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4 must ask questions to hone your marketing comms

I was listening to Marketing Smarts Podcast last night and Tamsen Webster was Kerry’s guest. She had four great questions that I think are so fundamental to great marketing comms that I wanted to share them with you.

To create a communication that works, ask yourself four framing questions:

1. Who are you talking to? (Audience)Identify_Your_Audience
“You cannot get to a messaging strategy before you have an audience strategy.” So many of the businesses I work with struggle with this. I know it is easy to feel you are cutting off a big part of the market by focusing on one segment but your message will mean more and will be likely to resonate if you have a focused audience rather than try and be all things to everyone.
2. What do you want them to do? (Action)
“What is it that you want them to do, specifically, as an immediate result of that act nowcommunication…. The instinct we have to resist is to say ‘I want them to read this and buy,’ or ‘I want them to have this conversation and buy.’ If you slow people down and say ‘that’s not how YOU do it, is it?’ We have to be much more specific about the outcome of any communication is. Do I want someone to learn more? Do I want them to click through? Do I want them to schedule another meeting? Do I want them to change an opinion?” Having a clear CTA (call to action) is a big part of my work with small businesses. Mapping out a customer journey can help for every marketing communication. What is the next step that makes sense for your customer?
3. What do they need to believe in order to act? (Belief)
“There are some basic archetypal beliefs that are usually in play. Things like ‘the problem is more serious than I thought it BeliefOmeter(1)was.’ ‘It’s actually possible to solve this problem that I have.’ ‘This solution that you’re asking me…to take will solve the problem.’ That’s a belief. Another belief is that this solution you’re suggesting to me is superior than other solutions. Particularly important in sales is the idea that it’s worth it for me to take this change.”

Belief is the biggest missing thing for small business. Why? Why should I trust you and what do you do differently. Sometimes this revolves around the how. How you do business and customers only know this if you show them your process.
4. What do they need to know in order to believe? (Knowledge)
“There’s this fascinating thing with how the human brain works—we have to have context in order to remember, in order to comprehend. And until that initial context is established, nothing else makes sense. So you can start a communication with saying ‘here’s who we are, and here’s where we’re located, and here’s our approach, and here’s our methodology.’knowledge-management

It is all about educating and being helpful on your customers’ journey.
“What’s fascinating about…these four questions is that you can use them to determine what’s the best way to structure a piece of marketing collateral through to what’s the best way to position a sales conversation, even to what’s the best way to put together a keynote or a conference breakout session? These questions are so important.

Read more: Marketing profs


The Role of Marketing: think, feel, do

Inspired by a Harvard Business Review paper The Marketing Machine, I boiled down what I essentially believe are the three key roles a marketer needs to manage today.

The evolution of marketing from product centric to customer centric

We have all had our fair share of issues with Telstra’s service over the past few years and some may still have issues, but you have got to give them credit for coming up with a solution to some of our healthcare issues by using a technology platform that only they could provide, with the assistance of software partners and IBA Health Limited.Readycare

Their vision is simple enough, a E-Healthare System. Connected, accessible, integrated and breaking down the barriers of distance, and 24 x 7 so perhaps allievating our poor emergency departments and ambulances in some situations. I really like the idea of not having to leave home when I am sick and doing a online or over the phone consult or as they call it “telemedicine”. I am fine with that information being forwarded to my GP although it might not suit every person or situation, it is nice that I have that choice. My mum in rural victoria has to wait weeks to see the local GP, so it would give me piece of mind to know she can get advice when she needs it through Readycare GP phone service when, telemedicine is all she needs. That  she can maintain her independence as long as possible like many others in regional areas desparate for more doctors.

six pointsHow great it would be to get real time e-referrals or scripts through eRx Script exchange service? Using kiosks to collect medicines. Imagine being able to access our own records and diagnostic reports at a click of a button on our mobile. Or using MyhealthPoint App to monitor a health status remotely. It makes sense really. The digital technology is there, and Telstra is making it available in the health arena, we just need to ensure that it is managed and implemented it carefully. Can you believe we are finally going to use technology to address one of the biggest concerns of an ageing population, our healthcare system? Maybe even by aggregating data via the Quality Investigator Toolwe can see trends and assist medical research and discovery.

Well done Telstra. The concept is stella, now comes the hard bit. Go get them Gordon

If I didn’t know it I would have felt it was an apple video below.


