Social Media for B2B

3 04 2014

Recently I downloaded the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner. I know I am a little behind but it still makes very interesting reading. A common complaint among B2B marketing professionals is that social media platforms are often very B2C focused.

Here is what I picked up regarding B2B marketing use of social media:

  1. Improved search results are an important benefit of using social media;
  2. B2B companies are more likely to use social media for intelligence gathering;
  3. B2B marketers are more focused on LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging whereas Facebook dominated the B2C space;
  4. B2B marketers are more likely to increase their blogging activity;
  5. As expected, B2B marketers are more likely also to increase their activity on LinkedIn;
  6. Similarly, Google+ and podcasting are more popular with B2B marketers.

Other marketing activities that B2B respondents mentioned were SEO and event marketing.

In general, given the 44% of respondents described themselves as being B2B it is encouraging to see the high level of involvement in social media marketing. I was surprised that Slideshare did not feature but perhaps it is too niche.

Entering the world of hyper-personalisation

18 01 2014

In a recent interview in the Sunday Independent Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, talked about the airline’s future marketing strategy. While the announcement of a collaboration with Google caught the attention of the headline writers I was more interested in a comment he made towards the end of the interview. “We will be doing more individual marketing” he said. “We will build individual profiles for each passenger.”

This struck a chord with me because it echoed a very interesting presentation at the CMO Summit 2013 organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland last November. Amanda Gosling, Associate Partner – Strategy, IBM, introduced the idea of hyper-personalisation. The simple idea is that mass communication, even with segmentation and tailoring to audiences, is not going to succeed in the future. What will succeed is having “real connections at relevant moments delivered with relationship care”. This means having a deep understanding of each individual customer rather than a generic customer persona.

Amanda was presenting the results of a major survey entitled “The Customer-activated Enterprise“. A key finding of the report is the need to create engaging customer experiences. This is driven by social media in particular as it gives customers the ability to “bang on the door and demand to be heard”. This trend demands that a company be more than just customer centric. It needs to be customer activated. The customer needs to be part of the company’s decision-making process. There are clear overlaps here with the concept of open innovation.

The report is well worth reading if only to get an idea as to how some of the world’s largest companies are thinking about the challenges of creating an effective digital strategy and a winning customer experience.

To learn more about the CMO Summit 2013 please read my guest post on the Marketing Institute blog.

To learn more about the IBM report visit IBM’s Institute for Business Value.

Social Media trends for 2014

9 01 2014

The Social Media Today website recently published a very interesting article on UK Social Media statistics for 2014.

Some noticeable trends that interested me:

  1. Facebook’s growth has come to an end as it is now fully “mainstream”
  2. 40% of Twitter users prefer to simply read content and use it as a way to curate news feeds
  3. LinkedIn is by far the most effective social media platform for driving visitors to corporate websites which also reflects a move away from using LinkedIn as an online CV
  4. No confirmed user statistics for Google Plus
  5. Pinterest and Instagram are growing quickly but from very small bases
  6. Snapchat and WhatsApp are growing also, especially among younger age groups

What struck me most, however, is the lack of hard statistics for most of the platforms. One of the great strengths of digital marketing is its ability to provide measurable numbers but they seem to be sadly lacking here.

CMO Summit 2013

3 12 2013

Change is an interesting process. It excites us and scares us probably in equal measures. An underlying theme that ran through the CMO Summit 2013, organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, is how the marketing profession is constantly changing and perhaps changing at a faster rate than ever.

Peter Fitzgerald, Country Sales Director for Google UK, highlighted the rapid growth in the number of smartphones, bandwidth and in ecommerce as evidence to support the rapid growth of the internet economy. The key challenge facing mobile is to be relevant to what the consumer wants.

Francois Nicolon and Vanessa Lynch of Kantar Media challenged us to look again at the role of marketing and communications. They spoke about changing the traditional roles so that Communications looks after creating all types of content and Marketing takes responsibility for taking that content and using it to create leads and convert them into sales. They also highlighted their view of the marketing team of the future which includes experts in graphics, technology, search, content and social.

Amanda Gosling of IBM continued with the theme of change when discussing the IBM report on The Customer-activated Enterprise. Amanda pointed out that many organisations still present to the customer in a way that reflects corporate structure. She highlighted necessary changes in approach including:

  • moving from being campaign driven to being always on

  • moving from batch interactions to realtime or location aware interactions

  • increasing use of hyper-personalisation

  • having an attraction approach rather than a transaction approach

In common with Francois and Vanessa from Kanter, Amanda strongly suggested that marketing needs to parter with technology in order to achieve this level of change.

