it. Hence, a renewal of communications practices is not only in order, but, is essential to remaining competitive.”

Are You Focused On Conversions Or Clicks?

Conversions

Rule #1: Connect with the people who really are your Customers.

Rule#2: Try not to waste too much money on the clickers.

Optimizing for clicks is a proven and effective approach for search advertising. But relying on display clicks to drive conversions is often a dead end because the consumers most likely to click on display ads are often vastly different from your best Customers. 

Therefore, if you’re optimizing your campaign for clicks, there’s a good chance you’re actually anti-optimizing for sales. Instead, optimize toward your ultimate objective—the campaign conversion rate—rather than toward the click-through rate and focus on developing the necessary systems and skills to understand the true impact of your ad investments throughout your Customer’s path to purchase. 

How to Optimize for Conversions

If, like most advertisers, your objective is conversions rather than clicks, you can optimize your display campaign to capture them. Here are four steps to get you started:

1. Understand the characteristics of your click-based and view-based audiences.

note: depending on the products, clickers are often not your buyers.

2. Measure view-based conversion volume as well as click-based conversion volume. Buyers are likely to take another look, and perhaps another and yet another, before deciding to purchase.

3. Judge your campaign by the conversion rate rather than the click-through rate. Or, better yet, use effective cost per action (eCPA) to measure the effectiveness of your entire advertising investment no matter how you’ve chosen to buy it.

4. Develop and apply a multi-touch attribution approach. This involves building a model to better account for the impact of all of the ads that touched your customers along their path to purchase and can help you overcome the shortcomings of click-based and last-touch attribution (attributing all credit to the last ad seen).

Sure, this is a bit different from what we’ve been taught a few years ago, but it’s proven its value frequently over the past 2 years and I thought you might like to know about it.

 

Display Ad Clickers Are Not Your Customers

Using a search engine to find information, answer a question or reach a website to buy something has become as second nature for most of us as using the remote control to surf TV channels. Search advertising borrows from the inherent utility of the search engine—consumers are presented with links that match their query and are designed to quickly direct them to specific products and services. The proven efficiency and effectiveness of this approach has fueled a boom in search advertising, which is predicted to grow to a $50 billion-a-year business in 2013.

Online display advertising, however, is a different story. People go to websites for information, entertainment and engagement with other people, not to click on ads that send them elsewhere. Only 16 percent of people click on display ads in a given month indicating that most visitors to a typical advertiser’s site get there some way other than clicking on display ads. So how valuable is click measurement as a means of assessing display ad effectiveness? Not very. In fact, this paper will show how click-based display campaigns can run completely counter to your interests as an advertiser. Optimizing your campaign for clicks—instead of optimizing for conversions—is pursuing the wrong objective. For display advertising, clicks aren’t just suboptimal—they’re anti-optimal. And they’re likely to produce significantly poorer results.

But display clickers aren’t buyers. We know this because the clicker audience profile is remarkably consistent, regardless of the campaign. To illustrate the point, the chart below contrasts the profiles of clickers vs converters in two disparate product categories—an online retailer and an insurance company. In both categories, clickers skew toward older and younger Web users. The clickers are much more similar to one another than they are to converters, the people who ultimately make purchases in their respective product categories.

Clickers vs Converters

 

Clicks: Great for Search, Distracting for Display

The path from clicking a search ad to a conversion—buying a product, downloading a brochure, locating a store—is well understood and widely accepted today. Consumers who use a search engine expect to click and will do so if the link holds the promise of providing what they’re looking for. Media buyers can easily assess the potential of various search terms to drive consumers to the page where they will make a purchase, and bid on them accordingly. Because a search ad relates to an intent expressed by the person doing the search, click-through rate serves as a good proxy for conversion, and cost per click (CPC) is a reliable guide for buying search ads. The CPC pricing model neatly aligns the interests of the advertising ecosystem’s participants: Consumers get relevant results; advertisers pay only for advertising performance because interested consumers have self-selected; and search engine operators satisfy consumers and maximize yield. As effective as search advertising is, a singular focus on this approach can lead to missed opportunities. Why? Less than 4 percent of consumers’ online time, less than three minutes in an hour, is spent on search. content, watching videos and engaging in social networks. The other 96 percent is spent doing things like reading email, browsing

That 4 percent is invaluable to advertisers, of course. Search accounts for about half of the spending on online advertising in the United States and the United Kingdom, and in some other markets this number is even higher. But how much value do advertisers derive from the portion of their spend that goes to display? The display experience is quite different from the search experience for consumers, and the influence of a display ad is more nuanced than that of a search ad. In search, optimizing clicks is essentially optimizing for conversions because they’re so closely aligned. With display ads, if you optimize for clicks, you get . . . more clicks. However, as we’ll discuss, these clickers are often not your converters.

Marketing is changing. Are you ready?

Change sign

Marketers spend a lot of money interrupting people.
But, people don’t want to be interrupted anymore.
That is a giant change in terms of how products and services will be marketed in the future because even if we throw an enormous amount of money at advertising, it no longer guarantees attention and thus, marketing as we know it, is changing.

