The scary rise of technology in marketing communication

I’m a tech-savvy guy. I am all over data, analytics, tools and everything connected to this crazy dynamic world of digital marketing. Still I think we are on the wrong track. We are running into a brick wall – with open eyes.

The multitude of channels we serve – or believe we have to serve – leads to a dangerous development: We actually believe that we have to do that. We need to be on Snapchat and we need to do something on Facebook live. We start to believe in Digital Marketing Advisors telling us that we are “behind”, scaring us that we are missing the “next big thing”.

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.” Harry Frankfurt

Like this guy I heard speaking yesterday. Telling us that Macy’s is selling underwear somewhere using an app rather than hanging all the stock into the store. People just choose their size on their smartphone and it will appear in the changing room automatically behind some hatch. He actually said “you have to think about mobile customer experiences to stay relevant”. Seriously?

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There is a bunch of middle aged men I know running around chasing Pokémon just to “not loose contact to today’s world”. Pathetic isn’t it?

Related: http://www.amsterdamadblog.com/columns/im-getting-too-old-for-this-shit/

To master this rising complexity (out of fear of missing the next big thing) we start seeking for tools. Marketing automation. Data analyzing tools and CRM Suites so powerful they promise to streamline your whole marketing. We just tend to forget the most basic rule of technology:

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” Bill Gates

Also and most and foremost we tend to forget the most basic rule of advertising:

„What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.“ David Ogilvy

So don’t. And you’ll be fine.

How to use a canvas to set up your Digital Marketing strategy

This post has been published by me before, but recently I worked quite a bit with tools like this one and I’d like to add more aspects. So even if you’ve seen it before – there are a couple of new things to discover.

Every time I have the task to develop a digital strategy I go to my drawing board and work with a canvas. It is a great tool to structure everything you’ll have to do in the next couple of days. A while ago I stumbled upon happy canvas for start-ups that uses a great canvas called the Lean canvas for start-ups.

Lean Canvas for start-ups

It was developed in 2010 and looks very similar like the one I use to work with. That’s why I decided to make a post about it.

How do I work with a Strategy Canvas.

Basically the canvas is like a form to fill out at the DMV. You need to fill out everything to move ahead. I like to fill a big Whiteboard with these segments and start filling it out by hand, attaching Post-its and so on, until it looks like a mess. But a well-structured mess that you can then bring into another form

Why do I need it? I could do this in PowerPoint!

Do you know these scenes in crime movies where the police is pinning everything on a huge wall and starts drawing lines and making connections? That’s how a canvas works. And you can’t do that in PowerPoint. At least I can’t.

What your canvas should contain.

The must haves for communicational strategies are:

  • Value proposition: The ONE SENTENCE that describes why your product is awesome and what the competitors can’t deliver
  • Competition: Who are the competitors and what’s their value proposition
  • Customer Segments: who are the customers, how to segment them, Maybe Personas
  • Channels: Where to reach the customer segments/Personas
  • Challenges: What are the challenges to overcome / per Segment
  • Solutions: Write those next to the challenges and number them.
  • Customer Journey: Structure your solutions above, using the customer journey model.

A couple of interesting canvases I found and used to build my own set of tools that I like to share with you:

Buyer Persona Canvas:

buyer-persona-canvas

Buyer-Persona-Canvas.jpg

The digital Marketing Canvas:

Customer Experience Strategy Canvas

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Also here filled so you can get an idea how this works:

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And a little different kind: Later in the strategy development you can still use a canvas to really pinpoint your communication in terms of what media, channel, message to use when if you combine Persona and customer journey e.g.

The Customer Journey Canvas

customer-journey

And last but not leas something I always do even if I call it Hurdles instead of anchors (sound better in German) its this one:

Anchors and engines Business Strategy Canvas

anchors-and-engines

 

Once you have your personal canvas (or more than one) in place it is a great tool to work with. So give it a try. Love to hear your experiences.

 

 

 

The „Hub“ and „Spokes“ content strategy.