Predictive Marketing Made Simple

Customer Journey

customer behaviourtwo secondsI love data.I am obsessed by learning and have an incredible appetite for information in all its forms. Not everyone is as obsessed as me, but as small businesses we need to start listening to the digital footprint of our customers, and fast! Forrester research says that 50% of us research online prior to buying anything from a pair of shoes to health insurance. We spend more time researching our new pet, holiday adventure and even partner. The more significant the item the more likely we will do our homework online. A study by retail today stating  up to 81% of us research online before a big purchase. According to another study 79% of us trust online reviews as much as we do a personal recommendations.This is why data has become so key. “So, in the few minutes it takes you to read this, there will be over 7.5 million searches on Google. Each of these searches presents a new opportunity to reach consumers when they’re most engaged.”ZMOT.

It leaves a digital footprint that if we are smart we can use to make our marketing smarter! “Long before many brand managers even knew what they were, consumers were searching for things like “greek yogurt,” “BB cream” and “ombre hair.” If you had to guess what kind of stain is searched for most, would you know the answer? Overwhelmingly, it’s “red wine stains.” Do you know what’s in the collective mind of consumers right now? (Answer: coconut oil).” ZMOT

DataThe trick is to use search to identify the moments that matter to consumers and act on them across your entire marketing mix.I remember interviewing Bruce Kasanoff about his book Smart Customers Stupid Companies and the premise of this book was we expect companies to predict what we want and do there best to make our journey with them delightful. Bruce’s website SmartCustomers talks of how we need to be smarter than the customers we serve and to do that, we really need to understand them. We are now talking of predictive marketing tools to respond to the multichannel environment . TheMaturity of analytics multiscreen time that we all spend now accessing information and entertainment. This behaviour that leaves with it a digital footprint is ready for those technically savvy companies to use to deliver smart customer experiences.

So what in reality is happening with this data in the average SMB company? Nothing. Most companies I work with have google analytics running on their website but don’t look at it, haven’t set it up to capture useful information or don’t know what it all means. Sound familiar? An lets not even go to predictive software players in the market, (IMB, SAS, Adobe MATLAB, Knowledgestudio, Oracle). So what should you be doing? Asking your staff and customers for their feedback in easy ways. Data is king. Understanding how to improve your interactions with customers, their preferences, more about them and their behaviour will make your business more helpful and more valuable. Given that most customers will not rank our service as excellent, we all have a way to go in creating a awesome experience. Here are some simple data you should be collecting and some tools.

1. Google Alerts – set this up on your name, your competitors name and what your prospect might be typing in, i.e customer centric marketing

Google trends on predictive marketing V customer centricity V customer journey mapping

Google trends on predictive marketing V customer centricity V customer journey mapping

2. Set up google analytics properly – you need to be able to see clearly key data so get this set up properly or outsource your analytics totally.

3. Use marketing tools that have data collection properties –

  • Email- Mailchimp collects opens, clicks and social shares,
  • Facebook Insights – gives you information on your visitors and your ad campaigns
  • LinkedIn – gives you views and on a premium model creates more insights
  • CRM tools for SMB like Zoho, Salesforce, Capsule and Nimble CRM to see social media activity.

4. Use surveys like wufoo and survey monkey to ask your clients questions.

5. Use smart accounting software like Freshbooks that shows you how toy compare and asks for feedback from your clients after a transaction.

6. Follow thought leaders in your area of expertise on the web, on podcasts, in email and on social media. Think with Google is another way they are aggregating information and providing that as a data tool for me. I have attached a great video from google on the buyers journey and what we all need to consider in this new digital landscape.thinkwithgoogle



Put your process out there, if you want to be chosen


What is the difference between your accountancy firm and the next guys? Your hair dress salon, consultancy?  Given that we are all using online forms of media to discover the best service provider then why aren’t more of you showing us what it will be like to engage with you? Whatever business you are in, is there really a point in holding back “how you do it here?” I don’t think sCustomer experienceo. It is really a change of mindset. Holding all your cards to your chest doesn’t pay dividends in this new customer journey that is all about discovering as much as you can before you engage with a service provider. Still lots of you don’t get it.

That is the reason why content marketing has gone so crazy! We are consuming it. We would rather do a discovery journey by ourselves, making the role of the sales rep redundant until we are ready to choose between perhaps a couple of providers. All that groundwork is done online, referring to friend in online reviews and social media channels.Influencing purchase

There is also another reason. SEO (search engine optimisation). Google serves up to us the content that is relevant to our search so if you are creating valuable content that answers questions about your “how” not just the “what” you are more likely to be found. A good best practice is to think about all the questions your customers might have about your area of expertise and create a landing page for this information.

Mapping out the customer journey can also create some opportunities for you to create touch points that will show your ideal customers how you do things differently or are just better suited to their needs.

Journey Map from Stanford d.school on Vimeo.

Marketing has changed and with it has the sophistication around our understanding of the customer journey. We need to think more about how we communicate and what we communicate to have a real competitive advantage.