The challenge of truly delivering a high quality customer experience is to have “real connections at relevant moments delivered with relationship care”. To really deliver this require significant levels of change requires a real effort and a dedicated change agent to make it happen.

In the afternoon session Simon Bailey of Interbrand and Phil Rumbol of 101 (and formerly of Cadbury) continued to highlight the ways in which the interaction with the consumer is changing. In discussing the 10 elements of strong branding Simon included responsiveness, relevance and presence or being where the customers are, which echoes some of what Peter Fitzgerald said at the beginning of the day.

Phil Rumbol talk about how we still see marketing communications “through an outmoded lens”. Phil talked about the highly successful “gorilla” ad campaign for Cadburys which he said consumer understood immediately but corporate executives objected to as it did not include traditional element such as the product of the brand. The campaign was hugely successful increasing revenue by £150m from just £5m in spend.

Phil also spoke about the subsequent “Bring back Whispa” campaign which was essentially a customer driven initiative. As part of that Cadbury handed over the outdoor advertising to personal messages created by consumers. You can just imagine the reaction in the Legal/Compliance department when that idea was first discussed.

Change is also under way in Enterprise Ireland where Julie Sinnamon has just taken over the reins. Julie highlighted the incredible innovation and international success among Irish companies and pointed out that they contribute as much to the economy as multinationals.

To sum up, the pace of change in the way marketing works is only going to increase and the need to move away from old models, relinquish control and genuinely collaborate with customers is more urgent than ever. We are, I believe, moving from a Business to Consumer model to a Consumer to Business model driven by the power of digital channels.

This article on the CMO Summit was first published by the Marketing Institute of Ireland in November 2013.

Promoting your app

22 11 2013

A second post on the mini conference organised by Techspectations in DCU on mobile marketing concerns how to promote your app. These tips were provided by Conor Winders of Redwind Software.

Firstly, if you have the money to promote your app then spend it. Advertising is a key way to tell the world about your app. Conor particularly highlighted that ads in the Facebook mobile app deliver high conversions rates. He estimated an advertising cost of €5 per install.

Secondly, and to my mind more importantly, provide an excellent user experience. If your app delivers for the user then this will help reviews and encourage people to recommend the app. A few things to consider when looking at the user experience:

  1. the app should be intuitive. The user should be able to find their way around the app easily and explore its features
  2. avoid tutorials or other ways of guiding the user as they just get in the way
  3. watch and learn. By monitoring how people use the app you can learn how to make it better

Thirdly, get noticed by Apple. If you get featured by Apple in the App Store then your downloads will multiply. To get noticed by Apple use the latest Apple technology (so that Apple can use you as a showcase) and offer exclusivity to Apple.

Fourthly, build a website to support the app including images and video.

Finally, optimise your app store listing with a great icon, a good selection of screen shots and well written text

Corporate mobile strategy

21 11 2013

I attended the mini conference organised by Techspectations in DCU on mobile marketing recently. The quality of speakers was excellent and gave great insight into where mobile technology and marketing is going.

One speaker who really stood out for me was Nicola Mortimer of O2 Ireland. Nicola spoke about building a corporate mobility strategy. What was interesting for me was that she spoke about the practical issues that a business faces when deciding to embrace mobility rather than just focusing on apps or responsive websites.

Key considerations, according to Nicola, are:

  1. Infrastructure and access – what do you need to put in place to support a mobile strategy and control access

  2. Compliance – are you fully compliant with regulations generally and any particular regulations relevant to your industry eg data protection

  3. Devices and OS – which devices and operating system best suit your needs

  4. Applications – are you ready to create applications specific to your company to make your corporate data available on mobile devices

  5. Security – this covers both security from external threats but also controlling access to avoid internal security issues and allowing information to accessible only to those who are authorised to have access to it.

  6. Cost – have you budgeted correctly for all of the above points

  7. End-user adoption – are the people in your company ready for mobile access and will they use it if you invest in it.

Nicola also mentioned two systems that need to be in place and are often confused. The first one is Mobile Device Management which is a system to control the devices including shutting them down when (not if) they get lost. The second is Mobile App Management which is a system to control any corporate apps which are developed. This system is used to monitor performance and usage of the app and as well as installing updates to ensure that the app is functioning properly.