A very common strategy to use if you are developing content that is promising to drive people to your homepage is the skyscraper strategy.

I personally really don’t like it as it produces mostly mediocre generic content that you’ll repeatedly find all over the web and only Search engines might find a difference in these posts. That might sound cynical but sadly it is very often true. Although of course some people out there make very good use of this technique and actually do add value to the original thoughts.

Anyway if you are interested in Skyscraper check out this site.

The alternative Content-Strategy

But I found an interesting discussion on inbound.org that lead me to an alternative that I really like. I deals with creating more in-depth content that is linked together strategically.

There is a short article at jimmydaly.com outlining this better than I could. So check it out:

http://www.jimmydaly.com/hub-and-spoke/

Definitely worth the one minute read.

Snapchat: Yet another channel for marketing?

Isn’t anyone talking about twitter anymore? Is it doomed to be the next MySpace? Maybe so. Because in this crazy social media world users show almost no loyalty to the channels they use..  or stop using.

The newest frenzy: Snapchat

It has been around for a wile but this app is well made and the snapchat team really gets how human interaction works on mobile devices. Images with funny cat-ear filters, chat, stupid stickers and fun filters as well as video and finger drawings are bound together in a working interface. It’s just fun to use. So people use it… at least for now.

What you need to understand as a marketer

It doesn’t matter if it is snapchat or Facebook live or periscope or tinder or the next thing that comes along. Marketing to a certain audience will require to fish where the fish is and this requires to be as agile as the user is. Organizations traditionally tend to build processes and structures to deliver marketing messages into channels. This needs to be looked at in today’s digital marketing world. Build an agile social media team that can work independently and decide based on channel knowledge and social media experience rather than being hindered by organizational limitations.

But do I really need to follow every Social Media trend?

No you don’t. Just be sure to know all the trends and follow them to make a solid business decision. Twitter isn’t working anymore? Be confident to ditch the channel. Don’t build up dozens of channels to maintain.
Social media channels come and go.
E.g. do you remember Vine? It was hot for a while until Instagram came around and incorporated video into their app. Now nobody is using Vine anymore.

Just a few channels actually seem to stick. Most notably Facebook and recently Instagram. The big social media channels have learned to incorporate features into their functionality as soon as they are proven to fascinate users. Standalone apps delivering only the one feature will be bought or die the feared social media death of loosing active users.

The always changing social media landscape needs smart people that can make smart business decisions based on their deep understanding of digital trends and consumer behavior.

5 Factors how a strong brand generates more sales in the B2B sector.

 

The current Whitepaper of the influential German Federation Industriekommunikation (BVIK) confirms: a strong brand is a major competitive advantage for companies in the B2B sector. Conclusion: Especially for small and medium enterprises it is a huge advantage to invest in branding and corporate design. This is supported by 5 success factors.

1. Success Factor: A strong brand is a competition winner!

Empirical studies show that brand-driven companies are more successful than their competitors who rely purely on the persuasiveness of their products. The reason: corporate brands present the benefits of the products not only rational, they make it an emotional experience. They do that by creating a positive and recognizable brand image in the mind of the audience – supported and made memorable by a uniform corporate design. A clearly positioned brand creates trust and identification and is the basis for a lasting customer relationship (study RTS Rieger Team, 2010).

Only about 16.2 percent of small and medium sized businesses stated in a study that they systematically manage their brand (Hübner & Sturk, 2011). Strategic brand development or a corporate design – perhaps with the support of an experienced branding agency – is not even in sight. The topic is still very much underrepresented.

Reaction GIF: laugh, not funny, Will Smith

This in mind: Whoever succeeds in positioning his coporate brand as a beacon in its field and to anchor it in the minds of its customers and in the hearts of his employees, will secure a decisive advantage over their competitors now.

“Many believe they do not need one. Some believe to already have one. Few make things right intuitively already. A strategically built corporate brand is still the future for most B2B companies today. “

 White Paper “Das Mehr ist Marke”, Bundesverband Industriekommunikation e. V., 2014

2. Success factor: brand development makes companies unique!

“But I have the best product on the market. Everybody knows that. Why should I then put on an expensive brand development. We would rather invest the money in R&D! ” Such objections are heard repeatedly.