It’s going back to principles that were commonplace twenty+ years ago. This new phase of marketing focuses on developing Customers for life, rewarding your most valuable Customers and developing relationships that encourage word of mouth promotion.  The major difference between the past and today is that today we can scale the WOM and today technology actually helps us to identify our MVCs as well as build relationships if we know two things.
1. What tools to use
2. How to use them properly and respectfully.
Have a look around at other drivers the next time you are out on the road in a car. I’ll bet that more than 50% of the drivers you look at will be fiddling with their mobile phone or texting instead of watching the road.

If you do any form of outdoor advertising, this is important to you because people are staring down at their mobile phones to text others and tweet followers instead of looking outside at your ads!
They do the same when indoors too by using a TIVO, fast forwarding through all the advertising when watching a recorded show and by leaving the room when TV ads are playing on a live stream.
Face it, ads are designed to interrupt the program our prospects were watching to get a bit of attention. In fact, ads are designed to interrupt people and today’s people don’t like to be interrupted.
These same prospects have even conditioned themselves to ignore online ads (especially those on the right side of a page) so well that we can no longer interrupt what they are doing online to get even a moment of their attention.
But, as a marketer, you need to get their attention so that you can tell your story,
convert the prospect and make a sale.
So what can you do?
Roll back the clock and think about what marketers did when your grandparents were out shopping. I’m referring to an age before everyone had cell phones.
Back then marketers and sales people actually listened to their prospects and acted upon that information in order to deliver a 1:1 marketing experience. There were interesting articles to read that were written by talented writers who knew their craft and could tell a convincing story that Customers were genuinely interested in.
One way to do this in today’s distraction filled world is by using Twitter search to learn more about each of your Customers and then applying that knowledge to personalized marketing campaigns.

Hey, some people still see Twitter as an ancillary broadcasting channel to use when publishing press releases. Well, I assure you, it’s not. Twitter is a tool that allows real people to share their thoughts in real time and allows marketers like us to listen in and record their thoughts, learn about each and reach out to them when the timing is appropriate.

Twitter is kind of like being at a cocktail party. No one wants to be pitched at during a cocktail party.. They might be curious to know what you do. And, if your story is compelling, they might want to learn more about you but, most cocktail parties are places to meet and chat about things that interest us.

But the fact is, if you want leads to walk through the doors of your business, you will need to know something about the people that have expressed interest in your brand, your services or your offers. You will need to do something remarkable with that information that helps you build a relationship that is so memorable, so powerful that this prospect will want to do business with you forever and tell dozens of his friends and thousands of his online followers about the remarkable experience as well.
So, we are recommending that our prospects (big brands like Volvo, Bugatti, UBS, Prada, Boss and others) create a remarkable publication, something that a specific segment of Customers would LOVE to read and share with others and bring such a publication to life on mobile devices using our tablet publishing services. Most of our prospects have such magazines, catalogs and brochures already but they are afraid to take the next step and extend the reach of those publications which is currently limited to a given print run and relegated to a store room rather than a prospect’s coffee table.  We are suggesting that many print publications are well written and worthy of broader distribution. We also suggest that a company’s best sales person create a simple video presentation within such publications to scale his / her influence on the target audience but, such requests fall on deaf ears today. The conversation is then almost always oriented around the possible features that can be added to such a publication which could help to engage the readers and despite the fact that we have fantastic features and options available, the most effective is a good sales person delivering their pitch and countering objections.  Sorry for the tangent, it’s based on reality but not the topic of this post… so, back on track, here we go…
The features that we can add to a publication today, allow these brands to get in touch with what their Customers are thinking and also analyze usage so that they can improve their marketing and deliver more products that their audience actually wants to buy.
The end result for the marketer is attention. The holy grail in this age of distraction. Such attention would be earned for all the right reasons and it will often lead to purchases because there is a match between demand and supply. As a bonus, each brand would also have access to an audience willing to spread the word. What more could a marketer want?
Now, this is clearly not for everyone. It certainly isn’t for the traditional marketer who like a deer staring at the headlights of an oncoming car, is afraid of making a mistake. This message is for marketers who want to learn from their target audience and deliver both an excellent user experience and improved products to their Customers in order to build Customer relationships for life.
Let’s bring this down to earth a bit and orient it toward a single retail shop. Each person responsible for marketing and sales at a brick and mortar location needs to be the voice of that store. They are usually the initiators of the store’s Customer service culture as well.
This person needs to build trust with frequent communication about things that
are relevant to his/her target audience. Thus establishing credibility and authority with the new generation of Customers and giving them the opportunity to engage with the authority figure when a need arises. In the past, this was achieved verbally, on paper and through other forms of communication. In the age of distraction, it becomes more difficult to get the word out there at scale unless you embrace innovative services such as Twitter and Tumblr and FB while you create an App that helps solve a problem for your target audience at the same time. This can be a bit too much for the small corner store but the objective remains the same. Establish authority and credibility and scale by using technology to attract Customers. It is much easier if you already think this way and have developed a few publications designed to solve problems encountered by your target market. If you have such publications, then all you need to do is scale. And, scaling distribution of these publications can be done easily with Apps today. The missing link is adding some interactivity and engaging your readers so that they take the next step with your brand.
Engaging your audience is easy with an App yet, not many marketers know how to do it right. These marketers are still throwing good money at forms of advertising that no longer convert well and not enough money at the forms of communication that actually attract your target audience’s interest in a natural, intuitive way.
What can we do to change that?

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