Marketing Campaigns

2 05 2013

Marketing campaigns, and in particular the current Sky TV and Broadband campaign, were the focus of the Marketing Breakfast on 1 May 2013. Mark Anderson of Sky Ireland talked the audience through the current campaign featuring Pierce Brosnan. Three things struck me from what Dave said.

Firstly, radio is hugely important in Ireland

Mark made the point the Sky adjusted their media buying to include more radio than they do in the UK. This is because radio is such a popular medium in Ireland.

Secondly, social media is difficult

I think we all know that social media is hard to do. Sky’s experience is that social media frequently turns into a customer service channel and a very inefficient one at that. This is a real challenge for social media.

Thirdly, integrating sales and marketing is not so hard

Sky simply sit their marketing team right in the middle of their call centre team so that the marketing team can hear the issues that customers every day.

Watch my interview with Mark to learn more.

Innovation in action

29 04 2013
Kylemore Abbey nestled under Pollacappul

Kylemore Abbey nestled under Pollacappul

Continuing with my recent theme of articles on innovation, I was very struck by a real example of innovation in action recently.

While taking a weekend break on Connemara I visited Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore is generally known as a girls boarding school run by the Benedictine nuns. What is fascinating about this story is how the nuns have reinvented the abbey to ensure its continuing survival.

They faced two major challenges:

  1. a decline in the number of boarders and
  2. falling numbers of vocations making it increasingly difficult to run the school.

They had to adapt and they did.

Firstly, they took the decision to close the school completely. Then they set about completely innovating their business model. They looked to their strengths and came up with a strategy for survival and growth.

  1. Tourism
    With Connermara being a major area for tourists they redeveloped the wall gardens, started tours of the Abbey and created a restaurant and coffee shop.
  2. Education
    With their strong background in education they have moved into the area of retreats and training programmes with residential accommodation in the former boarding school.
  3. Local enterprise
    The nuns converted the home economics room into a kitchen where they now produce a variety of artisan foods which are sold in the shop.
  4. Spiritualism
    The monastic chapel is open to visitors who want to spend time in silence and prayer.

To me, this is real innovation. Rather than give up as their traditional way of life declined, the Benedictine nuns have filled Kylemore with renewed vigour. This ability to a find a different way of using what you have and thinking differently is a case study in the making.

The location and the nuns chocolate are both absolutely beautiful which of course helps also.

The beautiful gothic style mini cathedral on the grounds of Kylemore Abbey

The beautiful gothic style mini cathedral on the grounds of Kylemore Abbey

A view from Connemara National Park

A view from Connemara National Park

A great use of Twitter

8 04 2013

What is a good use of Twitter? This question is asked by many people every day. At the moment I am endeavouring to put together a Twitter strategy for a professional services firm. What I find very frustrating is that people who do not want to engage find it very easy to provide examples of how pointless Twitter is. However, there is one bright shining example of how to use Twitter really well that can beat back all those arguments against Twitter and social media in general.

Much of what runs over Twitter is tripe, pointless comment made over the minutia of life, but Hadfield is able to transcend this, turning the ordinary into insight.

 Dick Ahlstrom, The Irish Times

That example is Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut currently based in the International Space Station. He combines a beautiful eye for photography with a real ability to engage with ordinary people. He also has a rare ability to include a really meaningful comment that seems to go beyond the simple interpretation of the actual words. Follow @cmdr_hadfield now.

Design Thinking

5 04 2013

As part of my studies at the Ryan Academy we discussed the concept of Design Thinking. This is a concept pioneered by David Kelley, founder of IDEO and the Stanford Design School. According to David, Design Thinking:

  • Incorporate human behaviour into design
  • Is based on an empathy for the consumer
  • Is a collaborative process that allows you to “get to a place that you can’t get to with one mind”.

What is really interesting about Design Thinking and the associated Stanford D process is the way that a well defined process is used to harness what could potentially be a chaotic process. The process is a structured approach to generating and developing ideas.

Phase 1: Understand

Develop your understanding of the dynamics of the market, the key players, geographic and demographic opportunities and any recent innovation.

Phase 2: Observe

Understand how your customers and consumers think and act.

Phase 3: Point of View

Look closely at a possible opportunity in the market or at a new perspective of the marketing based on the outcomes of phases 1 and 2.

Phase 4: Ideate

Encourage you team to creatively assess the market and the suggested opportunity. There are specific techniques that help this process and the outcome should be two new and useful ideas

Phase 5: Prototype

Convert the ideas into research ready concepts that can be tested for feasibility

Phase 6: Test and Iterate

Test the prototype and make and changes based on the feedback