Especially for small businesses it is a value-added investment to deal with the issue of brand building. In today’s competitive markets in which the product benefits are becoming increasingly interchangeable, you have to stand out from your competitors in a different way.

Companies that deal in brand building base it very much on the wishes and needs of their audience. These can be converted into a unique value proposition. Or in short:

Companies that have no brand, will deliver only goods. Corporate brands deliver a unique brand experience with every customer interaction.

3. Success factor: A strong brand can often sell at a higher price!

What is true for fashion or cosmetics as well as for the goods in the supermarket or for industrial goods in the B2B sector? Brands can sell at higher prices in the long run.

Brand Premium” is the magic word here. This is the monetary value, which is added through the reputation of a trademark if it is branding a rationally comparable product. For this, the brand must be connected to an original, differentiating promise. And this promise has to be kept. At every important touchpoint.

This brand premium doesn’t just fall out of the blue. To stand out from the mass of competitors in an industry, a brand must be strategically created and professionally designed. For small businesses it is sometimes difficult to finance this effort. But behind this is a great opportunity. Experienced brand specialists like the Lighthouse brand agency help you to fully exploit the potential of the brand.

4. Success factor: A strong brand is a professionals Magnet!

Demographic change will become an increasing challenge – especially for SMEs in rural areas. In some regions and sectors the competition for the best graduates and professionals already gets noticeably harder. Those companies that create a brand and then expand this brand world to the dimension of an attractive employer brand will have a major competitive advantage in this “War of talent”.

But remember: Employer Branding is far more than better-designed job ads. The focus is on strategic orientation. This is often in parts similar to the corporate brand but much more focused on how the company’s values translate into work environment etc.

5. Success factor: Brand Consulting is the first step towards more sales!

“I do not need a brand. At the end it always comes down to pricing. “

How many times have we heard this phrase at Lighthouse! Mostly from the mouth of a salesperson. But that is too short-sighted.

Of course the Sales Team is one of the main brand ambassadors for most B2B companies. At the end every day they are face to face with the customer. But if really only the price counts, why it is necessary to have a sales rep at all? Why do sales representative value their clothing so much? Why not come in your jogging suit to the customer appointment?

Reaction GIF: pleased, approval, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Lily Aldrin, How I Met Your Mother

At the end the sales team is only delivering a promise. A promise that is heavily supported by a strong brand.  It’s a promise that contains the brand experience of its operations, the unique feel of the company’s brochure, the well thought out arguments in the sales guide and the attitude of the entire company, which is reflected in each employees appearance.

That promise makes the difference.

That’s the brand.

About Lighthouse

LIGHTHOUSE® is a privately held company that specializes in strategic and creative brand development. Our customers are mostly strong internationally operating medium-sized enterprises in the border triangle Germany-Austria-Switzerland. A clear brand positioning, a keen brand profile and a pinpoint brand communication: The result we call the Lighthouse effect. Explore the possibilities of your brand!

Reaction GIF: what?, yes, nod, thumbs up, Emma Watson

Interview with Google-Evangelist Avinash Kaushik

As part of my Lighthouse Markenentwicklung engagement I held an interview with Google Evangelist Avniash Kaushik.  Avinash Kaushik is the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google and the Co-Founder of Market Motive Inc. Through his blog, „Occam’s Razor“, and his best selling books, „Web Analytics: An Hour A Day“ and „Web Analytics 2.0“, Avinash Kaushik has become recognized as an authoritative voice on how executive teams can leverage digital platforms and data to out-innovate their competitors and achieve superior financial results.

In this Interview he speaks about the fact, that B-to-B companies know everything about their customers, but they don’t know how to handle this information. The developer of See-Think-Do-Care® explains, why his framework, also used by Lighthouse for the development of brands, is rooted in understanding intent. How a brand knowing the intents of it’s target group achives strong impacts at every touchpoint you can read in our interview.

Read the full interview here on the Lighouse Marken-Navigation Website

 

Datengestützte Kreativität. Himmlische Möglichkeiten oder die Hölle auf Erden?

Sind Daten und Kreativität Gegensätze?

Ist jede kreative Interpretation des data-driven Marketing nur das hübsche Anmalen vorgedachter Möglichkeiten?

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Neri Oxman

Photo: Tom Allen for INTERVIEW Magazine

„Wissenschaft, Ingenieurswesen, Design and Kunst —die antidiziplinäre Hyphothese: Wissen kann nicht einer Disziplin zugeschrieben, in einer Disziplin geschaffen werden, sondern ist ineinander verwoben.”

Nach Noxman folgt die Welt der Disziplinen einem System, wie einem chemischen Prozess. Angelegt an den Zellmetabolismus in uns allen. Keine Disziplin kann ohne die andere existieren.

„Es ist die Aufgabe der Wissenschaft die Welt um uns herum vorherzusagen – sie macht aus Daten ein empirisches Wissen. Das Ingenieurswesen macht aus diesem statistischen, emprischen Wissen physische Lösungen. Design gestaltet Lösungen, die die beste Funktionalität ermöglicht und macht sie Menschen zugänglich. Design „konvertiert“ damit Lösungen in menschliches Verhalten.

Die Kunst dagegen hinterfragt menschliches Verhalten und schafft daraus Aufmerksamkeit für die Welt um uns herum.“, so Noxman.

Damit ist der Kreislauf komplett und neue Sichtweisen sind entstanden, die die Welt verändern und damit den Metabolismus neu starten.

In einer Kommunikations- und Marketingwelt, die immer technischer und Daten getrieben wird fallen alte Rollenmuster scheinbar in sich zusammen. Agenturmodelle die von der großen Idee leben braucht es nicht mehr (wird zumindestens propagiert). Kreation wird technokratisiert und gar automatisiert.

Aber:

Kreative Ideen müssen, wie die Kunst, explorativ entwickelt werden. Neue Sichtweisen geschaffen und gedacht werden. Diese Sichtweisen basieren auf menschlichem Verhalten – einem Verhalten, das natürlich branchentypisch Absicht und Lösungsorientiert getrieben ist. Damit ist aber Noxmans Kreislauf auf den Kopf gestellt. Denn es gilt nicht zu gestalten und dann zu explorieren, ganz im Gegenteil.

Aber Noxman liefert einen gute Basis um das Thema Data-Driven Creativity zu bewerten: Daten sind erstmal nur Bits & Bytes, Informationen. Daten brauchen wissenschaftliche Interpretation um Vorhersagen zu treffen. Szenarien zu bilden. In unserem Falle aber keine soziodemografischen Szenarien (mehr), sondern auf Menschen und deren Verhalten basierende Interpretation. Daten können dann auch Kreativität fördern – denn so können sie die Basis neuer Sichtweisen auf menschliches Verhalten sein.

Yannis Kotziagkiaouridis  von der weltweit führenden Dialogmarketingagentur Wunderman sagt dazu:

“Brands need to be relevant. Relevance means powerful emotional connections. To create those, you need data”

Big Changes to LaDigit- less but better!

As of recently I am working at a great little branding agency at lake constance called Lighthouse Marken-Navigation. As I will also be writing for them the number of posts here might drop a little bit but the content will be much less “something I think about” and much more “well crafted and well thought through” I guess.

First we will start of with a great interview I held with Avinash Kaushik next week (you will know Occams razor blog hopefully if you are interested in digital marketing!)  So stay tuned for more great content about the digital side of marketing and branding! If you have anything to contribute for ladigit or also for the Lighthouse website. Please feel free to reach out to me.

Also I did change my blog design (again) as it was actually producing a little to many errors. This as you know is not very much liked by Google.

Last but not least we will have not only English content here at ladigit, but German articles as well. I will add an Language Tag in the Menu so you can choose your language of choice.

Cheers,
Pascal